Freedom

Pope Francis          

30.06.13  Angelus, St Peter's Square, Rome   

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year C   

Luke 9: 51-62 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

This Sunday’s Gospel Reading (Lk 9:51-62) shows a very important step in Christ’s life: the moment when, as St Luke writes: “He [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem” (9:51). Jerusalem is the final destination where Jesus, at his last Passover, must die and rise again and thus bring his mission of salvation to fulfilment.

From that moment, after that “firm decision” Jesus aimed straight for his goal and in addition said clearly to the people he met and who asked to follow him what the conditions were: to have no permanent dwelling place; to know how to be detached from human affections and not to give in to nostalgia for the past.

Jesus, however, also told his disciples to precede him on the way to Jerusalem and to announce his arrival, but not to impose anything: if the disciples did not find a readiness to welcome him, they should go ahead, they should move on. Jesus never imposes, Jesus is humble, Jesus invites. If you want to, come. The humility of Jesus is like this: he is always inviting but never imposing.

All of this gives us food for thought. It tells us, for example, of the importance which the conscience had for Jesus too: listening in his heart to the Father’s voice and following it. Jesus, in his earthly existence, was not, as it were “remote-controlled”: he was the incarnate Word, the Son of God made man, and at a certain point he made the firm decision to go up to Jerusalem for the last time; it was a decision taken in his conscience, but not alone: together with the Father, in full union with him! He decided out of obedience to the Father and in profound and intimate listening to his will. For this reason, moreover, his decision was firm, because it was made together with the Father. In the Father Jesus found the strength and light for his journey. And Jesus was free, he took that decision freely. Jesus wants us to be Christians, freely as he was, with the freedom which comes from this dialogue with the Father, from this dialogue with God. Jesus does not want selfish Christians who follow their own ego, who do not talk to God. Nor does he want weak Christians, Christians who have no will of their own, “remote-controlled” Christians incapable of creativity, who always seek to connect with the will of someone else and are not free. Jesus wants us free. And where is this freedom created? It is created in dialogue with God in the person’s own conscience. If a Christian is unable to speak with God, if he cannot hear God in his own conscience, he is not free, he is not free.

This is why we must learn to listen to our conscience more. But be careful! This does not mean following my own ego, doing what interests me, what suits me, what I like.... It is not this! The conscience is the interior place for listening to the truth, to goodness, for listening to God; it is the inner place of my relationship with him, the One who speaks to my heart and helps me to discern, to understand the way I must take and, once the decision is made, to go forward, to stay faithful.

We have had a marvellous example of what this relationship with God is like, a recent and marvellous example. Pope Benedict XVI gave us this great example when the Lord made him understand, in prayer, what the step was that he had to take. With a great sense of discernment and courage, he followed his conscience, that is, the will of God speaking in his heart. And this example of our Father does such great good to us all, as an example to follow.

Our Lady, in her inmost depths with great simplicity was listening to and meditating on the Word of God and on what was happening to Jesus. She followed her Son with deep conviction and with steadfast hope. May Mary help us to become increasingly men and women of conscience, free in our conscience, because it is in the conscience that dialogue with God takes place; men and women, who can hear God’s voice and follow it with determination, who can listen to God’s voice, and follow it with decision.

30.06.13


Pope Francis          

06.03.16   Angelus, St Peter's Square 

4th Sunday of Lent year C     

Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

In Chapter 15 of Luke’s Gospel, we find three parables of mercy: that of the sheep found (vv. 4-7), that of the coin found (vv. 8-10), and the great parable of the prodigal son, or rather, of the merciful father (vv. 11-32). Today, it would be nice for each of us to open Chapter 15 of the Gospel according to Luke, and read these three parables. During the Lenten itinerary, the Gospel presents to us this very parable of the merciful Father, featuring a father with his two sons. The story highlights some features of this father who is a man always ready to forgive and to hope against hope. Especially striking is the father’s tolerance before the younger son’s decision to leave home: he could have opposed it, knowing that he was still immature, a youth, or sought a lawyer not to give him his inheritance, as the father was still living. Instead, he allows the son to leave, although foreseeing the possible risks. God works with us like this: He allows us to be free, even to making mistakes, because in creating us, He has given us the great gift of freedom. It is for us to put it to good use. This gift of freedom that God gives us always amazes me!

