The Gospel of John 6:29:
Jesus answered,“The work of God is this; to believe in the one he has sent.”
The Gospel of John 6:38-40:
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
The Gospel of John 14:6-7:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Matthew 7:13-14, John 10:9:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
The last reflection ended with these words: “To succeed, I must have some idea about how to discern God’s Will in specific circumstances.”
When reading Heliotropium and other works on the Will of God, it is both fascinating and annoying to see how much time is devoted to the subject of “adversity.” At times, these books seem unable to help themselves. Every subject seems to find its way back to emphasizing that all difficulty happens in accord with the Will of God. I could find it easy to believe that hardship is the only place where the Will of God is revealed.
In the last few years, I have experienced my share of adversity. I have lost a son and a sister much too young, along with a mother-in-law whose Love was a consistent presence in my life. God saw fit to send laryngeal cancer to me, using the stress of an overactive and unfocused life to manifest it. Mercifully, He also made sure the cancer was completely treatable. He garnered my attention, calling me to focus on His Will and to organize my life accordingly. With the help of the Spirit, my wife, my family, and an outstanding group of friends, old and new, I have maintained my commitment to my faith through everything. I think it is even clear that my faith life has prospered through the hardship. I hope that God is happy with how I have responded to the challenges He sent me.
That said, if I thought adversity was all there is to God’s Will, I think I would have a hard time committing long term to His plan. I would have trouble wholeheartedly embracing a life philosophy where endurance in adversity was the most significant quality required for a holy life. I feel summoned to engage in acts of charity. Kindness and Love toward others must be part of how I respond to the many blessings in my life. If I am to help increase the amount of Love in Creation, then persevering through tribulation cannot be my only task.
At the same time, however, I recall the gospel quote from the last reflection where Jesus dismissed those who boasted of doing miracles in His name because those miracles were not founded in the Will of God but in their own desire for glory or worldly greatness. To follow His Will properly, I need to understand how to discern His Will in the specific choices I make in my life. I need some way to be confident that it is His Will I am following, and not my own desire for worldly praise or recognition that is motivating my decisions.
Right now, I have this set of definite, positive opportunities in front of me:
- I am a husband and a father. I am a son to an eighty-one-year-old father who no longer drives and is shut-in due to Covid. I am an uncle to three children who find themselves in difficult circumstances because my sister passed away from cancer at age forty-three. I am a brother-in-law to their father.
- I am the cofounder with my wife of a not-for-profit (aidansmasterpiece.com) named for my seventeen-year-old son who was lost in a car accident. This organization sponsors a home (google The Catherine Griffin House) for three men who previously lived in transitional housing. This not-for-profit also sponsors a ministry club at the high school my son attended. The only limits on the possibilities for this organization are time and our imagination.
- I am the Regional Formation Director for my Secular Franciscan Fraternity. My vocation to the OFS also calls me to be an active member of the local fraternity, which includes volunteering at Our Lady of the Road (olrsb.org), one of our main apostolates.
- I have a website (ofsongoing.com) where I blog related to religious formation.
- I feel called to more substantial religious writing, thus the attempt at this work.
- I am the lay leader of the evangelization committee at my parish.
- I just met a Sister from Africa who hopes to start a home to treat addiction in our community. She has asked my help in realizing her dream.
- I have already mentioned my friend who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. I hope to travel to see him again to offer my support.
- I am also a cofounder of a not-for-profit (mycrosscommunity.org) geared toward developing affordable housing in the poor neighborhood where my parish is located. This housing is targeted at owners who might not otherwise have access to the wealth building benefits of home ownership.
- For my own spiritual well-being, I am obligated to my prayer routine and Lectio Divina. I should also maintain a reasonable hiking/walking regimen to maintain my physical well-being. If my spiritual and physical life are not healthy, none of the rest is possible.
This list is too long and much of it was active before I retired. Now that I have typed it out, I wonder how I ever managed to eat or sleep when I was still working.
Everything on the list suffers at the expense of each other. I have already let go of the housing not-for-profit. Just as I was considering that move, God brought someone else to the project who could fill my role, which was surely an instance of divine providence. The work is proceeding and after several years of consternation caused by the strings attached to government funding, the first house is currently being framed. I am mainly a cheerleader on that front now.
But there is still more on the list than I can handle. I need to discern the Will of God for the positive prospects in my life. I cannot maintain the entire list and meet each obligation with the attention and the high degree of excellence that the fulfillment of God’s Will requires.
How am I to decide which items to focus on, and which to set aside?
Chapter three of book two of the Heliotropium provides some insight into this question. Fr. Jeremias writes:
Let us say with strong faith, —– “Thy Will, O my God, is my will; Thy Heart is my heart; I am entirely devoted to Thy Will, O my God.”
