Freedom to Conform to God’s Will

Freedom to Conform to God’s Will

(An excerpt from a longer reflection: Not Freedom from But Freedom For)

July 4th is a time for families to gather, watch fireworks, and perhaps reflect on the ideals of liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.

  • What is the essence of freedom?
  • Is there a correct and true understanding of freedom to which I must conform, or is freedom what I make of it?
  • Is there a limit to freedom, or is it boundless?
  • Is freedom directed toward a telos, a goal?

To understand true freedom, let us take the example of St. Francis of Assisi. This young, enthusiastic man sought to fulfill every carnal desire in his early life. After his conversion experience in the prison cells of Perugia, however, these pursuits no longer had the same effect in this life. His experiences allowed Francis to correctly reflect on his life and its purpose.

Through his conversion and conforming to God’s Will, Saint Francis became free to embrace and kiss the leper, and this freedom became the source of much joy and fulfillment.

Taking Saint Francis as an example, let us freely and lovingly “reach up” to take the yoke of Christ upon ourselves. When we act in absolute freedom for God, we will truly be happy and fulfilled as his children and partakers of the Divine Life. We will say with Saint Francis, the freedom to conform to God’s Will has “become the source of spiritual and physical consolation for me.”

-friar Arturo Felix OFM Conv.

Read the full reflection