Interior Freedom

A reflection on Interior Freedom and the spirituality of the sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus, by Sr Ann Marie, fcJ

Interior Freedom seemed to be a good topic for reflection during May, Mary’s month. Mary certainly showed us a great example of Interior Freedom as she said her generous “Yes” to God’s request to become the Mother of Jesus! In her reflections, Sr Breda O’Farrell fcJ, a former General Superior of the FCJ Sisters, mentions Interior Freedom very often. Here are a few of her quotes on Interior Freedom taken from her Reflections on the Spirituality and Identity of the Faithful Companions of Jesus.

We were founded to be faithful even to the foot of the Cross, and our foundress put great emphasis on self-renunciation, which today we call ‘inner freedom’ because the reality we are talking about is freedom in ourselves to follow Christ. We are so limited, so enslaved by so much: our prejudices, our obstinacies, our aggressiveness, our selfishnesses. Freedom from these we call ‘maturity’. Maturity is really freedom; it is something that has ripened’ and the ripening comes about through the acceptance of the influence of the Spirit within us and upon us.

We must create that inner freedom that allows the Spirit so to take possession of us that the glory of God will burst through, will shine through and speak to a world which is very much in need of it.

Our foundress and Saint Ignatius both emphasized ‘renunciation of self’. ‘Inner freedom’ is another name for ‘renunciation’ and they were speaking of ‘inner freedom’, of freedom from what prevents us from being one with Christ and being so one with him that it is his message we preach. When we  react against ‘renunciation’ we need to realise what we are reacting against—against something false, against ‘suppression’ or ‘repression’, against a morbid type of self-denial for its own sake. The one and only purpose we have in life is to become one with Christ, to be transformed into his image and as soon as we become single-hearted, sin-gle-minded, the sooner many of these fringe conflicts fall away.

Our work is to set God free in us to act through us.

Sr Breda O’Farrell fcJ

She had realized and appreciated the gift God has given us in free will and how God has made himself so dependent upon it. We can make God powerless; even though all things are possible with God, he honours his gift. Our work is to set God free in us to act through us; we so imprison our graced free will by bars of fear, prejudice, laziness, irresponsibility, selfishness that God’s life in us does not flow out to others. We are not true to God, to ourselves, to others. The key to finding God’s choices for us lies in the use of our gift of freedom, making choices that we believe in faith fulfil God’s desires and hopes for us.

Reflections on the Spirituality and Identity of the Faithful Companions of Jesus, Breda O’Farrell fcJ, pages 23, 48, 49, 223