Fall 1998

Freedom, Grace, and Destiny

Angelo Scola

"Ultimately, then, the free person is the one who is a son, who recognizes God's paternity as a grace."

In a context of Christian philosophy—I want to insist on the adjective "Christian," because we should have to proceed quite differently on an occasion where this qualifier was not expressly applied to philosophy—there are at least two reasons that impel us to reflect on the question of freedom in the light of Romano Guardini's famous work, Freedom, Grace, and Destiny.1 Both of these reasons already play a role in Guardini's understanding of his own project. Yet they have lost none of their urgency, indeed, they have perhaps grown even more urgent, even though the general background against which we frame the issues looks rather different (despite significant strands of continuity) from what it did when Guardini, in other respects a prophetic observer of the trajectory of modern culture, wrote his famous book.

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1. The brilliant thinker and inspired teacher of many generations of young people wrote this text in 1948: Freiheit, Gnade, Schicksal: Drei Kapitel zur Deutung des Daseins (Munich, 1948). For an English translation, see Freedom, Grace, and Destiny: Three Chapters in the Interpretation of Existence (New York: Pantheon, 1961).