(NOTE: This transcription has been automatically generated through an AI program. Consequently, this transcript may not match everything you hear in the podcast episode, and it may contain errors such as spelling, grammar, word choice, etc., due to the limitations of current AI technology.)

Hi everyone, So welcome to the season finale, season three of Midnight Carmelite. I just wanted to quickly kind of leave you all with some final thoughts on the two interviews with this season with Dr. Curtis Hancock. The first interviews were on the problem of evil, the second on the nature of happiness and those are really two sides of the same coin. And what I mean by that is: it’s really hinging on human freedom, something that’s constituent of who we are. And then also on friendship, there’s Aristotle classical explains three types.

I think I want to start here with friendship and so I think really friendship is the key to understanding both the problem with you and the nature of happiness and friendship arises from freedom. So, you know, if you’re obviously you need to be free in order to be friends with someone because you have to choose to be friends with them. So again, this speaks back to, you know, kind of a repetitive theme here on the podcast of freedom as constituent nature to the human person. And so with friendship, that’s this communal aspect of things that there’s a you’re a person, right?

So your singular in that sense, I don’t want to say individual because we’re also in relation to things at the same time, we are what we are in relation to ourselves, frankly, so we’re social creatures and we’re our own human persons, so we I can’t transfer ourselves to another, so I can’t give my personhood to you, the listener for example. So then a major start in growing in the spiritual life is understanding friendship, you know, choosing God first and foremost as our best friend and then creatively working with God and cooperation to fulfill his will in your life.

So often, you know, we discuss God’s will and we wish he could just come down and tell us how to live, tell us who to be. But if the origin of the mystery of evil and obviously then the implied problem of evil insofar as you know, questioning God’s existence or goodness arises from the mystery of evil. The problem of evil then our freedom as a constituent part of our nature as human persons plays a role in creating our friendships and other things too, and working with and cooperating with God’s will for us because God has to respect his gift of freedom to us as part of being human persons and then that is a respect of our dignity as such.

So then I would say our friendship with God or not, depending on our choice, helps us be who we are made by God to be so God, our friendship with God, that choice is the defining thing in our life is do you want to be friends with God or not? So then when we say things like quote glory to God unquote what we’re recognizing God as our true completion. We’re recognizing God as our greatest friend in both aspects of being truth and goodness itself proclaiming his worth and that worth causes us to praise him.

So when we see God as our complete happiness and we realize that no, some of finite goods meaning things can equal the infinite. We’re always seeking him and were made for him, there’s this overused quote from Augustine, you know, he said, God made us for himself and our hearts are restless until we rest in him. And I think that’s a crucial thing to understand here is by not choosing God, we’re effectively not choosing to complete ourselves, we’re effectively choosing to say, you know what I don’t want to be, who I ought to be.

I’m going to be something else which freedom allows you to do. And again, freedom isn’t license. Its oughtness, meaning that person who chooses otherwise is no longer in the state of freedom. I would argue they’ve enslaved themselves frankly to themselves. You know, and I have just done one level and other things on different levels of that, just based on that decision. You know, we need to keep this in mind this understanding of freedom and friendship and how they go together. And so then, listeners will say, well, what does this have to do with Carmelite spirituality and the spiritual life?

Well, it’s simple is that if God is the defining friendship in your life and you have the freedom to pursue that friendship or not, you need to spend time in prayer full stop. What’s important to remember about prayer is that mental prayer could be a habitual remembrance of God, so you may be doing things during the day and you’re just God’s coming to mind and you’re thanking him for the blessings in your life, you know, maybe bringing to mind offering up a suffering, mental prayer is a big subject, so I don’t have time to go into that right now, but the point is is that’s choosing, that’s freely choosing to be God’s friend, it’s freely choosing to invite him in, its freely choosing to say, hey, I love you, X, y and Z petition, thanksgiving, just a statement, whatever, that’s the key here to me, is this freedom and friendship relationship is very important and, as you grow, just like in any friendship, you could be sitting there with the best friend of a long time and not really say anything, maybe just enjoying a view on an evening or, talking about simple things that don’t really matter to either of you, but it’s more the sharing of your life with that other person, you know, it’s not, it’s not really about the thing, it’s about the friendship that I think is as you get into the higher levels of prayer analogously is kind of what’s going on.

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