Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where Freedom is to be Found

My circumstances this week have given me pause to reflect on the nature of freedom.  What those circumstances are, are not really necessary to the reflection, so I won't tell you.  So often we think of freedom in terms of being able to do what we want, to go where we want.  We don't want restrictions put on ourselves, especially from outside, from some authority.  I'm not going to claim that I'm immune to those feelings, I think there is something within us, something God has placed within us that just yearns for freedom.  The problem that we so often encounter, is that just like happiness, we search for it in the wrong way, and in the wrong places (I'm sure there's a country/western song in there somewhere).  I'm sure it would be a surprise to many that freedom could be found locked in a room, in a prison cell, or just about anywhere.  True freedom comes from within.  St. Thérèse of Lisieux is the patroness of the missions, and she never left her cloister.  That seems rather incongruous, but speaks of a similar reality.  We find true freedom within and with God, we can't forget that second part.  In the search for inner peace and freedom many turn to eastern religions who suggest an inner freedom, but at the expense of that connection to the Other, that higher reality which is God.  Freedom is found in relationship to God, in accepting his will whatever it might be.  It really doesn't matter where you are to do that, in a church, in your room, in your office, freedom is there.  Some weeks back I was reading the book He Leadeth Me by Fr. Walter Ciszek, an excellent reflection on this idea, that I would highly recommend reading.  Fr. Ciszek found freedom while he was in a prison cell, and a Soviet labour camp in Siberia.  The last place most people would look for freedom.  For Fr. Ciszek though, he came to realize that freedom was not to be found in his ability to come and go as he pleased, or in his ability to do whatever he wanted, but it was in accepting and doing God's will in whatever circumstances he found himself.  The next time anyone of us goes looking for freedom somewhere out there, we should remember Fr. Ciszek's lesson, freedom begins within, with our total and complete surrender to God, and acceptance of His will, wherever we are, and in whatever we do.

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