Freedom means “yes” to love

Paphos old cathedral

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These remnants from the Catholic church, the Venetians built in Paphos, offer a living witness of faith of the generations that have passed through Cyprus. Although the Catholic Church was banned on the island by the Ottoman conquerors in 1571, things have very much changed since and, nowadays, a lively Catholic community lives and works in Paphos, numbering a few hundred, not only Cypriots but from various other countries of the planet.

The church, and even more the Cathedral, i.e. the church where a bishop has his seat, has always been the life centre of the village or the city.

With the modern way of living and the wonderfully developed communications technology, the average Christian may not feel the need to go to church with the same strong longing and enthusiasm as in years past.

Everything depends on our way we use our freedom. Within us an abyss of potentialities is contained, a mysterious force that continually pushes us to compare, to evaluate and to choose.

Every day, every hour, we make choices, we select, prefer and reject….With the summer break behind us we look forward to the reassuring order of everyday normality. The freedom of the past weeks may have tired us a little, esp. if it lacked a wise order of priorities.

We are free to choose refusal, evil and sin. Our freedom is awesome and mysterious since it can distance us from God, who is our eternal destiny. But even more mysterious and strong is God’s love that surrounds us and offers to us continual opportunities for reform, metanoia, i.e. conversion, good works, charity and love.

Freedom for the Christian is full of meaning and promise. At its centre we meet the mystery of the love of God. It is an invitation totally personal and at the same time universal, i.e. addressed to all.  We are all called to follow Christ, to imitate him and to live with him. It is enough for us to be humble, to have a spirit of sacrifice and conversion, to not be self-sufficient or merciless, but to be good managers of God’s gifts.

We are not always aware of it, but freedom means also commitment: “Yes” to the call of God, “yes” to unconditional Love!

More about freedom

Freedom is a “possession” for which a lot of ink has flown and, regrettably, a lot of blood has been shed too. Freedom is a two-way notion, namely, freedom from something that is perceived as bad or negative, and freedom for doing something considered good or desired. 

The etymology of the Greek word for “freedom”, (“eleutheria”), indicates that it is linked to an aim, a purpose or a destination. It is derived from the word “eleusis” (=arrival), from the verb “erchomai” (to come).

Therefore, “freedom”, linguistically -in Greek, is linked with that which it wishes to reach!           It is for this very reason that the really free person is prepared and chooses to make sacrifices in order to reach his goal. As the language is woven into our subconscious (collective and personal) we see that “freedom” in Greek  has a positive bias!

It is a common saying that one’s freedom stops where the next person’s freedom begins. This has to be a norm in every well-regulated society. Refusal to follow this simple rule goes against common sense and the good will upon which durable communities are built.

Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians: Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble (1 Cor. 8, 13). Our faith tells us that we are created  with free will hence we are responsible for our choices.

Authentic Christian freedom is a road which leads away from the slavery of selfishness and sin and toward the building up of a world of solidarity and mutual respect.

For the Christian, the foundation of freedom rests upon his having been created in God’s image and it is a “yes” to His love.

We are able to find this real freedom by following the way of life the Gospel proposes.

 

click here to read this in the original Greek

 

 

 


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