Let each person diligently cultivate this union of his will with the Divine in everything —– in affairs of business, in duties, in labor of all kinds, in sickness, and in death itself, ever acquiescing most completely to the Divine decree, and having nothing more constantly in his mouth or heart than “Thy Will be done.”
For as all virtues shone forth most brilliantly during the agony of Christ, so especially His fervor in prayer. In the hour of His sorest need He exclaimed, —– “Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from Me; but yet not My Will, but Thine, be done.”
There is not a better, nor a shorter, nor a more perfect form of prayer, nor one more pleasing to God and useful to man, than this: —– “Not my will, but Thine, be done.”
The first step in discerning God’s Will for the positive possibilities in my life is to be truly and consistently desirous of His Will and His Will alone. That sounds trite, pedestrian, or cliché, but it is of paramount importance, and it is not an easy state to achieve. I must not overlook the fundamental need to train my will to be submissive to His until my submissiveness becomes habit. And then, remembering that my eternal encounter with God depends on this habit, I must safeguard it jealously.
This, like I saw in the reflection on gratitude, is not a state I simply will myself to through my own strength or fortitude. If I rely on myself, I will certainly flounder and finally fail. To develop gratitude, I had to dwell within the saving Love of God and let it shape me to the point that gratitude was the only proper response I could make. My desire for His Will should be similarly shaped. I need to return to His saving Love again and again until submission of my Will to His is once more the only plausible choice I can make.
As was discussed in reference to Penance and Metanoia, the conversion of my will to His “implies a change of mind, the complete and unceasing renewal of a man who tends to God with all his being.” A state of mind where I am truly and consistently desirous of His Will is never safely achieved and put behind me. My bad habits have a way of enduring while my good ones have a way of fading. This means this task is subject to my human frailty, so it must be renewed and pursued daily just as Penance must be.
It is easy for the world to become overwhelming even when I desire to do the right thing. When I develop a firm disposition toward good, toward virtue, the enemy, in his craftiness, shifts to more subtle schemes. One of those tactics is to disguise worldliness in ways that make it hard to recognize. He gives me a list like the one above with so much good possibility that I become confused and distracted. If I take it all on, the one thing I can be sure of is that I will be spread so thin that, in my longing to please God on so many fronts, I will fail at everything because nothing gets the attention required to make it prosper.
Some of what is on the list above must be my idea, not His. Some of it is there for my glory, not His. The enemy, in his wickedness, has used my enthusiasm and fervor against me. He has taken my desire for good and corrupted it by overloading it to the extent that failure is the only possible outcome.
I must continuously pray for God’s help in discerning which items are sourced in Him, and which are sourced in my vanity or desire for worldly accolades. The only way to do this is to regularly pray the type of prayers that Fr. Jeremias suggests above. Prayers committing myself to the Will of God and asking His help in discerning that Will must be embedded in my regular routine. When I practice my daily Lectio Divina, such supplications must be present.
On the first page of the first reflection, I spoke about how I thought this entire effort was “given to me by the Lord.” Since becoming a Franciscan, one of the other things the Lord has given me is a string of prayers that is central in my morning prayer routine. I cited one of those earlier, in the reflection on Penance, when I invited you to pray the combined words of Mary from the first two chapters of Luke that I first started praying during my trip.
The Lord also “gave me” another prayer on the trip in conjunction with this need to beseech Him often for assistance related to discerning and following His Will. It is a short prayer, easily repeatable during the day. It begins with a reference to the calling of Isaiah that I cited in the reflection on self-denial, but it winds up repeating the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane just as Fr. Jeremias suggests above.
If you find this prayer compelling, I invite you to make it your own. Use it often, not just once a day, but multiple times. If you are familiar with how the Orthodox practice the Jesus Prayer, you could use this similarly. Recite it often until it becomes embedded in your subconscious and begins to arise of its own accord. Allow it to help you consistently remember that, if you are to fulfill your role in God’s plan for the expansion of Love in Creation, you can only do so if you habitually conform and unify your will with His.
Here I am, Lord. Heart, soul, and mind, completely for you, Lord. What would you have me do? Possess me. Uphold me as I struggle and strive to embrace Your Example in the Garden. Not my will, Lord, but yours be done!
If I succeed in establishing and maintaining the habit of truly and consistently desiring His Will, I now, to repeat an earlier quote from Francis, “have nothing else to do but to follow the Will of the Lord and to please Him.”
Again, “Oh, is that all?”
I am down to the nuts and bolts of the issue. At some point, I must decide between this or that. I have multiple options that might encompass the good work I desperately want to do. But which option do I choose? I could wait until a “a light from heaven flashes around me” and Jesus sends someone like Ananias to instruct me like he did for Paul. But I have already concluded that an unquestionable experience of divine revelation is probably not happening in my immediate future.