But the separation from his son is only physical; for the father always carries him in his heart; trustingly, he awaits his return; the father watches the road in the hope of seeing him. And one day he sees him appear in the distance (cf. v. 20). But this means that this father, every day, would climb up to the terrace to see if his son was coming back! Thus the father is moved to see him, he runs toward him, embraces him, kisses him. So much tenderness! And this son got into trouble! But the father still welcomes him so.

The father treated the eldest son the same way, but as he had always stayed at home, he is now indignant and complains because he does not understand and does not share all that kindness toward his brother that had wronged. The father also goes to meet this son and reminds him that they were always together, they share everything (v. 31), one must welcome with joy the brother who has finally returned home. And this makes me think of something: When one feels one is a sinner, one feels worthless, or as I’ve heard some — many — say: ‘Father, I am like dirt’, so then, this is the moment to go to the Father. Instead, when one feels righteous — ‘I always did the right thing …’ —, equally, the Father comes to seek us, because this attitude of feeling ‘right’, is the wrong attitude: it is pride! It comes from the devil. The Father waits for those who recognize they are sinners and goes in search of the ones who feel ‘righteous’. This is our Father!

In this parable, you can also glimpse a third son. A third son? Where? He’s hidden! And it is the one, ‘who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Phil 2:6-7). This Servant-Son is Jesus!

He is ‘the extension of the arms and heart of the Father: he welcomed the prodigal Son and washed his dirty feet; he prepared the banquet for the feast of forgiveness. He, Jesus, teaches us to be “merciful as the Father is merciful”.

The figure of the Father in the parable reveals the heart of God. He is the Merciful Father who, in Jesus, loves us beyond measure, always awaits our conversion every time we make mistakes; he awaits our return when we turn away from him thinking, we can do without him; he is always ready to open his arms no matter what happened. As the father of the Gospel, God also continues to consider us his children, even when we get lost, and comes to us with tenderness when we return to him. He addresses us so kindly when we believe we are right. The errors we commit, even if bad, do not wear out the fidelity of his love. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we can always start out anew: He welcomes us, gives us the dignity of being his children and tells us: “Go ahead! Be at peace! Rise, go ahead!”

In this time of Lent that still separates us from Easter, we are called to intensify the inner journey of conversion. May the loving gaze of our Father touch us. Let us return and return to him with all our heart, rejecting any compromise with sin. May the Virgin Mary accompany us until the regenerating embrace with Divine Mercy. 

06.03.16


Pope Francis          

06.10.21 General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall  

Catechesis on the Letter to the Galatians - 10. Christ has set us free    

Galatians 4: 4,5 5: 1

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today we are taking up again our reflection on the Letter to the Galatians in which Saint Paul wrote immortal words on Christian freedom. What is Christian freedom? Today, we will reflect on this topic: Christian freedom.

Freedom is a treasure that is truly appreciated only when it is lost. For many of us who are used to being free, it often appears to be an acquired right rather than a gift and a legacy to be preserved. How many misunderstandings there are around the topic of freedom, and how many different views have clashed over the centuries!

In the case of the Galatians, the Apostle could not bear that those Christians, after having known and accepted the truth of Christ, allowed themselves to be attracted to deceptive proposals, moving from freedom to slavery: from the liberating presence of Jesus to slavery to sin, to legalism, and so forth. Even today, legalism is one of our problems for so many Christians who take refuge in legalism, in sophistry. Paul therefore invites the Christians to remain firm in the freedom they had received in baptism, without allowing themselves to be put once again under the “yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1). He is rightly jealous of this freedom. He is aware that some “false brothers” – this is what he calls them – have crept into the community to “spy on” – this is what he says – “our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage” (Gal 24) – to turn backward. And Paul cannot tolerate this. A proclamation that would preclude freedom in Christ would never be evangelical. I might be Pelagian or Jansenist or something like that, but not evangelical. You can never force in the name of Jesus; you cannot make anyone a slave in the name of Jesus who makes us free. Freedom is a gift which was given to us in baptism.

