Editor’s Pick: Slavery of Love, the Highest Form of FreedomSeptember 5, 2012 No Comments
September 5, 2012 / MariaNews.com
Slavery of Love, the Highest Form of Freedom
By Deacon Antonio Sandoval
It would seem that slavery and freedom are contradictory terms. However, this depends on how you define these terms. We often think of freedom as the liberty to do whatever we want to do. This, in fact, is slavery to our own ego and to our personal desires. If, on the other hand, we define freedom as the liberty to do, out of love, the good that God wants us to do for others and ourselves, then this is slavery of love which gives us interior freedom of conscience.
Three persons in Scripture who were the most free, and slaves of God at the same time, were St. Paul, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus. St. Paul began his letter to the Romans with these words, “Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God” (Rom 1:1). Paul’s commitment to carry out the mission given to him by Christ was made voluntarily in freedom. His commitment was so strong that nothing could deter him. He suffered beatings, flagellations, a stoning, shipwrecks, toil, hardships, and more, but all these sufferings could not take away his slavery to Christ, which was born out of love, and was the source of his interior freedom (2Cor 11: 24-28)
St. Louis Marie de Montfort wrote about three forms of slavery: slavery by nature, slavery of constraint, and slavery of will (what I call slavery of love). All creatures are slaves of God by nature. They can only behave according to the nature that they receive from God, the Creator. Slavery of constraint applies to those persons who are compelled against their will to obey and serve someone else. This is what we most often think about, when we think of slavery. The third form of slavery is slavery of love. This is doing the will of God as faithfully as possible, not because we are compelled by nature or any other cause, but out of love (True Devotion to Mary # 70).
At the Annunciation when Mary understood that she was being asked to be the mother of the Messiah, she said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Some Spanish translations of the Gospel of Luke indicate that Mary said what literally means, “Behold the slave girl of the Lord…”. Mary has always been full of grace. She has never acted contrary to the God’s will; therefore, she truly is a slave of God out of pure love and lives in perfect freedom.
Jesus, too, was a slave of God the Father, out of love. We read that he did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found in human appearance (Phil 2: 6-8). He always did the will of the Father, even when doing it meant death on the Cross.
The root of the word “religion” is “re- ligare” which means to bind ourselves [to God]. The purpose of religion is to help us to establish a personal bond of love with God and neighbor. To do this we must obey all that God commands, for Jesus said, “If you love me you will obey my commandments (John 14: 15). Religious freedom is to have the liberty to become slaves of God out of love in imitation of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints.
Today our religious freedom is being threatened because the government’s healthcare mandate will require all employers to pay, at least in part, for contraceptives, abortifacients, sterilization, and abortion in their employees’ healthcare benefits. Catholics and some other Christians consider providing these services to be immoral, and contrary to God’s law. If the government should compel us to comply with the healthcare mandates, regardless of our moral objections, we will not only lose our religious freedom, but we will also become slaves of constraint to our government. In this case we must obey God rather than men and retain our precious religious freedom no matter what the cost.
Read more from Deacon Antonio here.
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