Liberty Finds Meaning in Love, Says Pope

Says Christ Lived Freedom as Service

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 1, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Authentic freedom finds its meaning in love and serving others, says Benedict XVI.



This was the conclusion of the meditation the Pope delivered today before praying the Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square.

He centered his address on the theme, inspired by the Gospel for Sunday's liturgy, "freedom and the following of Christ."

"The Evangelist Luke recounts that Jesus, 'as the days in which he would be taken from the world were approaching, resolutely turned toward Jerusalem,'" the Holy Father said.

The Pontiff said that the freedom of Christ was marked by a firm determination: "He knows in fact that death on the cross is waiting for him in Jerusalem, but in obedience to the will of the Father he offers himself up for love.

"It is in his obedience to the Father that Jesus realizes his freedom as a conscious choice motivated by love."

Benedict XVI continued: "He did not live his freedom, however, as license or dominion. He lived it as service.

"In this way he 'filled' with content a freedom that would have otherwise remained an 'empty' possibility to do or not do something. As the life itself of man, freedom takes its meaning from love."

"Who is more free," the Pope asked, "the one who holds onto all possibilities for fear of losing them, or the one who 'resolutely' gives himself in service and thus finds himself full of life because of the love that he has given and received?"

Christian freedom, the Holy Father added, "is following Christ in the gift of self, right up to the sacrifice on the cross."

"It might seem paradoxical," he continued, "but the Lord lived the culmination of his freedom on the cross, as the pinnacle of love."

The Pontiff drew a parallel between Christ and "many other witnesses to truth" who have "remained free even in a prison cell and under the threat of torture."

"Those who belong to the truth will never be the slave of any power, but will always know how to freely be the servant of their brothers," said Benedict XVI.

The Pope added that the Virgin Mary is the "the model of the spiritual person, totally free because she is immaculate, immune to sin, and completely holy, dedicated to the service of God and neighbor.