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Mar 23, 2021 546 Carissa Douglas, Canada
Evangelize

Freedom Unlimited

Coping with times of desolation in a new and powerful way!

For many of us even the smallest instances of physical contact and affection go a long way. The chance to speak to someone face to face and look into their eyes offers the soul the gift of connection and affirmation. So, to be stripped of these sustaining blessings has been a massive hardship. To know that we were not free to visit (and embrace) our loved ones was a heavy cross to bear.

This pandemic has created an atmosphere ripe with feelings of isolation, loneliness, helplessness, and frustration at the limitation of freedom.

I remember when I had three children in three years. Never had I felt the loss of personal freedom so distinctly. My time and energy were no longer my own. I felt homebound because even the shortest trip to a store was usually more work than it was worth. The effort of loading everyone into car seats, packing a diaper bag (which could rival a suitcase), and figuring out the logistics of containing three small people convinced me that even a trip out for essentials was too much mental, physical and psychological exertion. If there was an event I wanted to attend, I would have to decline if I couldn’t find babysitters. Because I needed to forego most events, I felt like my freedom had been severely limited.

But this is love.

“Love consists of a commitment which limits one’s freedom – it is a giving of the self, and to give oneself means just that: to limit one’s freedom on behalf of another.”

― Saint John Paul II, Love and Responsibility

Many people are experiencing this right now. They are limited, restricted and feeling completely alone. Many are trying to limit their social and familial encounters in an effort to protect their loved ones. It is a great sacrifice.

But this time of isolation can be highly fruitful and powerful.

“Limitation of one’s freedom might seem to be something negative and unpleasant, but love makes it a positive, joyful and creative thing. Freedom exists for the sake of love.”

― Saint John Paul II, Love and Responsibility

When my freedom was limited for the sake of my small children, I had more time for spiritual reading and engaging in deeper prayer: a consequence of being forced to limit social engagements, events and excursions. I had time for a Rosary that included all the mysteries. Often I would be praying while changing diapers, nursing, and simply being present while my children played. It was a huge change from the life I knew before, but proved to be one of the most spiritually fruitful times in my life.

I am convinced that many of the greatest spiritual battles are being fought and won through the earnest outpouring of the prayer of those who have had their freedom limited: the homebound, those confined to nursing homes and those restricted to hospital beds. In the quiet corners, outside of society’s periphery, Rosaries, offerings and persistent pleas are sent up daily to the Lord. Those isolated in their homes and those with physical challenges reside in their own personal monastic environment. Their cloistered reality offers the potential for turning their world into a powerhouse of prayer – and that is exactly what the world needs most right now.

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Carissa Douglas

Carissa Douglas is the author and illustrator of the Catholic children’s book series “Little Douglings,” which promotes the sacraments and the culture of life. She is the mother of 14 children. Be sure to check out her site at littledouglings.com where she blogs about her adventurous life with her big Catholic family and shares the humor and joy in her comic series: Holy HappyMess.

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