Daily Reflection
April 12th, 2000
John Horn, S.J.
Institute for Priestly Formation
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Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95
Daniel 3:52-56
John 8:31-42

ďNo slave has a permanent place in the family, but the Son has a place there forever.  That is why if the Son frees you, you will really be free.Ē

John 8:31-42

Most of us think that we are free.  We live in a free republic with a cherished Bill of Rights.  We think of ourselves as enjoying great freedom of choice, as well as great freedoms to do, buy, say and live in whatever manner pleases us.

This season of Lent and this gospel challenges us to find out just how free we really are in personal relationships with things, time, and within ourselves, in Christ!  Saint John tells us that real freedom grows when we are first and foremost in a personal relationship with Jesusí Spirit as His disciples.  We must listen for Jesusí Spirit at work in our hearts and in the Church, learning from Him.  If we follow Jesus as truth we can be free.

A great way to find out how free you really are, amid all the external freedoms, is to set aside part of one day to be alone with God.  Go to a state park or someplace quite and restful in your area.  Let it be from sunrise to sunset.  Eat regular foods at regular meal times, but be with God in silence and solitude.  Take no radio, tapes or CDs, no newspaper, no cell phones or beeper.  Watch no TV and donít run to a VCR, movie theater or shopping malls.  Take nothing to read except Sacred Scripture.  Speak to no one except to God in several periods of prayer as you relax.  Some mild physical exercise is good to enjoy.  Write in a journal, recording your thoughts and feelings after the prayer periods.  Weíll come to understand a bit how free or enslaved we are in our relationships. 

Sadly, I see us terribly enslaved, perhaps more than ever in this free society.  We are enslaved by impulses and inner attitudes that ensnare us into misusing technology and time. Our external freedoms paradoxically act to enslave us deeply unless we are inwardly able to know ourselves and to receive Godís love being communicated to us.

As we face our heartís impulses and attitudes new opportunities present themselves for relating with truth, Jesusí Spirit.  It is in this relationship alone that we are set free.  May freedom ring anew as we learn discipleship with and for Jesus the Christ! 

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