The truth is that we are offered holy freedom or slavery to our passions, to our vices, to the Devil and to our selfish inclinations, that we become lovers of the World and the flesh or lovers of God and our neighbour. We can seem at many times to inhabit both worlds but we cannot really serve two masters. We will eventually have to choose. Of course, it is very easy for us to see obedience to God, upholding and abiding by the moral law and living the Commandments as burdensome. Without God's grace, we easily fall into snares of the Enemy promising us some kind of freedom, if only we would throw off the shackles of God's laws. It is part of our fallen, fragile nature to see obedience to God as some kind of terrible imposition upon our freedom, rather than to seek the grace of God to live in holy freedom as children of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our 'escape route' from God can look so attractive, but we know as Catholics that in reality it is not at all. We know that the implications of this distortion of the truth from the father of lies has many terrible implications for us both in time and eternity.
Our entire vision of the meaning of our lives and even those of others, when we throw off the 'shackles' of the Divine law on which we will be judged by God, can be truncated, twisted, turned upside down until the lives of others, as well as ourselves, are rendered meaningless by our own quest for personal freedom, satisfaction and pleasure. And this is the way of the world. We can end up, quite easily seeing others in terms of our own freedom, using and abusing them in the process.
The real 'escape route', as we know, is the Sacrament of Confession in which we are healed, restored, absolved and forgiven by Our Lord Jesus Christ. Our real happiness lies in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ Who alone can satisfy our desires, which find their absolute fulfilment in the Godhead. The real escape route is in holy prayer and union with God. The dazzling attractions offered to us in the name of freedom by the Devil are distractions from our union with God, which he wishes, through great cunning and malice, to deprive God's children of. 'I want to break free' may express in music how so often we feel, but we will find ourselves chained in other ways, in manacles of iron placed on us by mortal sin, if we sever our Communion with God. Our Saviour tells us that the truth will set you free and for Him to set us free is to free indeed. The false kind of freedom of that we embrace through sin makes us slaves and creates victims of individuals, marriages, families, wounding the Church and society itself. This false conception of freedom is at the heart of the ongoing controversies and scandals of abortion, same-sex marriage, artificial contraception, IVF, assisted suicide, euthanasia, embryonic research, divorce, remarriage and every aspect of the culture of death.
We can easily fall into the trap of thinking that the love of our own wills and the indulgence of our passions or pleasures are the decisive factor in defining where our own happiness lies. Yet that which looks so appealing can so easily enslave us, wherein the irony of a fallen priest announcing his own feelings of leaving the secular priesthood to live a more 'secular life' altogether in terms of the 'breaking of chains' becomes tragically evocative and richly symbolic.
33 Days Consecration to Mary. Time and again his prayers, his meditations call the reader to a devotion to Mary and, through this Heavenly Mother, to Jesus, that is one of holy and devoted slavery.
How much we need priests - and Bishops - to promote devotion to Our Blessed Lady and the Blessed Sacrament, to be holy and dedicated clergy and bishops, whose love for God and zeal for souls leads them to proclaim that for Jesus and Mary to reign in the hearts, the souls and the bodies of Christians is to extend holy freedom everywhere and that to embrace our own desires in such ways that offend our Creator leads not to freedom but quickly to our enslavement to the Enemy of God and our Salvation. Let them lead us to pray, with the Psalmist, the acknowledgement that to devote oneself entirely to the Lord, through the loving heart of His handmaid, Mary, is to live in freedom, the freedom of God's grace, grace which is entirely unmerited on our part, but which, through the hands of Mary Immaculate, through the Sacraments of His Church, He desires to lavish on His children. Let us also pray for priests who are tempted, or who have left the priesthood in the pursuit of a false and perhaps immensely destructive ideology which they associate with freedom, that they, and we, can say...
'O Lord, for I am thy servant: I am thy servant, and the son of thy handmaid. Thou hast broken my bonds.'