Thursday, June 5, 2014

Seeing The Will of God

The Will of God isn’t some great secret.  When speaking about the end times, Jesus said: “Only the Father knows the hour.”  I think this and other words of His may sometimes cause us some confusion.  No, it is true that we cannot know the will of God FOR HIMSELF --- we cannot know what the future holds for Him --- but we can, and indeed are challenged to, know His will FOR US.
We, each and every one of us, were created as totally unique beings, FOR A UNIQUE PURPOSE.  The question each of us must seek to answer is:  Why?  Why am I here?  HE created me; HE had something in mind, some intent, some way He set my talents and life’s course in place, some purpose for me.  That is why HE created me, for some unique purpose.  What is it?  What was His purpose when He created me, with a free will to do anything I want, yet … with a unique mind, unique talents, at unique time in this world, right now, He created me just right so that I could follow a path He set before me, that I could choose to live my life in just the way He intended:  HIS WILL FOR ME.  That is what each of us must seek to discern:  HIS WILL FOR ME.
God’s will for us is not some secret --- “that only the Father knows.”  He would have been a rather poor creator if that were true.  But because we have our own will --- and His graces, a great aid, that is true --- we can discern His will for us.  A car is designed to run on roads, but if it were to run mindless on its own it might try to run on water, and it would be destroyed.  We were not created like cars, things that have a purpose that they can never know.  Created in God’s image, we CAN KNOW our Creator’s purpose; we can know His will for us.
And we can choose to do it. 
(Father), I made known to them Thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which Thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.  (Jn 17:26)
But, you may say to me, I’ve tried.  I’ve prayed to God to know His will for me, and I’ve heard nothing.  I don’t know what to do.
You don’t?  Well, perhaps --- for now --- that is true.  Perhaps at this time you are not yet able to discern His will, uniquely for you.  You don’t know what He would have you do; you can’t see what He created you for.  So, what now?
Now you begin the search for His will.  You first pray, that you might see it, that your mind might become clearer in understanding it when you do see it, so you don’t just pass it by.  This is praying for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, your own Pentecost.  When the Holy Spirit descended upon them, the disciples suddenly saw what they were to do.  Things they had seen and heard before, suddenly made sense.  Their eyes were opened.  But their physical eyes had already been opened; what truly opened was their minds.  Suddenly, they saw through their eyes, yet they understood with the mind of Christ.  This is what is meant when it is said that we need to “put on the mind of Christ.”  It means we must see as if through His eyes.
We’ve all seen television shows where the eye of the camera captures the events:  we see the car chase; we see the building blow up; we see the characters interact in a scene.  We’re watching through the camera’s eye.  But sometimes we’re shown something different.  Suddenly the camera’s eye becomes the eye of one of the characters, perhaps a police officer.  Suddenly, we see just what he is seeing.  As he bends down, so does the camera’s eye.  As he looks at the particular clues, we stare at them also.  And sometimes through the television speakers we hear words of what he is thinking: “I wonder if the ‘perp’ went that way …”  Suddenly, through the marvels of television, we ARE that detective.  We are him; thinking with him, following his logic. We seem to be “putting on his mind.”  This demonstrates what it means to put on the mind of Christ.
But, you might object, the television story is written out; there is a script to follow.  We have no script of our lives.  That is true, but like the detective we have clues, clues which he uses to put on the mind of the perpetrator, while we have clues with which we can put on the mind of Christ.
Now, this is no easy thing.  We may want to do the will of God for us, but our own will gets in the way.  This body has a will of its own.  Even Jesus prayed that He do the will of the Father, to overcome His body’s will.  Not my will, but Thy will be done.  And therein we see a great truth about our unique body and our free will.  Jesus asked to know the Father’s will for Him, and to have strength to overcome His body’s will --- because only HE could choose to act in His body.  We, each one of us, can do something  that even God cannot do:  We can choose, with our bodies, to do His will.  God created us with free will; He cannot and will not make us as robots.  We must freely choose to do His will.
And the clues to finding out His will?  Well, look around you.  For instance, see the words of Jesus which I wrote here yesterday:  It is more blessed to give than receive.”  Or read the words by the saints, like St. Cyril of Alexandria, who comments on the Gospel of John in today’s Readings: 
“We had to give up our own life and be so transformed that we would begin to live an entirely new kind of life that would be pleasing to God.  This was something we could do only by sharing in the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell.  With the Spirit within them it is quite natural for people who had been absorbed by the things of this world to become entirely other-worldly in outlook, and for cowards to become men of great courage.   … Very true, then, was our Savior’s saying that it was to their advantage for him to return to heaven:  his return was the time appointed for the descent of the Holy Spirit.”
Don’t you see what these and other clues are saying, my friend?  He gave up His life on earth, His free will, so that the Spirit could come!
So can we !!!  We can give up our free will, to do His.
See through your eyes with the eyes of Jesus.  What does He see?  When He looks at your job, do you think He sees opportunities for power?  Think of the clues He gave us!  Is that what He’d think, that power was important?  When He looks through your eyes at your car and home and toys, does He see opportunities to spend money to make His life easier, to have more fun, to create things His neighbor will envy --- about Him?  Think with His mind!  What would He think?  Look at the clues:  It is more blessed to give than receive.  The first big clue for us to know His will, to put on His mind, is to overcome OUR will:  to stop seeing things around us as things for our benefit:  for our power, for our lust, for our will.  Instead, we need to think of everything as an opportunity to give and do for others --- as He would.
What is the unique thing He created you for?  That is for you to find out.  Your first clue is to stop acting in ways which focus on yourself and what you want, and think in terms of what He’d want were He in your body right now.  What would be in His mind?  And then focus your will on doing His.
Save us, Savior of the world, for by Your cross and resurrection, You have set us free --- free from thinking that there is only this life and that we must treasure things of this earth.  No, You opened the doors to eternal life, and eternal treasures for us.  You have set us free.--- to choose to go through those doors You have opened. 


