Day 24: Freedom and Responsibility
By Marco Casanova
DSM Assistant Director
Editor’s Note: TOB is the abbreviation for Pope St. John Paul II’s book “Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body” Pauline Press Naps are a luxury for anyone with responsibility. Yet give me a chance, I’ll take it! Nothing like a power nap between Kingdom-come adventures. During one such nap…
I was jolted awake, way too soon. My alarm? I recalled a meeting that started in minutes. I came to my senses in view of my responsibility. Rude awakening? Nah! Pure mercy that I remembered!
What ought I do? Get off the couch. Move.
Something written in our humanity ‘alarms’ us to the truth of our responsibility: not easy, always activating.
Look to the Prodigal in Luke 15. He ‘came to his senses’ (Lk 15:17) and took responsibility, turning homeward. He had taken ample ‘liberty’ and been tricked by sin. The call to take responsibility was a mercy from God. He needed to act fast: not tomorrow, today.
Pope St. John Paul II’s personalist philosophy pays homage to the human person in his/her profound capacity to act responsibly. This Polish pope doesn’t let anyone off the hook. He believes that humanity has a heavenward destiny, a place in the inner-life of the Trinity. That’s huge! We prepare today for tomorrow. God made us responsible gifts on earth, for heaven. Our humanity is Trinity-bound.
Lofty callings demand deep responsibility. John Paul makes clear that ‘every human act has its consequences. The one who performs the act is implicated and obliged by his act. He must answer for it and is responsible for it…If we diminish responsibility, we diminish personality’ (Karol Wojtyla’s Personalist Philosophy: Understanding Person & Act, 177).
Jesus calls me to take responsibility in my integration. When I ‘come to my senses,’ I wake up to sin that leaves me diminished. Jesus’ mercy convicts me to move responsibly. This wakeup call activates me if I allow it.
Gen Z, wake up! Your sexual humanity has purpose and God-given identity. Take responsibility for it. Your freedom and personality hinge on your activation, not on fake socio-political identities. Leave them behind. ‘You were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness’ (Pope Benedict XVI)!
God ‘assigned to [man]…his own humanity as a task’ (TOB 59:2) Becoming radically whole is a work of divine grace. We activate that grace insofar as we take personal responsibility. Jesus saves, we cooperate.
'God who created you without you, will not save you without you.' St. Augustine
‘Jesus, rouse the gift we are. Help us to attend to the treasure you summon from the trash. Free us from our constant faultfinding and free us for vestiges of paradise in our memories and in our lives today. We refuse the liar who tries to rewrite Eden out of our histories. Unite us to the home of our original dignity.’
‘Jesus, have mercy on us as Your Church. We have abused weaker members, including children, and protected ourselves. We have violated the most vulnerable. In Your mercy, free us to superabound with justice. Grant us Kingdom discernment and courage to reform ourselves. May our repentance grant us Kingdom authority to strengthen the weak, discipline violators, and restore the violated.’