Love and Freedom

Barbara Lee - author of God Isn't Finished with Me Yet

This post is by Barbara Lee, author of God Isn’t Finished with Me Yet: Discovering the Spiritual Graces of Later Life, as she begins An Ignatian Prayer Adventure.

“I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). The prophet introduces us to a God whose love is tender and intimate, a love that was manifested at the moment when we received the names that tell us who we are.

At Baptism, God called us by the names chosen by our parents. We have no memory of a sacrament experienced in infancy, but we can remember the love of our parents and godparents—their nearness, their care, their attention to our needs, and their celebration of all our milestones. In fact, the names they chose for us were the names chosen by God. The love that they showed us was God’s gift; our parents and godparents (and, indeed, all the people who have loved us) were and are channels of God’s love.

But God’s love for each of us did not begin at Baptism. “For it was you who formed my inward parts; / you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). Before we were named, before we were born, before we were conceived, God loved each of us into being. The psalmist tries to respond to his awareness of this love: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. / Wonderful are your works; / that I know very well” (139:14).

Love cannot be separated from freedom. Every parent knows the tension between the desire to protect their children from harm and allowing them the freedom to grow into mature and healthy adults. God gives us the freedom to fail, even to sin, to grow into spiritual maturity. At the same time, God is always inviting us to accept his love and to choose a God-centered life. There are many examples in Scripture; one of the most familiar is Mary’s assent to the astounding announcement that she has been chosen to be the Mother of God (Luke 1:26–38).

In the opening days of the Ignatian Prayer Adventure retreat, the graces we pray for are “to be more aware of how God is near; to trust in God’s personal care and love for me.” The suggested Scripture passages can help us get our heads around these very big ideas. Reflect with some of these questions:

  • What does my name tell me about who I am?
  • Where have I experienced God’s love today?
  • What choices have I made today? Which ones drew me closer to God?
  • Can I, like Mary, respond: May it be done to me according to your Word?
About Barbara Lee 1 Article
Barbara Lee is a practicing spiritual director who lives in New York City. She is a retired attorney, a former U.S. magistrate judge, and a long-serving member of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps. She is the author of God Isn’t Finished with Me Yet: Discovering the Spiritual Graces of Later Life.

6 Comments on Love and Freedom

  1. Thank you Barbara, I will try and buy your book ; here in Australia. I am in my 82nd year & so often wish I was not here. but, I think just what you wrote. “God isn’t finished with me yet” He is allowing me time to get some things done that need doing.. I just wish I could do the physical ones.”My get up and go, has got up and gone” Unfortunately.Thank you for your lovely Reflection. A.M.D.G.

  2. Lovely commentary Barbara. Spoken with wisdom and love from one deeply imbued in our faith. May your Lent be rich and fulfilling.

  3. What a lovely post, Barbara. I particularly appreciate the closing questions you pose for us. I notice that this is your first post on ignatianspirituality.com. I welcome you and look forward to future postings. In gratitude and hope, Jay

  4. Thank you for this very helpful kick-off to Lent, focusing on the love that frees us to be the person we are meant to be. I know that if I begin this season in love, it’s more likely to flow toward love all the way through.

  5. God the Holy Mystical Trinity is the author of all creations and all persons who are also sinners by the fallen nature of Adam and Eve. But by the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Spiritual Redemption is open to all sinners at all times at all places. Each person is responsible to choose freely to constantly rely on the Divine Graces of Jesus Christ to be empowered to use whatever limited material and temporal powers like money,tech innovation, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Sciences, wealth, Knowldge, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit as tools for the application of the will of God the Holy Mystical Trinity in earth and in Heaven.

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