Sunday, December 21, 2008

Obedience Is Freedom

The rules of religion are, paradoxically, a source of freedom. Without rules and traditions, every day would be similar to the others. I would be working as hard and as late on Sunday as I do on the other days. Day blurs into day, and week into week.

But when authority tells me that I not only shouldn't work on Sunday but that I must not, that this day is to be devoted to study and prayer and family, that this or that day is to celebrate this saint or that doctrine, then I am free to do these things. When I am commanded to go to church on a holy day of obligation, then I am freed up to go to church even in the middle of a hectic workday. Life has so many pressing commitments that a command from authority is needed to open up spaces for prayer and celebration. In this way, obedience (to the church) is freedom (from the world).

It is also freedom from self. Were I to be deprived of the guidance of Scripture and church teachings, deprived of the traditions of holy days and of the Mass - in short, if I were to have no guidance as to how to spend my time or choose my actions - what would life be like? Surely it would be a constant, frenetic chasing of one pleasure after another, never satisfied, always empty and exhausted. But with the constraints and wisdom of an ancient faith, and the spiritual nourishment of Holy Mass each Sunday, life becomes ordered, resilient, festive, joyful, whole.


At 8/09/2009 12:16 p.m., Anonymous Dorothy said...

I like this post.

At 8/09/2009 2:55 p.m., Blogger Jonathan said...

Thanks, Dorothy!


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