But above all, Saint Paul’s teaching about freedom is positive. The Apostle proposes the teaching of Jesus that we find in the Gospel of John as well: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (8:31-32). Therefore, the call is above all to remain in Jesus, the source of truth who makes us free. Christian freedom, therefore, is founded on two fundamental pillars: first, the grace of the Lord Jesus; second, the truth that Christ reveals to us and which is He himself.

First of all, it is a gift from the Lord. The freedom that the Galatians had received – and we like them in our baptism – is the fruit of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Apostle concentrates his entire proclamation on Christ, who had liberated him from the bonds of his past life: only from Him do the fruits of the new life according to the Spirit flow. In fact, the truest freedom, that from slavery to sin, flows from the Cross of Christ. We are free from slavery to sin by the Cross of Christ. Right there, where Jesus allowed himself to be nailed, making himself a slave, God placed the source of the liberation of the human person. This never ceases to amaze us: that the place where we are stripped of every freedom, that is, death, might become the source of freedom. But this is the mystery of God’s love! It is not easily understood, but it is lived. Jesus himself had proclaimed it when he said: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (Jn 10:17-18). Jesus achieves complete freedom by giving himself up to death; He knows that only in this way could he obtain life for everyone.

Paul, we know, had experienced first-hand this mystery of love. For this reason, he says to the Galatians, using an extremely bold expression: “I have been crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:19). In that act of supreme union with the Lord, he knew he had received the greatest gift of his life: freedom. On the Cross, in fact, he had nailed “his flesh with its passions and desires” (5:24). We understand how much faith filled the Apostle, how great was his intimacy with Jesus. And while, on the one hand, we know this is what we are missing, on the other hand, the Apostle’s testimony encourages us to progress in this life of freedom. The Christian is free, should be free, and is called not to return to being a slave of precepts and strange things.

The second pillar of freedom is the truth. In this case as well, it is necessary to remember that the truth of faith is not an abstract theory, but the reality of the living Christ, who touches the daily and overall meaning of personal life. How many people there are who have never studied, who do not even know how to read and write, but who have understood Christ’s message well, who have this freedom that makes them free. It is Christ’s wisdom that has entered them through the Holy Spirit in baptism. How many people do we find who live the life of Christ better than great theologians, for example, offering a tremendous witness of the freedom of the Gospel. Freedom makes free to the extent to which it transforms a person’s life and directs it toward the good. So as to be truly free, we not only need to know ourselves on the psychological level, but above all to practice truth in ourselves on a more profound level — and there, in our heart, open ourselves to the grace of Christ. Truth must disturb us – let’s return to this extremely Christian word: restlessness. We know that there are Christians who are never restless: their lives are always the same, there is no movement in their hearts, they lack restlessness. Why? Because restlessness is a sign that the Holy Spirit is working inside us and freedom is an active freedom, that comes from the grace of the Holy Spirit. This is why I say that freedom must disturb us, it must constantly question us, so that we might always plunge deeper into what we really are. In this way we will discover that the journey of truth and freedom is an arduous one that lasts a lifetime. Remaining free is arduous, it is a struggle; but it is not impossible. Courage, let’s make progress regarding this, it will be good for us. And it is a journey on which the Love that comes from the Cross guides and sustains us: the Love that reveals truth to us and grants us freedom. This is the way to happiness. Freedom makes us free, makes us joyful, makes us happy.

06.10.21


Pope Francis          

13.10.21 General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall  

Catechesis on Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians: 11. Christian freedom, universal leaven of liberation    

Galatians 5: 1, 13

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In our itinerary of catechesis on the Letter to the Galatians, we have been able to focus on what was for Saint Paul the core of freedom: the fact that, with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have been freed from the slavery of sin and of death. In other words, we are free because we have been freed, freed by grace – not by payment, freed by love, which becomes the supreme and new law of Christian life. Love: we are free because we were liberated freely. This, in fact, is the key point.

