How can the real freedom be attained?

Thoughts about the benefits of good ties
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1. Freedom as a goal of life. Consumer society casts an amazing wasteful millions of free choices on us every day. The ideologies of the past few decades have extended the right and possibility of free choice on almost all questions of life and death. Man’s freedom has got to be the largest ever for the 21st century. How much this freedom can be still grown? Is it beneficial for us that our freedom has become ’total’? Is the extreme freedom we enjoy today real or does it just look like it? (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

 

2. Limits of free will. Why is freedom given to us without life experience harmful? What are the decisions of mankind, where it has no free will? What are the consequences that a significant part of our freedom is a freedom realized at the cost of limiting others' freedom? Man’s free will is a tameless creature out of control. Its first manifestation was the devouring of the forbidden fruit which was followed by the expulsion from Paradise. The punishment of God is exactly the same as the modern Daddy. When God punishes us, all He does is let the man’s own "free" will work. We cannot receive any bigger punishment ever than this... (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

3. How can the real freedom be attained? Man cannot live freely because he turns his freedom against himself, his fellow human beings and the nature nurturing him. What is the solution? The solution is the third wish in the Lord's Prayer: "let Your will be done". God is the only one from whom we receive not slavery but such freedom in return of our freedom that cannot be imagined by the human mind, cannot be comprehended, either experienced. Having God’s freedom also means two more little bonuses. The first and most important bonus is God’s endless love that smooths all the wrinkles that our own wasted lives have drawn onto us. The second bonus is that we do Good following God’s Path. We increase the light, love and life around the world – instead of decreasing them. We increase the purity of the world – instead of polluting it. At last: we increase the unity and order of the world – instead of tearing apart and scatter what was born as a Whole. We have our choice. THIS single and most important choice of our lives is our real freedom. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 


 

Introduction. As I wrote in my first essay in September, I will go along a whole course of retreat with my essays until summer. With the Christmas essay we have arrived at the end of the first week of the four weeks’ long retreat: Christ may have been born within us, we may have been given places in the House of God and we may have realized that we were the Children of God. My four essays dealing with the second week of the retreat confront us with our sins. My New Year’s essay was about our community sins. My next essay described our own personal sins. My third essay was about the power of conscience and our choices. My present, closing thoughts summarize the issues of free will’s and good ties’ benefits. In the essays published until the summer I will invite the Reader to accompany me in the second two weeks of the spiritual exercise praying through the life of Jesus Christ (and beyond...) from immaculate conception until Pentecost. I wish all my kind Readers times full of contemplating self-analysis and change!

 

1. Freedom as a goal of life

 

The humanist, enlightened men have become men desiring freedom since the Renaissance. For Hungarians, who have been heroically engaged in a long series of freedom-fights, the question of autonomy and liberty became an especially important category. Civil liberties are laid down and guaranteed by constitutions and international treaties. Consumer society casts an amazing wasteful millions of free choices on us every day (should I buy a green hooded baby costume or one with a blue ribbon? etc. etc.) The ideologies of the past few decades have extended the right and possibility of free choice on almost all questions of life and death. Man’s freedom has got to be the largest ever for the 21st century. How much this freedom can be still grown? Is it beneficial for us that our freedom has become ’total’? Is the extreme freedom we enjoy today real or does it just look like it? I try to answer these questions in the coming section.

 


 

2. Limits of free will

 

"All things are lawful to me,
 but all things are not expedient."

(1Corinthians 6:12a)

 

 

"Where should we go this afternoon?" – the modern Daddy (or Mommy) waits for the decision of his (her) three years’ old kid. The problem with this situation is not that Daddy is interested in the opinion of his child thus helping he (she) develop. The problem is that the "modern" Daddy does REALLY expect the decision from the child. It is a very perverse situation when we force the tail to move the dog... Freedom given to us without having the pieces of information helping take the responsibility of decisions and without life experience (i.e. together: wisdom) is: harmful. It is harmful because it leads to wrong decisions and it is harmful because it does not confront us with the bad consequences of these wrong decisions. It is also malicious because somewhere inside us the conscience blows the whistle and the ego starts to be anxious because of the nonsense you-must-make-a-decision situation. We and our children have no idea what a good decision looks like because the playing field requiring decisions has become too big too quickly.

 

 

The Cuban missile crisis of 1962 was one of those first clearly uttered decision situations with which mankind has reached the limits of its free will. Our ancestors could decide freely to start an atomic world-war III but in this case I would not be writing anything here and now, and You, dear Reader would not be reading anything either here or anywhere else. We owe big thanks to people’s wisdom living at that time (and the Mercy of the Holy Spirit shining on them) for realizing that "free decision" did not exist in these situations. Mankind gets into more and more such situations nowadays, in which its "free decisions" cause catastrophic consequences including the extermination of human life on Earth on the longer run (see e.g. my New Year’s essay on climate change).

 

The Earth’s resources are limited. Therefore the decisions of "the more for me" and "the better for me" that increase freedom in most of the cases go hand in hand with the implicit decisions of "the less for them" and "the worse for them". However the "them" is far away. The "them"'s suffering face can easily be switched to a happier channel with one free click while having our tasty and rich dinner. And if the "them" would like to come here so it would be free for them also what is free for us: stay away from here, please. A significant part of our freedom is a freedom realized at the cost of limiting others' freedom. The balance of the modern world will last until a strongly limited pretense of freedom can sufficiently be dripped to the "them". We are doing pretty well with this thought having our tasty and rich dinner. Do not we think sometimes that Someone is dripping Something for us, too? ... Do not we think that this collective "dripping game" is not a solution??

