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God never violates our free will

by Fr Eamonn Bourke

“God never violates our free will. It is up to us whether we want to receive God’s grace or not. It is up to us whether we will co-operate with it or waste it” (Diary 1107)

If there is a God, why so much evil?
You just have to pick up a newspaper or switch on the news and you will read or hear about so much violence and bloodshed around the world. The recent massacres in Sri Lanka really shocked us all. The images of young men calmly walking into churches and hotels with backpacks filled with explosives and then coolly detonating them are so hard to fathom. They did these things in the knowledge that they would kill, not just themselves, but many other innocent men, women and children. People often ask the question, ‘if there is a God then why is there so much evil and sadness in the world?’ 

The Gift of Freedom
Every human being was created in freedom. When he created us in freedom, He also gave us true freedom to respond to His love, or to reject His love. We have the freedom to live a good, decent, honourable and loving life, or to live a life that is destructive, evil and mean-spirited.

True freedom is the basis of what it means to be human. Evil exists in the world today because there are those who choose evil, who think that they are God, and they chose to use their gifts and talents to do harm to others and to tear down rather than create, to hate rather than to love. But there is a heavy price to pay for a life dedicated to evil. 

So even though life will always have its challenges, a life blessed with God’s grace, a life enraptured in love, with a fascination with our life, our world and our existence, in relationships that are joyous, shows how co-operation with God’s grace throughout our life, helps Christians to live a life worth living. But it is always a choice made by the individual. 

He offers His Gifts
This freedom that God has given us also stretches to our everyday life. God will never force His way into our lives, will never force us to pray or go to Mass or confession. He will never force us to keep the commandments or open our hearts to His grace. He simply offers us these gifts and leaves it up to us to respond to His gifts by opening our hearts to His grace. 

Who opened their heart in faith to me?
Throughout the Gospels, we have amazing examples of what happens when people open their heart to Jesus. In Matthew’s gospel, in we read about the woman who had a haemorrhage for twelve years. She had spent all her money on various doctors hoping they would cure her, but she was getting worse. She heard that Jesus was passing her way and probably thought to herself, “if only I can touch the hem of His cloak I shall be well again”. She had opened her heart to Jesus, opened her heart to His grace, His healing and His love. She reaches out and in faith, touches his cloak and immediately she feels herself cured. The story states that Jesus was surrounded with people, all pressing against Him. When He asks ‘who touched me?’, even the Apostles were a little surprised. So, in other words, He was asking ‘who opened their heart in faith to me? or ‘Who reached out in faith for my healing?’ Who wanted to receive His grace? The woman makes herself known and she begins a new life of love. In that instant she is saved.

Seemingly Minor Events and Moments in Life
The same healing, forgiveness and salvation is offered to us. If we can find it in ourselves to open our hearts to Jesus in freedom and love in the small, often seemingly minor events and moments in life, then we will soon find our lives transformed by His love. True peace, true joy, true contentment in life is only found in God, is only found when we open ourselves to the loving grace that flows from the side of the Merciful Jesus.

Saint Maria Faustina’s journey of faith
Saint Maria Faustina’s journey of faith was a constant opening of her heart to the loving promise of the Merciful Jesus. She learned to trust in His merciful love, to grow in faith and excel in love through the small events of her day when she co-operated with God’s grace and allowed herself to be led by the Spirit. She teaches us to trust in the Merciful Jesus one day at a time, one hour at a time, one second at a time. Each step is a step into the merciful heart of out loving Saviour, and that is a place of true love.

Time to Reflect
Is there any area of your life today where you are closed to God’s grace? 

Any area of your life where you are trying to get by, by just depending on your own strengths and merits?

Is your heart closed to God’s merciful power in any way?

Take a few moments reflecting on these questions and if you notice anything, hand it over to the Merciful Jesus and invite Him into your life to heal you and give you strength.

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Our Lady Untier of Knots

Our Lady Untier of Knots
Unfailing Novena to Our Lady Untier (Undoer) of Knots, a wonderful nine-day prayer to Our Lady. This is Pope Francis' favourite Novena. One of the fastest growing Marian Devotions in the world.

 

Click this link to view: Our Lady Untier of Knots Prayer Book