Today I would like to emphasise how this novelty of life opens us up to welcoming every people and culture, and at the same time opens every people and culture to a greater freedom. In fact, Saint Paul says that for those who follow Christ, it no longer matters if they are Jewish or pagan. The only thing that counts is “faith working through love” (Gal 5:6). To believe that we have been freed, and to believe in Jesus Christ who freed us: this is faith working through love. Paul’s detractors – those fundamentalists who had arrived there - attacked him over this novelty, claiming that he had taken this position out of pastoral opportunism, or rather to “please everyone”, minimizing the demands received from his narrower religious tradition. It is the same argument of the fundamentalists of today: history always repeats itself. As we can see, the criticism of every evangelical novelty is not only of our time, but has a long history behind it. Paul, however, does not remain silent. He responds with parrhesia – it is a Greek word that indicates courage, strength – and he says, “Am I now seeking the favour of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ” (Gal 1:10). Already in his first Letter to the Thessalonians he had expressed himself in similar terms, saying that in his preaching he had never used “words of flattery … or a cloak for greed; … nor did we seek glory from men” (1 Th 2:5-6), which are the paths of “faking”; a faith that is not faith, it is worldliness.

Paul’s thinking yet again shows an inspired depth. To welcome faith for him involves renouncing not the heart of cultures and traditions, but only that which may hinder the newness and purity of the Gospel. Because the freedom obtained through the death and resurrection of the Lord does not enter into conflict with cultures or with the traditions we have received, but rather introduces into them a new freedom, a liberating novelty, that of the Gospel. Indeed, the liberation obtained through baptism enables us to acquire the full dignity of children of God, so that, while we remain firmly anchored in our cultural roots, at the same time we open ourselves to the universalism of faith that enters into every culture, recognises the kernels of truth present, and develops them, bringing to fullness the good contained in them. To accept that we have been liberated by Christ - his passion, his death, his resurrection - is to accept and bring fullness also to the different traditions of each people. The true fullness.

In the call to freedom we discover the true meaning of the inculturation of the Gospel. What is this true meaning? Being able to announce the Good News of Christ the Saviour respecting the good and the true that exist in cultures. It is not easy! There are many temptations to seek to impose one’s own model of life as though it were the most evolved and the most appealing. How many errors have been made in the history of evangelisation by seeking to impose a single cultural model! Uniformity as a rule of life is not Christian! Unity yes, uniformity no! At times, even violence was not spared in order to make a single point of view prevail. Think of wars. In this way, the Church has been deprived of the richness of many local expressions that the cultural traditions of entire peoples bring with them. But this is the exact opposite of Christian freedom! For example, I am reminded of the approach to the apostolate established in China with Father Ricci, or in India with Father De Nobili… [Some said] “No, this is not Christian!” Yes, it is Christian, it is in the culture of the people.

In short, Paul’s vision of freedom is entirely enlightened and rendered fruitful by the mystery of Christ, who in his incarnation - as the Second Vatican Council recalls - united himself in a certain way with every person (cf. Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 22). And this means there is not uniformity, instead there is variety, but variety united. Hence the duty to respect the cultural origin of every person, placing them in a space of freedom that is not restricted by any imposition dictated by a single predominant culture. This is the meaning of calling ourselves Catholics, of speaking of the Catholic Church. It is not a sociological denomination to distinguish us from other Christians; Catholic is an adjective that means universal: catholicity, universality. The universal, that is Catholic, Church, means that the Church contains in herself, in her very nature, an openness to all peoples and cultures of all times, because Christ was born, died and rose again for everyone.

Besides, culture is by its very nature in continual transformation. If one thinks of how we are called to proclaim the Gospel in this historical moment of great cultural change, where an ever more advanced technology seems to have the upper hand. If we were to speak of faith as we did in previous centuries, we would run the risk of no longer being understood by the new generations. The freedom of Christian faith – Christian freedom - does not indicate a static vision of life and culture, but rather a dynamic vision, and vision that is dynamic even in tradition. Tradition grows, but always with the same nature. Let us not claim, therefore, to possess freedom. We have received a gift to take care of. Rather, it is freedom that asks each one of us to be constantly on the move, oriented towards its fullness. It is the condition of pilgrims; it is the state of wayfarers, in continual exodus: liberated from slavery so as to walk towards the fullness of freedom. And this is the great gift that Jesus Christ gave us. The Lord has liberated us from slavery freely, and has set us on the path to walk in full freedom.