 

 

 

Man’s free will is a tameless creature out of control. Its first manifestation was the devouring of the forbidden fruit which was followed by the expulsion from Paradise. The punishment of God is exactly the same as the modern Daddy. When God punishes us, all He does is let the man’s own "free" will work. We cannot receive any bigger punishment ever than this. Let’s have a look at ourselves – from God’s omnipotent point of view. What size do we see ourselves? Any bigger than the three years’ old child whom Daddy expects the decision from?? Can we imagine WHAT A NONSENSE is that when such a tiny little tail, that we ourselves are, in his puffed up solitude, suddenly wants to move God like He was a dog? (As one of my sister in faith described it as a summary of a very hard life: "You know, God has His means to show us when we go down the wrong path." We should believe her: He does. And we should not want to know what kind of means they are...)

 


 

3. How can the real freedom be attained?

 

"A Christian is an utterly free man, lord of all, subject to none.
A Christian is an utterly dutiful man, servant of all, subject to all."

(Martin Luther: On the freedom of a Christian)

 

Man cannot live freely because he turns his freedom against himself, his fellow human beings and the nature nurturing him. He cannot submit himself to laws either because he is persistent and clever and he always finds the way out from the laws he has created. (If we do not believe this, let’s look out of our window for a while…) What is the solution? The solution is the third wish in the Lord's Prayer: "let Your will be done". Man can find peace only if he gives up his freedom and places his whole life where it belongs: to God’s palm. "Is it the solution, Peter, that we live our lives as slaves?" -- some Readers may ask here. No. If we give our freedom to God, He is the only one from whom we receive not slavery but such freedom in return that cannot be imagined by the human mind, cannot be comprehended, either experienced. God gives HIMSELF in return for that we have given ourselves to Him. Nothing less. God is Totality itself. We blow up into this Totality’s immense dimensional freedom with our whole selves at the very moment we have given our lives to God’s Providence. God takes us to places and situations we have never had even the power to imagine – let alone to do it. God’s freedom though is an "advantageous swap" not only because it is incomprehensibly bigger than our little cherished "freedom" closed into our tiny egos. Having God’s freedom also means two more little bonuses. The first and most important bonus is God’s endless love that smooths all the wrinkles that our own wasted lives have drawn onto us. The second bonus is that we do Good following God’s Path. We increase the light, love and life around the world – instead of decreasing them. We increase the purity of the world – instead of polluting it. At last: we increase the unity and order of the world – instead of tearing apart and scatter what was born as a Whole. We have our choice. THIS single and most important choice of our lives is our real freedom.

 

Three closing notes.

 

1. Once I have heard a sermon saying "Christ's yoke is sweet and His burden is light (Matthews 11:30), since the yoke of the Old Testament has been so detailed and hard." I am fully sorry that the preacher might not have the chance to feel the real essence of Jesus yet. Christ’s yoke is sweet and His burden is light because Christ and the Father embrace us tight to Themselves, and give understanding and STRENGTH to bear even those what exceeds human capacities. Jesus asks for nothing less than the Old Testament does. In fact, Jesus asks for a lot more. Jesus asks for EVERYTHING. But he gives Totality instead. Together with the Totality of love.

 

2. Is there any kind of personal freedom left for man if he has given his life to Jesus? Some Readers might say here: "Do you want to make us crazy Jesus-robots, Peter?". God’s plans are very rarely interfered with whether I have bought a green hooded baby costume for my kid instead of one with a blue ribbon. So do not worry. There are far enough decisions left for us, so many what we really do not want. How can I determine the precise extent of the "issues of the world", in which I have freedom, and that of the "issues of God", in which I do not have any freedom at all? For certain godliness forms of lives the answer is quite easy: baby clothes belong to the "issues of the world", while going to Church belongs to the "issues of God". I have to disappoint my brothers in faith who furnish their life so squared: this is by far not so. There can be such a case when buying baby clothes instead of going to Church is the Path of God (as an example please think about the Saturday miracles of Jesus a little...). "Now I became completely lost, Peter... – the Reader might say – What should I do then?" We have three very important compasses: the first one is our conscience. Though there are more direct signal lights, too: love and pain. In the man who has given his life to Jesus, the pain of Jesus appears in all cases when he experiences any bad things around him that he could decrease. Let’s be brave enough to rely on the pain of Jesus! Do not worry: you will notice it... We have never felt such a big pain ever in our lives that His pain was (or a tiny bit of His pain He let us feel because we would die of a little more of it...). There is not a greater event in our lives than the flash of Jesus’s love. The pain and love of Jesus are such signal lights that "call" the Holy Spirit to us who shows how to do the necessary action and also gives the strength to accomplish it. Jesus does more than that: quite some times He carries out the majority of the burden for us! So are not Christ’s yoke sweet and His burden light? Yes, they are! NEVER EVER we have to carry that burden alone and Jesus ALWAYS takes the bigger part of it over if we cannot take it any longer.

 

3. If all this is so obvious, why are there only a few of those men who give their whole lives to God and take the yoke of Jesus? Let me quote the words of a Hungarian priest, Máté Skublics about this: "We often confuse what is normal with what is widespread. We think that it is normal what we can see in ourselves and in our fellow men every day, experiencing the reality of sin and its consequences – but it is only widespread. ... The heavenly glory that the Lord has prepared for us is not at all beyond humanity. On the contrary: it is the essence of being human ... there are some who can experience this as a testimony already living on Earth. This is what is normal." Let’s think a little: what is real freedom? If we go where everybody goes – just a little bit differently? Or if we find that narrow Path that leads us to Infinity? We do have a choice. This is the real freedom. This is the grace of Jesus. This is the gospel itself.

 

 

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