b) Human Nature & Freedom

freedom in the shape of a cross

Top Quotes:
Human Nature & Freedom

  1. “Jesus tells us that the purpose of our freedom is to say yes to God’s plan for our lives.
    What makes our ‘yes’ so important is that we say it freely; we are able to say ‘no.’” (Pope John-Paul II)
  2. “Freedom consists not in doing what we like,
    but in having the right to do what we ought.” (Pope John-Paul II)
  3. “Freedom comes when we stop placing all our trust in ourselves and we open our hearts to the truth of God revealed in Jesus.” (Archbishop Diarmuid Martin)
  4. “God gave them free will because a world of mere automata could never love.” (CS Lewis)
  5. “Freedom… Only the Holy Spirit can prompt your heart to say ‘Father.’
    Only the Holy Spirit is capable of banishing, of breaking that hardness of heart and making it… soft? No, I don’t like that word,… ‘docile’. Docile towards the Lord. Docile when it comes to the freedom to love.” (Pope Francis)
  6. “God gives us the freedom to refuse divine love,
    even at the risk of denying ourselves.” (Henri Nouwen)
  7. “The world enslaves us with fear:
    the Spirit frees us from that slavery.” (Henri Nouwen)
  8. “The truth is the condition of authentic freedom… the truth about God… and the truth about the human person.” (Pope John-Paul II)
  9. “Don’t be seduced by the lure of absolute freedom.
    Freedom and meaning lie in obedience to community:
    community humbles, deflates the ego, puts you into purgatory, and eventually into heaven.” (Fr Ron Rolheiser)
  10. “The Evil One has power in this world… because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God.” (Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI)
  11. “Everything is a gift given freely to us — but only given on loan…. It is in letting go, not in accumulating or holding on to, that we find out true happiness and our fulfilment.” (Fr Peter McVerry)
  12. “I mean to preserve my peace of mind, which is my liberty.” (Pope John XXIII aged 22 or 23)
  13. “Genuine life and freedom can only be had inside the acceptance a certain dependence. That’s why Jesus repeated again and again, that he could do nothing on his own. Everything he was and everything he did came from his Father.” (Fr Ron Rolheiser)
  14. “Man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged.” (Vatican II)
  15. “(Conscience always summons humans) to love good and avoid evil.” (Vatican II)
  16. “Authentic freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in; nothing less than letting go of self and allowing oneself to be drawn into Christ’s very being for others.” (Pope Benedict XVI)
  17. “One cannot speak of a freedom to “use and misuse,” or to dispose of things as one pleases….
    When it comes to the natural world, we are subject not only to biological laws but also to moral ones, which cannot be violated with impunity” (Pope John-Paul II)
  18. “(Man’s) will is rightly ordered if he respects his nature, listens to it and accepts himself for who he is, as one who did not create himself. In this way, and in no other, is true human freedom fulfilled.” (Pope Benedict XVI)
  19. “Our freedom fades when it is handed over to the blind forces of … self-interest.” (Pope Francis)

Full Quotes & Sources of Quotes:
Human Nature & Freedom

“Jesus tells us that the purpose of our freedom is to say yes to God’s plan for our lives. What makes our ‘yes’ so important is that we say it freely; we are able to say ‘no.’
Jesus teaches us that we are accountable to God, that we must follow our consciences, but that our consciences must be formed according to God’s plan for our lives.
In all our relationships to other people and to the world, Jesus teaches us what we must do, how we must live in order not to be deceived, in order to walk in truth.”

— Pope John Paul II (meeting with youth, New Orleans, 1987)

Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”

— Pope John-Paul II in Baltimore, USA, October 1995

“Faith in God should free us.
But that freedom comes when we stop placing all our trust in ourselves and we open our hearts to the truth of God revealed in Jesus Christ.”

— Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, from a homily at a Parish Mass in St Fergal’s, Ballywaltrim, 27th October 2013 (as posted on the Dublin Diocese website)

“God gave them free will because a world of mere automata could never love and therefore know infinite happiness.”

CS Lewis, in his book ‘Mere Christianity’ (in the chapter ‘Two Notes’, page 152 of the 1997 edition by Fount Paperbacks, London)

“You can follow thousands of catechism courses, thousands of spirituality courses, thousands of yoga or zen courses and all these things. But none of this will be able to give you the freedom as a child (of God).

Only the Holy Spirit can prompt your heart to say ‘Father.’

