The beatitude of heaven sets the standards for discern-
ment in the use of earthly goods in keeping with the
law of God.
God created man a rational being, conferring on him the
dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions.
“God willed that man should be ‘left in the hand of his own
counsel,’ so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and
freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him.”
Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free
will and is master over his acts.
Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or
not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions
on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life.
Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and
goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our
As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its
ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of
between good and evil,
and thus of growing in perfection or of failing
and sinning. This freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is
the basis of praise or blame, merit or reproach.
The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes.
There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and
just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and
leads to “the slavery of sin.”
Freedom makes man
for his acts to the extent
that they are voluntary. Progress in virtue, knowledge of the good,
and ascesis enhance the mastery of the will over its acts.
27 St. Irenaeus,
4, 4, 3: PG 7/1, 983.