By Sister Ruth Bolarte, I.H.M.

Our American society values highly the right to freedom and sovereignty. Rooted in this tradition, society approves laws and makes decisions that affect the lives of the people who live in the United States as well as in foreign countries. As disciples of Jesus, it is our responsibility to participate in the making of these decisions whenever possible.

The headline above from St. Augustine reminds us that true freedom is rooted in the love of God who loved us first. We believe in an omniscient God who relates to His people through their lives. We also believe that because we are made in the image of God, we enjoy the exercise of free will -we are responsible for our actions. {{more}}

Our notion of human freedom must acknowledge the complete majesty and providence of God and our free will. Because God is love, we have been gifted with free will so we can answer God’s invitation to love. God’s omnipotence manifests itself not as a “power over” but as a sovereign love that empowers us to be the persons God created. Since God loves us, He desires what is good for each of us, which is what a lover always desires for the beloved.

Apart from God there is no freedom. To love God means to listen and act according to what God wants in our lives. Thus, it is love, the umbrella under which God’s omnipotence and human free will meet and relate with each other. We must let love lead the way throughout all of our actions. It is only then that we are truly free.

Perhaps a poem by Pedro Arrupe, S.J., might summarize better this great gift of love and freedom: “Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”