The notion of liberty is certainly one of the most tarnished concepts in the modern thought. It is misunderstood by our contemporaries who think that it is the ability to do whatever you want to do. This false notion of liberty generates a certain uneasiness because, in fact, if liberty is truly the ability to do whatever you want, it can never be obtained. The philosopher Jean-Michel Besnier describes the modern man and says that what characterizes him is “ the will of fleeing from himself. It is an evasion toward the mirages of a radiant future, but also a lateral avoidance through all the instruments of moronization that we have invented from the consummation of the medias to the consummation of neuroleptic pills. But the wise, the ancient wise, thinks that the only one liberty is to dwell in oneself.”
But even among the disciple of Jesus-Christ, many do not understand what exactly is liberty. Blaise Pascal says that “ there is a lot of difference between disciples and true disciples. We can recognize them by telling them that the truth shall make them free. For they reply that they are free and that it is in their power to leave the devil’s bondage. They are, indeed, disciples, but not true disciples.”
After reading these words of Pascal, I thought: What makes the difference between a disciple and a true disciple? It is important to know the answer, because it is not enough to be a disciple. We should be true disciples and for this, we must know the constitutive element which makes us true disciples.
Jesus teaches: “The truth shall make you free! ”
As Christians, we can accept the idea of the Elders that we can find liberty by dwelling in ourselves, but only on one condition: we have to enter into ourselves and to dwell there in order to meet Our Lord Jesus Christ, and not to remain only with ourselves. Then, in the intimacy of our souls, we will meet Jesus, who is the truth. He will reveal us to ourselves and reveal Himself to us. At this point, we can hope to start to become free, but not before. The disciples are not yet free but they have not met our Lord in the intimacy of their souls. They met Him only in a external manner, but they don’t know the whole truth about themselves and about Jesus. And for not knowing the truth, they cannot be free. If you ask them: for you, who is Jesus Christ? They will answer that He is the Son of God, true God and true man who came into the world in order to redeem us. They will give the perfect answer given by the catechism that they know – because they are disciples – but their answer will remain formal. Now, ask a Saint, who is a true disciple, who is Jesus Christ. The answer will come from his heart because you ask him to speak about the One he loves.
A disciple is not free because he did not accept the plenitude of truth in his life. A true disciple is free, because he loves, and then, he walks in the light and the truth of God. He enjoys the true liberty of the children of God.
Dear brethren, I think that we don’t enjoy this liberty, because we don’t understand what our Religion truly is. In a certain way, it is sad. In another way, it opens the doors of hope, because it shows that we have so much progress to make and it is exciting, like when you prepare for a trip or an adventure. And we are all on the same adventure: the quest for God. I wish you could understand this and then open wide your soul so that it may expand and its opening of itself to God will know no limits. Magnanimity! It means to have a great soul – magna anima in Latin. It is the virtue of the Saints, the virtue of the true disciples, the virtue of the knights, of the nobles, of the heroes. It is the mark of the free men, those who have found Jesus Christ in the intimacy of their souls.
The opposite of magnanimity? Well, we see it every day around us, so I will not speak about it. It is finally not very interesting. Don't you agree?
So, dear brethren, Saint Peter encourages us today: let us live as free men, because we have been freed by Our Lord Jesus-Christ. It is not the world which can give the true freedom. It is neither ourselves. It is the truth. The problem is that too often, the truth frightens us. Then we try to find a way out through the illusions of the world. But this way does not lead toward freedom.
May Our Lady help us to open our eyes so that we can see the truth and make the mirages of the world disappear. May she lead us toward Her Son, source of our freedom. If God wills, next time we will look at how to walk in the truth in order to obtain our freedom.