The Real Freedom to Choose

The Real Freedom to Choose May 1, 2013

This is the right, this is our lives:

There’s nothing soft-focus or saccharine about real Christianity. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for the brave; not the complacent, and not cowards. The world and its beauty give glory to God; but we live in it with divided hearts, and so the world is also a field of conflict. God’s son died on a cross and rose from the dead to deliver us from our sins. He didn’t take away our freedom to choose evil. Until this world ends, some people will do vile and inhuman things to others.

The irony of human dignity is that it requires our freedom. It depends on our free will. We own our actions. And free persons can freely choose to do wicked things. Spend an hour browsing through Scripture: It’s the story of a struggle between good and evil that cuts bloodily through every generation in history. And the story is made bearable, and given meaning, only by the fidelity of God – the constancy of his justice, his mercy, his solace, his love.

Read more of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput’s column in response to the Boston marathon bombing here.

He also writes:

something is wrong with our way of life, and millions of people can feel it; something selfish, cynical, empty and mean. Something that acts like a magnet to the worst impulses of the human heart. We’re no longer the nation of our founders, or even of our parents. Some of their greatness has been lost.

The character of our way of life depends on the character of my way [of] life, multiplied by the tens of millions. We shouldn’t waste time being shocked or baffled by the evil in the world. It has familiar roots. It begins in the little crevices of each human heart – especially our own.

In the days ahead we need to pray for the dead and wounded in Boston, and their families. And then, with the help of God, we need to begin to change ourselves. That kind of conversion might seem like a small thing, an easy thing — until we try it. Then we understand why history turns on the witness of individual lives.

Even if we faithfully go to the Sacraments, pray, and do alms, are we doing them because we’re supposed to or they make us feel good, or are we doing them as we are living lives of surrender? Is God our hope and salvation, whatever the questions and responsibilities and pain and burdens? As Catholic Christians, are we for real?

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