Finding the will of God in our life and then following that will is man’s ultimate test. The test by which we will be judged when we face Christ in judgement. Each of us searches for that will in our own way.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church beautifully explains our search for God’s will.
27 The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:
The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.1
We are often challenged in what we believe is God’s will. The “little one” wants to deceive and misdirect us away from God’s desire for us to be with Him in bliss for all eternity. With each misstep we can find joy as we turn back to Him for forgiveness and love. Even in our missteps, our souls unending search is for God.
What , more do you want, 0 soul! And what else do you search for outside, when within yourself, you possess your riches, delights, satisfactions, fullness, and kingdom -your Beloved whom you desire and seek? Be joyful and gladdened in your interior recollection with Him, for you have Him so close to you. Desire Him there, adore Him there. Do not go in pursuit of Him outside yourself. You will only become distracted and wearied thereby, and you shall not find Him, nor enjoy Him more securely, nor sooner, nor more intimately than by seeking Him within you. – St. John of the Cross
Our souls long to be united with a Him. United with Christ and His great saints, I pray that we all find Him in the recesses of our souls.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, of course, you fail the test. I hope you will discover that we have not failed.
But we pray to God that you may not do evil, not that we may appear to have passed the test, but that you may do what is right, even though we may seem to have failed. (2 Corinthians 13:5-7)
Driving through the small southern town the man can feel the heat of the sun emanating from the windshield of his truck. The mid-day baby blue sky, spotted with gray and white cloud is the color of a robin’s egg. Typical of most summer afternoons, the day promises thunderstorms that will keep the temperature reasonable and the humidity balmy. A beautiful summer day in the Deep South.
His thoughts today progress through life with all its joys and hope. From the inner recesses of his soul he feels great delight overwhelm his entire being which causes the hairs on his arms tingle and stand on end. A call rings out in his heart, “Come see me. You have time.” He knows that time, for him, is rare, but in this case it is true; he has an hour to spare.
Gravel crunching under the wheels of his truck, the man pulls into parking lot of the Church’s adoration chapel. Looking up into the darkening sky and hearing the hushed rumbled of thunder in the distance, he thinks, “It looks like the rain will hold out.”
As he opens the chapel door, a gust of heavy air swirls into the small and overflowing chapel. A single chair remains near the Blessed Sacrament which rests in a simple gold monstrance on the altar. Kneeling before God, he prays, “Lord, I accept whatever you have for me in all things. Help me to know what you want to do.” A simple prayer, he has prayed it almost daily for 18 years. Adding, “Help me know Your will in these times.”
Fumbling through his prayer book he finds a meditation, the Litany of Humility:
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it,
That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
The man rests calmly in his seat as mediation turns into contemplation, contemplation turns into a penetrating sense of Love. The room begins to lighten and warm. The air which flows over his face from the air conditioning unit begins to feel less dense. Giving him the impression he has entered a high mountain cliff with an expansive valley set before him in all its glory.
The world has now disappeared and he is alone with his Savior. Looking onto the monstrance he can see a slowly emanating shimmer of light at the center of the Eucharist. The twinkling light is almost imperceptible, yet it is glowing and beating in rhythm with his heart. The life giving thump inside his chest quickens with excitement and the incandescent light responds in kind.
It has been months without any consolation and he has felt alone and isolated. He knows he was being carried through the last several months, but in his humanity and weakness, he has longed to feel God’s presence in his life. He also knows better that to seek consolation and has walked through the months simply expressing his love for Jesus.
Overcome by emotion he prays, “Lord, I fail You so often. Help me know how to respond.” Immediately it feels as if two large hands have been placed on his shoulders. A radiating warmth spreads through his body slowing the pace of his heartbeat to a steady thump.
In his left ear, he hears one word, “Hope.”
Daring not to look back, in his mind’s eye the man answers, “I try to hope, but I do not know always what to do.”
The shimmering light of the Eucharist continues to beat like a pulsating star in the night sky, steady and infinite. Staring at the light the man is reminded of the wick of a candle as it drifts into the deepening wax on its way to be extinguished.
He thinks to himself, “My soul has so often moved toward nonexistent through my own failings.”
Yet, now the beat of his Father’s heart was filling the air.
The answer reverberated off the walls of the chapel gently and quietly, “Give it to My Son, My angels and all My saints.”
The man questions, “But, I have failed to…”
The wisps of air against his face seem to communicate with him, “All I desire from you is humility. Give it to Him. Greater tests will come and I will prevail.”
The words spoken now moved through the small room as they match the rhythm of the light. Somewhere written on the man’s subconsciousness he knows they are united.
The man knows he must vanquish his own pride in order to follow His Divine will. He must crush this temptation to rely on his own will that resonates through his bones and give everything to his Creator.
The light that has been his focus begins to dim and disappear. He looks around and the chapel is still filled with devotees quietly asking for their own intercessions. His heartbeat calmed, forward through life he must go.
For the LORD’s word is upright;
all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right.
The earth is full of the mercy of the LORD.
By the LORD’s word the heavens were made;
by the breath of his mouth all their host. (Psalms 33:4-6)
Call to action:
1) Resolve to ask God for His guidance throughout the day.
2) Give God glory in your day, no matter the result.
3) Make an act of penance for somebody you know that is struggling with their faith. (Fasting/offering suffering/say a rosary.)
God is good!
JMJ, Pray for us!