Free Will and Donuts

by | Feb 22, 2024 | Family Life, Parenting, Society

What do free will and donuts have to do with each other? My Sunday Mass with my toddler.

Sunday Mass started off a little rougher than usual. We arrived at Mass late, and our toddler was already in a terrible mood. We had told him earlier that if he behaved during Mass, he would get a donut after. As soon as we got into the church, he started crying. He screamed like he only rarely does. He was rubbing his eyes and trying to get out of the pew. After maybe 10 minutes of struggling with him in the back of the church, I decided to take him outside.

Often when I am faced with a new parenting situation, I feel like I learn something new about our Heavenly Father. That morning, I realized how patience and free will work together.

When I took Peter outside, he stayed in my arms while we walked around in the cool air. The church had been hot, and I wondered if he was uncomfortable in there. After a few minutes of walking around, Peter wanted to go to the parish hall where he knew the Donuts were. Because I had brought him outside, I had altered his free will. I had taken him out of the church and opened the door for him to think he was going to get a donut. I allowed him to walk over to the parish hall, even though I wasn’t going to give him his reward. I allowed him to go because I appreciated his perception of his free will.

God does the same for us.

God allows us to explore our lives in the world even though he knows we will not find what we seek. He has given us free will over ourselves. He does not interfere with it. It is what separates him as a heavenly father from a harsh dictator. He guides us with patience, watches us with love, but will not give us our reward until we live our lives for him. I would not give Peter a donut until the end of Mass. God does not give us eternal life in heaven until we have purified our souls.

Peter’s free will alters depending on where I take him. Just so, our free will alters when we make new decisions. Peter would not have the freedom to go looking for a donut if I kept him inside the church. I would not have the freedom to pursue a life of virtue if I allowed myself to live in a state of mortal sin. I do not have the free will to fly, nor does Joshua have the free will to bear future children.

We are called to execute our free will in whatever circumstances we are naturally permitted and reasonably capable. But our free will must be rightly oriented toward God if we hope to receive our reward in heaven.

If you enjoyed this blog, share it with your friends:

Michelle C. Martin

Michelle graduated from Texas Tech University with her husband, Joshua, in May 2021 and married him in June on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She has a degree in Communication Studies and has loved growing in knowledge of healthy and authentic relationships during her time in college and adulthood. Michelle and Joshua currently reside in Lubbock, TX where he works as an architect and she loves life as a stay-at-home wife and mother to their children, Peter and Cecilia.

Popular Posts