55. This is one of the great convictions that the Church has come firmly to hold. It is so clearly expressed in the word of God that there can be no question of it.
And yet, people do still push against it. Modern culture exalts the self-making of a person, but there is a limit in the spiritual life. God offers free and unconditional friendship, and there is a liberty in that:
Like the supreme commandment of love, this truth should affect the way we live, for it flows from the heart of the Gospel and demands that we not only accept it intellectually but also make it a source of contagious joy. Yet we cannot celebrate this free gift of the Lord’s friendship unless we realize that our earthly life and our natural abilities are his gift. We need “to acknowledge jubilantly that our life is essentially a gift, and recognize that our freedom is a grace. This is not easy today, in a world that thinks it can keep something for itself, the fruits of its own creativity or freedom”. [Lucio Gera, Sobre el misterio del pobre, in P. Grelot-L. Gera-A. Dumas, El Pobre, Buenos Aires, 1962, 103]