Freedom From, Freedom For

Let’s be real. After all, we’re human. We need a turning point, a point at which we’re free from our past and free for our future. Freedom from the prisons we’ve constructed for ourselves that keep us trapped, feeling unhappy, void, and hopeless. Freedom for a future of joy, meaning, and greatness. Freedom to live up to the life which God called us.

The opportunity for a turning point is available to everyone. We have equal opportunity. However, we will not achieve equity because outcomes will be different based on individual free will, the choices we each make. What are those choices? Decisions to learn to purify how you love on earth. If you don’t learn to love well, in the proper order, you will not learn to live well, to live greatly as God wants you to live. That means you have to live in a new way with new habits that will serve a new way of thinking and a new character.

There are three categories of love: improper love, insufficient love, and excessive love. We’ll briefly discuss each and what needs to happen to reach your turning point.

Excerpt from Dante’s Divine Comedy, The Seven Terraces of Purgatorio

Improper love consists of pride, envy, and wrath. Pride is the root of other wrong loves. Pride is an unhealthy preoccupation with yourself and your achievements. It results in the elevation of your ego at the expense of others’ dignity. Envy believes that life is a zero-sum game, that someone’s gain is your loss, which is why you always feel discontented or resentful towards someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck. Wrath is rooted in fear of losing your stuff. When you’re selfish, you get stuff and you want stuff. Then you become afraid someone will take it away from you. When you fear that loss, you become angry. Anger leads to hate and wrath. All improper loves must be converted to proper love to progress toward your turning point. Pride must become humility. Envy must become generosity and mercy. Wrath must become meekness and peacefulness.

Insufficient love is sloth, a reluctance to work or make an effort. At best, it’s complacency. At worst, it’s laziness. You’re neither not nor cold. To move toward your turning point, sloth must be converted to zeal. You need to value time as though you’re working for God with energy or enthusiasm. You need to learn that time is love.

Excessive love is comprised of avarice, gluttony, and lust. With these loves, there is a strong desire, which is good, however, it is misdirected. Avarice is extreme greed for wealth or material gain. Gluttony is excess in eating and drinking. Lust is feeling or revealing an overt and often offensive sexual desire. All three are unhealthy for yourself and others. To reach your turning point, you must convert avarice to a willingness to give your property or money away for the benefit of others. In other words, you must learn to be freely generous. You must also learn self-control with your eating habits and show restraint and constraint with meals and binging. Lastly, lust must be converted to purity and chastity. You must learn to love others as humans created in God’s image, as yourself, not as objects to satisfy your insatiable cravings.

None of us know how much time we have left on earth to live up to the life which God called us. The first step is the awareness that you need a turning point. It’s your choice to make. Once aware, then your journey begins to reorder your loves. It’s not easy, but worth it. Freedom from your past. Freedom for your future. Your soul needs God’s grace, and you need to realize that fact. The desire for it will propel you to and through your turning point. You will learn to love well … God first, others second, and yourself third … in that order.

Published by Marc Casciani

Bridging brothers & sisters to what's important. Author of Craft Your Calling. Host of the Neighborly Love podcast.

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