“With freedom comes great responsibility.” We’ve all heard this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt before, but have we ever applied it to our faith? We know of our freedom that we have in Christ. We also know how we can make healthy faith-filled habits (water, sun, roots) in order to bear good fruit. Did we talk about what to do with that fruit?
These fruits of the Spirit are all outward expressions. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are things that we have with people. We are called to be generous to others, to harbor peace with them, have patience with them, show kindness… It is also through these expressions that we are called to edify those around us. “Edify” is used specifically because to edify is not to judge, but instruct. When we judge others we are fault-finding & condemning. When we edify others we are instructing them in a loving way. None of the fruits of the spirit will be absent if we are edifying another. Something will be missing if we are judging.
It is the responsibilities of our freedom that we ensure others know that they are free too! When we take off our judgmental eyes we can evangelize. Recently, Pope Francis encouraged us to embark upon a new chapter in evangelization. He says, “an evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, He has loved us first, and therefore we can more forward, boldy take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast.” He continues, “Here we find the source and inspiration of all our efforts at evangelization. For if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others?” 1 Sisters! We couldn’t have said it better!! God’s love is our strength for going out to the fallen away, the hurt, the doubters, and the outcast and help them come home. Once we realize the security in God’s love, don’t we want those around us to have that same security?
1. Evangelii Gaudium, “Joy of the Gospel”. Encyclical by Pope Francis