13.10.21


Pope Francis          

20.10.21 General Audience,  Paul VI Audience Hall 

Catechesis on the Letter to the Galatians: 12. Freedom is realised in love  

Galatians 5: 13,14  

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In these days we are talking about the freedom of faith, listening to the Letter to the Galatians. But I was reminded of what Jesus was saying about the spontaneity and freedom of children, when this child had the freedom to approach and move as if he were at home... And Jesus tells us: “You too, if you do not behave like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven”. The courage to approach the Lord, to be open to the Lord, not to be afraid of the Lord: I thank this child for the lesson he has given us all. And may the Lord help him in his limitation, in his growth because he has given this testimony that came from his heart. Children do not have an automatic translator from the heart to life: the heart takes the lead. Thank you.

The Apostle Paul, with his letter to the Galatians, gradually introduces us to the great novelty of faith. Slowly, step by step… that is the novelty of faith. It is truly a great novelty, because it does not merely renew a few aspects of life, but rather it leads us into that “new life” that we have received with Baptism. There the greatest gift, that of being children of God, has been poured out upon us. Reborn in Christ, we have passed from a religiosity made up of precepts – we have moved on from a religiosity made up of precepts - to a living faith, which has its centre in communion with God and with our brothers and sisters, that is, in love. We have passed from the slavery of fear and sin to the freedom of God’s children. Here, again, is the word freedom …

Today we will try to understand better what the heart of this freedom is for the Apostle, what the core of this is. Paul affirms that it is anything but an “opportunity for the flesh” (Gal 5:13): freedom, therefore, is not a libertine way of living, according to the flesh or following the instincts, individual desires or one’s own selfish impulses; no, on the contrary, the freedom of Jesus leads us to be, the Apostle writes, “servants of one another” (ibid.). But is this slavery? Yes, freedom in Christ has an element of slavery, a dimension that leads us to service, to living for others. True freedom, in other words, is fully expressed in love. Yet again, we find ourselves faced with the paradox of the Gospel: we are freed by serving, not in doing whatever we want. We are free in serving, and freedom comes from there; we find ourselves fully to the extent to which we give ourselves. We find ourselves fully to the extent to which we give ourselves, to which we have the courage to give ourselves; we possess life if we lose it (cf. Mk 8:35). This is pure Gospel.

But how can this paradox be explained? Because it is a paradox! The Apostle’s answer is as simple as it is demanding: “through love” (Gal 5:13). There is no freedom without love. The selfish freedom of doing what I want is not freedom, because it turns in on itself, it is not fruitful. Through love: it is Christ’s love that has freed us and it is love that also frees us from the worst slavery, that of the self; therefore, freedom increases with love. But beware: not with self-centred love, with the love of a soap opera, not with the passion that simply looks for what we want and like: not with that, but with the love we see in Christ, charity – this is the love that is truly free and freeing. It is the love that shines out in gratuitous service, modelled on that of Jesus, who washes the feet of his disciples and says: “I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (Jn 13:15). Serving one another.

Therefore, for Paul freedom is not “doing what you want and what you like”: no. This type of freedom, without a goal and without points of reference, would be an empty freedom, a freedom of the circus: it is not good. And indeed, it leaves emptiness within: how often, after following instinct alone, do we realise that we are left with a great emptiness inside and that we have used badly the treasure of our freedom, the beauty of being able to choose true goodness for ourselves and for others. True freedom always frees us, whereas when we exercise that freedom of what we like and don’t like, we remain empty, in the end. Only this freedom is complete, genuine, and inserts us into real everyday life.

