Like the angels, we have free will; Angels: Day 111

Like the angels, we have free will; Angels: Day 111 November 9, 2016

angels_john_of_damascus_1Reason, says St. John of Damascus, is very closely linked with free will. With reason, we can decide what’s best for ourselves, and with free will we can do it—an ability we share with the angels.

Everyone who deliberates does so believing that the choice of what to do lies in his hands—that he may choose what seems best as the result of his delibera- tion, and having chosen may act upon it.

And if this is so, free will must necessarily be very closely related to reason. For either man is an irrational being, or, if he is rational, he is master of his acts and endowed with free will. Thus creatures without reason do not enjoy free will: nature leads them, but they do not lead nature. And so they do not oppose the natural appetite, but as soon as their appetite longs for something they rush head- long after it.

But we, being rational, lead nature; nature does not lead us. And so when we want something, we have the power to curb our appetite or to indulge it—which- ever we please. Therefore creatures that have no reason are neither praised nor blamed, while man is the subject of both praise and blame.

Note also that the angels, being rational, are endowed with free will, and, since they are created, are liable to change. In fact, this is made plain by the devil, who was made good by the Creator, but of his own free will became the inventor of evil—and by the powers who revolted with him (the demons), and by the other troops of angels who persisted in goodness. –St. John of Damascus, Exposition of the Christian Faith, 2.27

Do I use my freedom faithfully, as the angels do? Do I act with forethought and prayer?

Holy Guardian Angel, you are with me in every decision I face. Help me to be attentive to your promptings.

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