Day 34 – Experience and Freedom
Augustine knew the emptiness of a libertine’s life. His escapades both in boyhood and young adulthood gave him much to lament on in his maturity about that slavery which paraded itself as freedom. Augustine saw his possibilities as a young man and made his choices, choices that he regretted afterwards realizing how a false notion of human life and God and has led him from one dead end to another. His experience of his own sexuality made him despair of ever possessing himself to a degree that would allow him to make a commitment to marriage. He wanted so much to excel as a rhetoric. But even that was a form of slavery; for in wanting that, he was in fact chained to the expectations of a society that applauded achievements while not minding “the state of one’s soul.”
It should be noted:
- One grows into freedom. The freedom that is given in Christ must be appropriated in union with love. Growth to Christian maturity is growth in freedom.
- For the Christian, to be free is to be committed.
- Egoistic freedom, closed in on itself results in loneliness and the loss of a sense of values. The subject who is free is a person who can grow only within a community. The social aspect of personal freedom cannot be neglected.
- Freedom is a gift from God.
- Freedom is authentic when its divine origin is recognized. Since it is from God, one’s freedom should not lead one away from God.
- Freedom is completed by love. Augustine would say: “Love and do what you will. If you are silent, be silent for love. If you cry out, cry out for love. If you correct, correct for love. If you pardon, pardon for love. Let the root of love be ever there within you. Out of this root, only good can come.”