Only the Holy Spirit is capable of banishing, of breaking that hardness of heart and making it… soft? No, I don’t like that word,… ‘docile’. Docile towards the Lord. Docile when it comes to the freedom to love.”

— Pope Francis in his homily during his Morning Mass as translated by Vatican Radio on Rome Reports website, the 9th January 2015 (note: this is one of only two or three quotes that we repeat on separate pages on this website; it’s also on the ‘God, the Holy Spirit’ page)

(1) “God gives us the freedom to refuse divine love, even at the risk of denying ourselves. Hell is not God’s choice. It is ours.”

(2) “Who are we?…. The Spirit of Jesus given to us reveals our true spiritual identities. The Spirit reveals that we belong not to a world of success, fame or power but to God. The world enslaves us with fear: the Spirit frees us from that slavery and restores us to the true relationship…. Who are we? We are God’s beloved sons and daughters!”

Two quotes by Henri Nouwen, in a collection named “Called to Life, Called to Love: Lenten Reflections from the works of Henri J. M. Nouwen”, a booklet by Creative Communications for the Parish, MO, USA)

“We must guard the truth that is the condition of authentic freedom, the truth that allows freedom to be fulfilled in goodness.

We must guard the deposit of divine truth handed down to us in the Church, especially in view of the challenges posed by a materialistic culture and by a permissive mentality that reduces freedom to license…. Always be guided by the truth — by the truth about God who created and redeemed us, and by the truth about the human person, made in the image and likeness of God and destined for a glorious fulfillment in the Kingdom to come.

— Pope John-Paul II in Baltimore, USA, October 1995

“The gods of our creation are gods that entrap us.
The God revealed in Jesus Christ is one who frees and empowers. … true freedom, a freedom from the many ways our self-seeking entraps us; freedom which opens our hearts and flourishes within a new path of love.”

— Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, from a homily at a mass to celebrate Graduation Day in Mater Dei, November 2012

“9) Stay within the family… you’re on a group outing!
Don’t journey alone. Resist the temptation to be spiritual, but not religious. Be “born again”, regularly into community. Accept that there are strings attached. The journey includes family, church, country, and the whole human race. Don’t be seduced by the lure of absolute freedom. Freedom and meaning lie in obedience to community: community humbles, deflates the ego, puts you into purgatory, and eventually into heaven.”

— Fr Ronald Rolheiser, OBM, in one of his weekly columns published in 60 papers worldwide and online, ‘Guidelines for the Long Haul, Revisited’, 28th April 2013

“…true freedom, that which frees us from selfishness and sin. It is necessary to clearly reject that worldly mentality which places one’s “I” and one’s own interests at the centre of existence. That is not what Jesus wants from us! Instead Jesus invites us to lose our life for him and for the Gospel, to receive it renewed, fulfilled and authentic.”

— Pope Francis in his Angelus Address in St Peter’s Square, 13th September 2015 as reported on the Vatican website

“The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God.
But since God himself took a human heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word. From that time forth, the word that prevails is this: “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). The message of Fatima invites us to trust in this promise.”

— Pope Benedict XVI when still a Cardinal (Ratzinger), the year 2000, in his “Theological Commentary” regarding the Third Secret of Fatima as presented on a very interesting Vatican.va page

“The spirituality of the Christian, within the Christian community, is one of ‘letting go’: letting go of possessions, letting go of status, letting go of power and above all letting go of our securities. All our lives are a ‘letting go’.

The Gospels remind us that everything we have, everything we possess, is a gift to us from God. Our life itself, our health, our education, our family, our friends, our property, our assets, our jobs, everything is a gift given freely to us — but only given on loan. All the gifts we have been given have to be given back to God…. ‘Letting go’ is the spirituality that conforms to the essence of our existence as human beings… Life is a giving back to God what God has already given to us.

…. It is in letting go, not in accumulating or holding on to, that we find out true happiness and our fulfilment. In letting go, we show our detachment from our material goods and our securities, a detachment that allows us to love God with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind (Matthew 22:37) and our neighbour in their need.

…. Our security is founded only on the knowledge that we are loved infinitely and unconditionally by God, a love that is unchanging and unchangeable.”

— Fr Peter McVerry, SJ, pages 130 & 135 of his book ‘Jesus: Social Revolutionary?’, Veritas Publications, Dublin, 2008

“I mean to preserve my peace of mind, which is my liberty. So I shall always remember those four things which Thomas a Kempis (Book III, chapter 23) says brings great peace and true freedom:

(1) Seek to do another’s will, rather than your own.
(2) Choose always to have less rather than more.
(3) Always take the lowest place, so as to be inferior to everyone.
(4) Always desire and pray that the will of God may be wholly fulfilled in you.”

