Friday, August 24, 2012

I love to Color!

For my 17th birthday, one of my very best friends gave me a coloring book and crayons. It was one of the best presents ever! Seriously, I love coloring with crayons. They are not as neat as markers, and they make more of a mess, but they exude the feel of childhood. The smell, the feel, the overall imperfect but charming appearance of pictures done in crayon....I love it!

A couple nights ago, I was hanging out with my brother, Dominic. He really REALLY wanted to make an "Angry Birds" poster with me (he's obsessed with that game). And so we sat down with some paper, crayons, and my non-artistic skills. And it was a blast! We had such a great time...our poster came out looking pretty cool (my lousy art skills considered), and it is now hanging above Dominic's bed. But as I was coloring in the picture of the "yellow bird", I noticed something: The black crayon--that I had outlined the bird with--was smearing into the yellow body of the bird. Because I had taken the yellow crayon too close to the black, the black crayon streaked and mixed with the yellow.

Think about the spiritual life. We can have a pure life, a great life, doing the will of God. But then we abuse God's gifts...He gives us the gift of freedom. And unlike a popular definition from the culture, freedom is not "doing whatever I want." No, this idea is called license, and it is definitely NOT a gift from God. License makes us slaves of the devil, for we become absorbed in ourselves, and we act on instant gratification, not caring about others. But freedom is choosing the good--the good for ourselves (keeping us ourselves out of sin, building up a relationship with God) and others (bringing them to God, helping them with bodily and spiritual needs). But if we abuse this freedom, and see it as license, we run into problems.

Just as the yellow crayon danced into the black, license causes us to fall into the blackness of sin. And the sin affects the entire picture; streaking across our soul, actions, and interactions with others, it turns us away from God, which directly affects our ability to love others and God. For how can we love if we do not possess the life of God--love Himself? We cannot give what we do not have; we must continually be focusing ourselves on building up a life in Christ, utilizing our freedom from God to grow in love of Him and others. And with the freedom from God, we enjoy true joy and bliss. Honestly, Catholics know how to have a good time!

When I've gone out dancing with friends before, I'll look around to the other people in the club--the immodestly dressed women, the cowboys who are looking for women, the people who dance inappropriately (we leave right as the inappropriate dancing starts; we come earlier for two-stepping and swing dancing)--and I see how EMPTY they are inside. Many of them are slaves to passion, slaves to license, slaves to a corrupt culture. And they do not have true joy and Christ inside of them. But then I'll look to my Catholic friends who have come to swing dance and two-step with me. Their glowing faces, their joy, their overall FUN is beautiful! Freedom brings us joy; license makes us miserable. But I am an imperfect woman; the saints say it so much better than me--I'm going to turn to my good ol' friend St. John Bosco to close this one off:
"Enjoy yourself as much as you like – if only you keep from sin."