Fear of the Future is Merely the Expectation of Grace

Fear of the Future is Merely the Expectation of Grace

In Matthew 6, Jesus implores us to not worry about the future because, “tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” In a 21st century world full of hobby psychiatrists, it can be tempting to look to many of Christ’s teachings as merely an appeal to a healthy mindspace, but there is always more to his words than happy living. I used to be a legendary worrier. Read that again – I wasn’t a samurai. Like many of the students I teach, I found the future to be daunting; alien to the inexperienced and malevolent to the unsuspecting. Whether “the future” consisted of the next day or the next year made no difference, as I was equally fearful of them both. I once related my concerns about a future event to a friend and, after listening to me bloviate for several minutes, she suggested that I was afraid of the future because I hadn’t received the grace to deal with it, yet. This, of course, blew me away. Were situations ever as unmanageable as I had imagined them? Was I ever has helpless as I had expected to be? The answer was always no because I had received the grace needed to deal with the moment at that moment. Jesus illustrates this point in Matthew 10:19 when he tells his disciples to “not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say.” The next time you’re sweating an upcoming job interview or staff meeting, school presentation or...
The Purpose of Freedom

The Purpose of Freedom

Recently, I gave my students a test in which a multiple-choice question asked for the purpose of free will.  The two choices most picked by students were: 1. To do good and evil; and 2. To do good.  During our review of the test, we arrived at this question and an argument broke out amongst my high-schoolers as to who held the correct answer.  Before we continue, why don’t you answer the question anonymously: [poll id=”8″] The argument for the first answer spoke to an ambiguity that rests within the idea of freedom: Humans were given free will so that they could choose between good and evil and because of this, freedom itself is a generic enough concept that it is not directed toward one goal or another.  Indeed, this is quite a libertarian conceptualization of free will. The argument for the second answer appealed to free will as an intended creation rather than a natural consequence:  Humans were given free will by God so that they would have the ability to genuinely love Him, since it isn’t real love if a person has no choice in the matter.  While Adam and Eve were able to choose good or evil, the purpose of their freedom was specifically to love God and to avoid sin. Unfortunately, the students who made the first argument must have missed my class when we discussed the details of man’s first sin; letting trust in his Creator die in his heart, abusing his freedom, and disobeying God’s command (CCC #397).  If freedom is an amoral thing that is to be used for good or evil,...

Munus: a Key to Understanding Grace

by Micah Murphy When I was a student at seminary, my spiritual director once spoke to me of the importance of the concept of munus. Munus is a Latin word meaning both gift and duty. In the Roman Empire, when a governor was given a commission by the emperor, it was called a munus. The new governor had received the gift of a new rank and status in Roman society, but he also had a new duty with real responsibilities. With the grace of Baptism, our simple human nature is elevated to a new Christian dignity. We are given a gift, but we are also given responsibilities. If we do not live out in charity the virtue of faith which we receive at the infusion of grace into our souls, then we fail to live up to the obligation our Christian duties place on us, and indeed we fail ourselves, because we act against the very gift we have received, damaging our Christian dignity and harming our likeness to God. Yet it is grace itself which allows us, in fact, compels us to live out our duties as Christians, so long as we do not choose to neglect that grace through sin. Grace is a wonderful gift and duty. Blessed be God for bestowing on us the tremendous munus of His...