One of the great gifts God gives us as humans is free choice. I marveled anew at the extent of the gift of free choice as I read an article someone recommended to me in connection with one of my academic writing projects. In a piece called The Concept of “Gift” as Hermeneutical Key to the Dignity of the Human Person, Damien Fedoryka writes:
“It is the vocation of a person to give him-or herself to another out of love for the other that constitutes the mystery of such a power that has the character of an absolute in a contingent being. Not even God can take possession of the human person unless he or she freely gives him- or herself to God.”
What a risk God is willing to take on us! God could have decided to give us freedom with limits – could have let us have freedom over the little (or even medium) things, but kept for control over the big decisions for God’s self. (And, of course, God didn’t have to give us any free will at all; as I sometimes joke with people, God could have just decided to make us all goldfish.)
Instead, God gave us ultimate freedom – we get to choose whether to accept God’s love and to love in return. Not even God can force our love.
One of the graces we pray for during the early phase of the Spritiual Exercises of St. Ignatius is acceptance of the fact that I am free to respond or not to God’s call and to accept that that freedom is part of God’s plan. It is a pretty amazing thing to really grab hold of and appreciate this reality.