“The Christian model of life must be manifested as a life in all its fullness and freedom, a life that does not experience the bonds of love as dependence and limitation but rather as an opening to the greatness of life.”
“Letter to Marcello Pera.” In Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, and Islam.
Reflection – It is so important for us, in our call to evangelize the world, to live as people fully alive and free. The modern world values freedom above almost all other goods – this is practically the defining characteristic of modernity.
And so, if we present a face of Christianity (alas, all too common) of a sort of pinched, fussy, moralistic, prudish, repressed and repressive figure, we risk actually repelling our brothers and sisters from the path of the Gospel.
We will also be untrue to Christ. Christ came to make us free, and it is the truth that sets us free. He came that we may have life, and have it in abundance. Christ came to make our joy complete. The demands of the Gospel – and they are real, and serious, and heavy – are nonetheless demands that draw us into precisely this ‘greatness of life’ that Ratzinger writes of. The way of Christ, the way of love, service, humility, purity, acceptance of the Cross, is a way of spiritual greatness, heroism, magnanimity.
We do live as dependents on God. We do live ‘bound’ by the commitments to love that we have made. But the mystery of faith is that it is in being so bound that we become truly free. By binding ourselves to Christ and to whatever vocation he offers us, we become caught up into a mystery that is far greater and bigger than what we can achieve as little atomic individuals, and in our commitments and the sacrifice they entail we are summoned to the royal road of the imitation of Christ.Fear of commitment is so endemic today, especially in the young. Those of us who have made life commitments need to be sure that we show forth the beauty and joy of doing this; we need to be bold in proclaiming that to freely bind oneself in love is the path to joy and life. Those who may read this who are struggling to commit themselves to a life path – be not afraid. Christ is waiting for you there, and his grace opens us up to a life beyond our own selves, a life of adventure, excitement, yes, suffering, but great beauty and joy. Be not afraid.