In another letter, the first to the Corinthians, the Apostle responds to those who support an incorrect idea of freedom. “All things are lawful!” Ah, all things are lawful, they can be done. No: it is a mistaken idea. “Yes, but not all things are helpful”, would be the reply. “All things are lawful but not all things are helpful!”, Paul answers. “All things are lawful, yes, but not all things build up”, retorts the Apostle. He then adds: “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbour” (1 Cor 10:23-24). This is the rule for unmasking any type of selfish freedom. In addition, to those who are tempted to reduce freedom only to their own tastes, Paul puts before them the need for love. Freedom guided by love is the only one that sets others and ourselves free, that knows how to listen without imposing, that knows how to love without coercing, that builds and does not destroy, that does not exploit others for its own convenience and does good without seeking its own benefit. In short, if freedom is not at the service – this is the test – if freedom is not in the service of good, it runs the risk of being barren and not bearing fruit. If freedom is not in the service of good, it does not bear fruit. On the other hand, freedom inspired by love leads towards the poor, recognising the face of Christ in their faces. Therefore, this service to one another allows Paul, writing to the Galatians, to emphasise something that is by no means secondary: in this way, speaking of the freedom that the other Apostles gave him to evangelise, he underlines that they recommended only one thing: to remember the poor (cf. Gal 2:10). It is interesting, what the apostles said when after the ideological battle between Paul and the apostles, they agreed: “Go ahead, go ahead and do not forget the poor”, that is, may your freedom as a preacher be a freedom in the service of others, not for yourself, to do as you please.

We know, however, that one of the most widespread modern conceptions of freedom is this: “my freedom ends where yours begins”. But here the relationship is missing! It is an individualistic vision. On the other hand, those who have received the gift of freedom brought about by Jesus cannot think that freedom consists in keeping away from others, as if they were a nuisance; the human being cannot be regarded as cooped up in alone, but always part of a community. The social dimension is fundamental for Christians, and it enables them to look to the common good and not to private interest.

Especially in this historic moment, we need to rediscover the communitarian, not individualistic, dimension of freedom: the pandemic has taught us that we need each other, but it is not enough to know this; we need to choose it in a tangible way, to decide on that path, every day. Let us say and believe that others are not an obstacle to my freedom, but rather they are the possibility to fully realise it. Because our freedom is born from God’s love and grows in charity. Thank you.

20.10.21


Pope Francis          

09.06.24 Angelus, St Peter's Square

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B 

Mark 3: 20-35


Dear brothers and sisters, blessed Sunday!

The Gospel of today’s liturgy (cf. Mk 3:20-35) tells us that Jesus, after beginning His public ministry, faced a twofold reaction: that of his relatives, who were worried and feared He had gone a little mad, and that of the religious authorities, who accused Him of acting under the influence of an evil spirit. In reality, Jesus preached and healed the sick by the power of the Holy Spirit. And it was precisely the Spirit that made him divinely free, that is, capable of loving and serving without measure or conditioning. Jesus, free. Let us pause a while to contemplate this freedom of Jesus.

Jesus was free in relation to wealth: therefore He left the security of His village, Nazareth, to embrace a poor life full of uncertainties (cf. Mt 6:25-34), freely taking care of the sick and whoever came to ask Him for help, without ever asking for anything in exchange (cf. Mt 10:8). The gratuitousness of Jesus’ ministry is this. And it is also the gratuitousness of every ministry.

He was free with regard to power: indeed, despite calling many to follow Him, He never obliged anyone to do so, nor did He ever seek out the support of the powerful, but always took the side of the last, teaching His disciples to do likewise, as He had done (cf. Lk 22:25-27).

Finally, Jesus was free of the quest for fame and approval, and for this reason He never gave up speaking the truth, even at the cost of not being understood (cf. Mk 3:21), of becoming unpopular, even to the point of dying on the cross, not allowing Himself to be intimidated, nor bought, nor corrupted by anything or anyone (cf. Mt 10:28).

Jesus was a free man. He was free in the face of wealth, free in the face of power, free in the face of the quest for fame. And this is important for us too. Indeed, if we let ourselves be conditioned by the quest for pleasure, power, money or consensus, we become slaves to these things. If instead we allow God’s freely-given love to fill us and expand our heart, and if we let it overflow spontaneously, by giving it back to others, with our whole selves, without fear, calculation or conditioning, then we grow in freedom, and spread its good fragrance around us too.

So we can ask ourselves: am I a free person? Or do I let myself be imprisoned by the myths of money, power and success, sacrificing my serenity and peace, and that of others, to these things? In the places where I live and work, do I spread the fresh air of freedom, sincerity and spontaneity?

May the Virgin Mary help us live and love like Jesus taught us, in the freedom of the children of God (cf. Rom 8:15,20-23).

09.06.24