Almighty, most high and supreme God, Father, holy and just, Lord, King of heaven and earth, We give you thanks for yourself. Of your own holy will you created all things spiritual and physical, made us in your own image and likeness, and gave us a place in paradise, Through your only Son, in the Holy Spirit. And it was through our own fault that we fell. (Rule of 1221, ch 23)
Everyone wants greater freedom, right? But what kind of freedom: to dominate and impose one’s will, to crush anyone who doesn’t see things my way? Or freedom to see the interconnections of all creation, especially the people made in the image and likeness of God?
A miser thinks that he is truly free, but isn’t he kidding himself? He is walling himself into a world where fewer and fewer people deserve his respect and where only what appears on a balance sheet is judged to be real and worthwhile. How much room is there for virtue in such a person?
The other capital sins (pride, lust, anger, envy, gluttony, and sloth) all promise greater freedom, yet yield only new forms of slavery. An addicted person is unlikely to describe himself or herself as living in slavery, but that is exactly what every type of addiction produces.
Truly holy people, such as Saint Francis, are always internally very free—even if they are imprisoned for what they know is true.
God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each person of your Blessed Trinity is radically free yet fully in harmony with the other two. Show us how to get beyond thinking that selfishness is the best way to assure our freedom. Help us take to heart Saint Paul’s words: “Though he was rich, Christ became poor for your sake so that you might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).