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Freedom in the Spirit

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

Immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. . . versus love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. . . (Galatians 20, 21a, 22, 22a).

We are drawing close to the end of St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians. As is usually the case in his writings, St. Paul tends to become very practical and specific as he closes a letter. While the body of the letter may have waxed eloquent and philosophical, his closings focus on the application of the principles about which he has been writing. In this case, he is contrasting the works of the flesh with the works of the Spirit; namely, those things which draw us away from God and those things that draw us close to God.

Throughout the letter to the Galatians, St. Paul has been urging us to break the chains of slavery to sin and the Law and to live in the freedom of the Spirit. Unfortunately, many in today's world would claim that freedom becomes license to do whatever we wish, including those things that draw us away from God. In St. Paul's thinking, such behavior only enslaves us. It is the Spirit and the works of the Spirit which set us truly free – free to love, to be kind, to be gentle, to be at peace.

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