— Pope John XXIII in 1904 in his autobiography ‘Journal of a Soul’, page 199 of the 1980 revised edition; published by Geoffrey Chapman.

The famous parable of the Prodigal Son…. The prodigal son’s real issue was not so much his hunger for pleasure as his hunger for the wrong kind of independence. He wanted his life and the freedom to enjoy life completely on his own terms and, for him, that meant he had to take them outside his father’s house. In doing that, he lost his father and he also lost genuine life and freedom because these can only be had inside the acceptance a certain dependence. That’s why Jesus repeated again and again, that he could do nothing on his own. Everything he was and everything he did came from his Father.

Our lives are not our own. Our lives are a gift and always need to be received as gift. Our substance is not our own and so it may never be severed from its source, God, our Father. We can enter our lives and freedom and enjoy them and their pleasures, but as soon as we cut them off from their source, take them as our own and head off on our own, dissipation, hunger, and humiliation will follow.”

— Fr Ronald Rolheiser, OMI, in one of his weekly columns, this one entitled ‘Fatherless at the Depth of our Being’ Sept 22nd 2014

“In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience when necessary speaks to his heart: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged. Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths.

In a wonderful manner conscience reveals that law which is fulfilled by love of God and neighbor.”

— Vatican II, specifically ‘Gaudium et Spes‘, December 7 1965

“The fundamental importance of freedom must be rigorously safeguarded. It is no surprise then that numerous individuals and groups vociferously claim their freedom in the public forum.

Yet freedom is a delicate value. It can be misunderstood or misused so as to lead not to the happiness which we all expect it to yield, but to a dark arena of manipulation in which our understanding of self and the world becomes confused, or even distorted by those who have an ulterior agenda.

Have you noticed how often the call for freedom is made without ever referring to the truth of the human person? Some today argue that respect for freedom of the individual makes it wrong to seek truth, including the truth about what is good. In some circles to speak of truth is seen as controversial or divisive, and consequently best kept in the private sphere. And in truth’s place – or better said its absence – an idea has spread which, in giving value to everything indiscriminately, claims to assure freedom and to liberate conscience. This we call relativism. But what purpose has a “freedom” which, in disregarding truth, pursues what is false or wrong?

How many young people have been offered a hand which in the name of freedom or experience has led them to addiction, to moral or intellectual confusion, to hurt, to a loss of self-respect, even to despair and so tragically and sadly to the taking of their own life?

Dear friends, truth is not an imposition. Nor is it simply a set of rules. It is a discovery of the One who never fails us; the One whom we can always trust. In seeking truth we come to live by belief because ultimately truth is a person: Jesus Christ. That is why authentic freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in; nothing less than letting go of self and allowing oneself to be drawn into Christ’s very being for others (cf. Spe Salvi, 28).”

— Pope Benedict XVI, talk to young people in Yonkers, New York, USA, April 19 2008

“The dominion granted to man by the Creator is not an absolute power, nor can one speak of a freedom to “use and misuse,” or to dispose of things as one pleases.

The limitation imposed from the beginning by the Creator himself and expressed symbolically by the prohibition not to “eat of the fruit of the tree” (cf. Gen 2:16-17) shows clearly enough that, when it comes to the natural world, we are subject not only to biological laws but also to moral ones, which cannot be violated with impunity.”

— Pope John Paul II in section 34 of his 1987 encyclical ‘Sollicitudo Rei Socialis’

“We must listen to the language of nature and we must answer accordingly. Yet I would like to underline a point that seems to me to be neglected, today as in the past: there is also an ecology of man.

Man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will. Man is not merely self-creating freedom. Man does not create himself. He is intellect and will, but he is also nature, and his will is rightly ordered if he respects his nature, listens to it and accepts himself for who he is, as one who did not create himself. In this way, and in no other, is true human freedom fulfilled.”

— Pope Benedict XVI in his Address to the German Parliament, Berlin, 22nd September 2011

“Our freedom fades when it is handed over to the blind forces of the unconscious, of immediate needs, of self-interest, and of violence.”

— Pope Francis in section 105 of his June 2015 environmental encyclical ‘Praise Be’

Please take a moment to look at the rest of this website. Click on a page that might attract you right at this moment.

For You: Pages on This Website Most Connected To This Page…

  1. Sin, Forgiveness, and Freedom
  2. God’s Nature, God’s Love

 

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