By Deacon Antonio Sandoval
It would seem that slavery and freedom are contradictory terms. However, this depends on how you define these terms. We often think of freedom as the liberty to do whatever we want to do. This, in fact, is slavery to our own ego and to our personal desires. If, on the other hand, we define freedom as the liberty to do, out of love, the good that God wants us to do for others and ourselves, then this is slavery of love which gives us interior freedom of conscience.
Three persons in Scripture who were the most free, and slaves of God at the same time, were St. Paul, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus. St. Paul began his letter to the Romans with these words, “Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God” (Rom 1:1). Paul’s commitment to carry out the mission given to him by Christ was made voluntarily in freedom. His commitment was so strong that nothing could deter him. He suffered beatings, flagellations, a stoning, shipwrecks, toil, hardships, and more, but all these sufferings could not take away his slavery to Christ, which was born out of love, and was the source of his interior freedom (2Cor 11: 24-28)
St. Louis Marie de Montfort wrote about three forms of slavery: slavery by nature, slavery of constraint, and slavery of will (what I call slavery of love). All creatures are slaves of God by nature. They can only behave according to the nature that they receive from God, the Creator. Slavery of constraint applies to those persons who are compelled against their will to obey and serve someone else. This is what we most often think about, when we think of slavery. The third form of slavery is slavery of love. This is doing the will of God as faithfully as possible, not because we are compelled by nature or any other cause, but out of love (True Devotion to Mary # 70).
At the Annunciation when Mary understood that she was being asked to be the mother of the Messiah, she said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Some Spanish translations of the Gospel of Luke indicate that Mary said what literally means, “Behold the slave girl of the Lord…”. Mary has always been full of grace. She has never acted contrary to the God’s will; therefore, she truly is a slave of God out of pure love and lives in perfect freedom. Read more on MariaNews.com.