6. It is the means of acquiring the true liberty of the Children of God.
‘This devotion makes us truly free with the liberty of the children of God.’
Liberty in the literal sense of the word is a right which allows man to do what he will. But let us note at once that liberty is not independence. S. Paul lifts up his voice vigorously against such as would claim this. He says to himself: ‘All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful to me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.’
Human liberty is relative. It is within certain limits and exercised according to conscience, the divine and human law, and is subject to the established order of things. It must follow the principles of eternal reason included in the dictates of the human conscience and in the divine principles contained in the Gospel and the Decalogue, taught by the Church. This sovereign law is opposed to liberty independent of all dogma and all morality that it may lay down for it what is good and what is evil. It is then within these impassable limits of submission to order, that we can and must act and our liberty evolve and be developed.
If it transgresses these laws, if it turns aside from true reasonableness, if it crosses these limits, there follow disaster, abuses, sin, slavery. We think to free ourselves from a humiliating and embarrassing constraint, and we do not perceive that we are submitting ourselves to a degrading and bitter servitude. Man is only great and noble on his knees before God, under the easy yoke of His law and in obedience to His will. Everywhere else and always, man is the slave of someone or something.
In the human conscience, on the Tables of the Mosaic Law, in our Lord’s Gospel of the new Law, the rights of God to command are written. But desirous of liberty, Adam emancipates himself, the Jews put the divine Lawgiver to death, these distant ancestors of the French Revolution inscribe at the head of the new Code, the Rights of Man. Do we think they gained true liberty, the source and pledge of the future bliss we dream of? No, they subjected themselves to every kind of slavery: that of suffering without consolation, work without an aim, physical and moral distresses, death without the hope of a death which should make all good; that of the curse of Heaven, the blindness of the mind, the hardness of the heart; that of social revolution, unjust and homicidal strikes, of blood…
In the world, man resists the divine law. He denies to God and His representatives the right of having a word to say in the government of the nations and the obedience which they owe to the Sovereign Governor of the worlds. Then as they no longer desire a God, it is but logical that they should no longer desire masters, for a master is a vestige of authority, and they have done with authority. Such a nation has the leaders and the masters that it deserves, effeminate tyrants, incapable and therefore dangerous.
Man is unwilling to serve God in the love and holy liberty of the child. Such a one becomes the slave tormented by every bad passion, by every untrammeled ambition, degrading vice, the thrall of sin, of error, of every sort of compromise, in short, of the devil…
(To be continued.)