“Neither God Nor Master.”
“Neither God nor master.” Jacques Philippe writes this in Interior Freedom to emphasize the understanding that modern man has of freedom. Freedom is the submission of man to God in the ‘obedience of faith’ according to Jacques Philippe. It might seem that the understanding of freedom of the modern man sounds more like freedom than the Christian understanding. However, when we become masters of ourselves, when we make ourselves our own gods, we become bound to our desires and our own weaknesses. This no longer becomes freedom. With the submission to God, we become truly human. We become creatures with total freedom to reach our end which is God. Who can better know the creature than the Creator? With this submission there is a humble realization that I am completely dependent on God. Apart from Christ, I can do nothing. The petition “thy will be done” in the Our Father now has a deeper meaning. We look to God with hope especially in times of suffering. Jacques Philippe suggests that we accept suffering rather than reject them. Accepting suffering is difficult, but with the submission to God’s will, the bitterness of the suffering becomes sweet, as Jacques Philippe writes, “we must take up our cross and follow Christ courageously every day; the bitterness of that cross will sooner or later be transformed into sweetness.” This calling to take up our cross and follow him requires that we allow ourselves to be lead to Calvary. We come to the foot of the cross to learn the ultimate act of love: the total gift of self. At the cross, we are also taught to repeat with Christ, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Jacques Philippe explains this calling to love as God loves when he writes “in the heart of Christ, God has loved us humanly, so as to render our human hearts capable of loving divinely.” True freedom consists in loving as God loves and in surrendering everything to him.
Archdiocese of Denver