  1. Your question is not, "what is my vocation?" Your question is not, "why did God make me?" Your question is, "what is God's will?" Well, of course, God's will is that we "know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this world, and be happy with Him forever in the next."
    That's not the same as, "what is my purpose" or "what is my "mission" which seems to be the question you are really addressing. And it's with that question I take issue. I was raised Catholic, and for most of my life, and never in my parents' life, did this question ever arise. So where did it come from, this seemingly recent concern in Christian circles with "the purpose/mission" of my life?
    In reflection it has occurred to me that the idea that we have some kind of purpose or mission from God that is unique to ourselves might have emerged out of these "life after death" stories we sometimes hear. Often in these stories people tell that they are sent back because they "have something left to do" or have some kind of "mission" from God that they need to complete.
    Now, I am as fascinated by the coming back from the dead stories as anyone else, but something about them has been bothering me for a little while now. That something is that they don't fit what Catholic doctrine teaches about heaven. Many, if not most of these stories relate something more akin to the Elysian Fields "where ocean breezes blow around the island of the blessed, and flowers of gold are blazing, some from splendid trees on land, while water nurtures others. With these wreaths and garlands of flowers they entwine their hands according to the righteous counsels of Rhadamanthys, whom the great father, the husband of Rhea whose throne is above all others, keeps close beside him as his partner. (Pindar, Odes)" than Catholic teaching about heaven (where we will attain the Beatific Vision).
    Prior to these tales from those who have come back to "complete their mission" I don't remember any Catholic teachings or suggestions from the lives of the saints that we are here to fulfill a unique mission given to us by God. I was taught we are to seek our vocation, which is our role in life, and live that in a Catholic manner, but not in the sense of a unique mission we were to accomplish, like starting a religious order, or bearing a certain child, or saving a particular man in a fire.
    I could go on, but I don't want to belabor the point. However, do you recall where Jesus says, in the latter days "..there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect." Matt. 24:24 I have thought that perhaps the tales of those who have been revived from death could indeed be (not necessarily intentionally) false prophets having false visions (maybe even unknown to themselves) to deceive even the elect, if that were possible. So I maintain a healthy skepticism about the stories. And because of that, I do not worry about "my purpose" or "God's will for me." I know God's will for me. It is to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this world, and be happy with Him forever in the next. Pretty simple. And no need to discern a unique mission.
    I don't like to disagree so strongly on someone's blog, because I feel like the blogger is generously sharing their point of view, and I should appreciate their perspective, even if I don't necessarily share it. And I feel if I cannot agree with them on much of what they write, I should stop visiting the blog rather than post dissenting comments (which is not the case with your blog. In general, I enjoy your insights and reflections). So please, know I mean no offense in my disagreement with this posting, but only that I have given this topic much consideration, and these are some of my reflections on it.
    God bless. ~ Fran

    1. Oh, I enjoy your insights very much, Fran. And I too am skeptical of "went and came back" stories, even as I am somewhat skeptical of apparitions, even Medjugorje which changed my life! I think John said it somewhere, that things of God are beyond our words to describe, and so any man's description is open to error or interpretation.

      Re my thoughts on a unique purpose, I won't search for Scriptural or other justification. In general, I see each person as unique; I know God loves us each uniquely, and therefore my logic, if nothing else, says He expects something of me uniquely, in my uniqueness --- for certainly only I control my body and make my decisions, uniquely. I sometimes wrestle, as I've written, with the opposite perspective. He made me to ... serve Him ... and so I am looking for: how? I wrestle with the parable of the talents: He expects me to use them, well. And I ask myself: Am I? And perhaps I am too hard on myself, looking to do so many things for God, when in fact I am not all that an important person. Why do I act as if God has something for me to do each day, when perhaps His plan for me (if He has a unique plan for me) might be just some simple thing, some simple way in which I fit into the canvas of his creation. Perhaps I seek to do more than even He expects of me ----- and that may cause me anxieties: Am I doing enough? Am I doing things right?

      ..... and then I look at the title of this blog. : - )