Josemaría Escrivá Obras

When he does his work, a Christian is obliged not to side-step or play down the values that earthly things have in themselves. If the expression "bless all human activities" meant abusing or neglecting their intrinsic qualities I would never use such a phrase. Personally I have never been convinced that the ordinary activities of men should carry a placard or confessional label. Although I respect the opposite opinion, I feel that using such a label involves a risk of using the holy name of our faith in vain. And there is evidence of the label "catholic" being used to justify activities and behaviour which sometimes are not even decently human.

The world and all that it contains, except for sin, is good because it is made by God our Lord. Therefore, a Christian who fights continuously to avoid offending God — fighting in a positive way, out of love — has to devote himself to all earthly tasks, shoulder to shoulder with other citizens. He must defend all the values which derive from human dignity.

But there is one value which he must particularly cherish: personal freedom. Only if he defends the individual freedom of others — with the personal responsibility that must go with it — only then can he defend his own with human and christian integrity. I will keep on repeating that our Lord has gratuitously given us a great supernatural gift, divine grace, and another wonderful human gift, personal freedom. To avoid this degenerating into license, we must develop integrity, we must make a real effort to conform our behaviour to divine law, for where the Spirit is, there you find freedom.

The kingdom of Christ is a kingdom of freedom. In it the only slaves are those who freely bind themselves, out of love of God. What a blessed slavery of love, that sets us free! Without freedom, we cannot respond to grace. Without freedom, we cannot give ourselves freely to our Lord, for the most supernatural of reasons, because we want to.

Some of you listening to me have known me for a long time. You can bear out that I have spent my whole life preaching personal freedom, with personal responsibility. I have sought freedom throughout the world and I'm still looking for it, just like Diogenes trying to find an honest man. And every day I love it more. Of all the things on earth, I love it most. It is a treasure which we do not appreciate nearly enough.

When I talk about personal freedom, I am not using it as an excuse to discuss other very legitimate questions which are not of my competence as a priest. I know that it is not proper for me to discuss secular and current topics which belong to the temporal and civil sphere — subjects which our Lord has left to the free and calm discussion of men. I also know that a priest's lips must avoid all human, partisan controversy. He has to open them only to lead souls to God, to his saving doctrine and to the sacraments which Jesus Christ established, to the interior life which brings us closer to God, so that we see we are his children and therefore brothers to all men without exception.

We are celebrating today the feast of Christ the king. And I do not go outside my role as a priest when I say that if anyone saw Christ's kingdom in terms of a political program he would not have understood the supernatural purpose of the faith, and he would risk burdening consciences with weights which have nothing to do with Jesus, for his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Let us really love all men; let us love Christ above all; and then we cannot avoid loving the rightful freedom of others, living in harmony with them.

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