Where, then, do I find the Will of God? Spiritual mentors can play a role, but the final decision on which specific task to pursue still finally falls to me.
Early in the second book of Heliotropium, Fr. Jeremias provides the following quote, which he attributes to St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage: (Cyprian was martyred in the year 258 by the local Roman proconsul. His words about constancy in confession, confidence in torture, and patience in death need to be read in reference to the times he lived in. His Wikipedia article is worth reading.)
“The Will of God is what Christ has done and taught. It is humility in conduct, steadfastness in faith, scrupulousness in our words, rectitude in our deeds, mercy in our works, governance in our habits; it is innocence of injuriousness, and patience under it, preserving peace with the brethren, loving God with all our heart, loving Him as our Father, and fearing Him as our God; it is accounting Christ before all things, because He accounted nothing before us, clinging inseparably to His love, being stationed with fortitude at His Cross, and when the battle comes for His name and honor, maintaining in words that constancy which makes confession, in torture that confidence which joins battle, and in death that patience which receives the crown. This it is to endeavor to be co-heir with Christ; this it is to perform the commandment of God, and to fulfill the will of the Father.”
Chapter one of Love’s Reply says this:
“Whoever wishes to do penance; to achieve true Metanoia, is bidden by the Lord to renounce all self-love, all self-will, all self-seeking, and walk his way, the way of him whose whole will and desire was naught else than to do the will of the Father.”
The Franciscan accordingly must immerse himself ever more deeply in all that God has bestowed on mankind and live in keeping with such graces.
Article four of the OFS Rule is the first article in chapter two, which is headed by the phrase “The Way of Life.” It sets the tone for the next fifteen articles, which prescribe the demands of the life of a Secular Franciscan in detail. I have quoted it already, but it fits nicely here again.
The rule and life of the Secular Franciscans is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people.
Christ, the gift of the Father’s love, is the way to him, the truth into which the Holy Spirit leads us, and the life which he has come to give abundantly.
Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the gospel, going from gospel to life and life to the gospel.
Now comes the great reveal of the six point plan I can follow that will unerringly lead me to knowledge of the Will of God!
I wish. I wish I could tell you that I had a neat and concise formula for discerning the Will of God in specific applications. I wish I knew a precise mechanism for taking a concrete circumstance and evaluating it within a set of proscribed guidelines that guarantee an outcome consistent with the Will of God.
Unfortunately, God does not work like that. I know of no such directives. They were not put forth in Heliotropium or any other work I read. I argued at the opening of the second reflection that “one mystery of the Word is that it speaks to the needs of each of us eloquently despite the differences in our circumstances.” That mystery extends to this discussion on identifying the Will of God. Because our circumstances vary widely there is no one path of discernment. I must find the way that works for me within the individuality of my Creation.
The best I can tell you is what I find in the gospel passages cited at the opening of this reflection and the quotes above:
- From John 14, Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through” Him.
- From John 6, “The work of God is this; to believe in the one he has sent. My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life.”
- From John 10, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.”
- From Cyprian, “the Will of God is what Christ has done and taught.”
- From Love’s Reply, I “must walk His way, the way of him whose whole will and desire was naught else than to do the will of the Father, immersing myself ever more deeply in all that God has bestowed on mankind and live in keeping with such graces.”
- From the OFS Rule, I must “observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, making Him the inspiration and center of my life,” accepting that Christ “is the way to Him, the truth into which the Holy Spirit leads me, and the life which He has come to give so abundantly.”
The sum of these quotes and hundreds more that could be added is this:
The Will of God is contained in the life of Christ!
I may not have specific answers, but I know where to start. If I am to find the Will of God, I first need to know and love Christ better. I need to expand my relationship with Him. I can start by using Lectio Divina to pray the gospels and other Scriptures with the specific intent of increasing my intimacy with Jesus. Nothing could be more important than to set aside time each day to draw closer to God as I seek to return His Love and discern His Will.
I will immerse myself in the gospels every day, “going from gospel to life and life to the gospel,” not so much seeking answers, but simply seeking to know Jesus better, and through Him, my Father. I will pray to the Holy Spirit for help because I do not possess the strength, discipline, will, or wherewithal to investigate and Love God adequately on my own. It is the work of a lifetime to identify His Will for my individual situation. I will never finish the task, and I will fail often in my human frailty, but I must stay diligent in the search.
I know one thing for sure: His Will includes His desire that I, “with all my heart, and all my soul, and all my mind,” seek to know and Love Him. If I pursue this, then I can expect He will reveal the balance of His Will to me in His good time.
Fr. Jeremias resolves the dilemma of choosing like this:
No one discovers the Divine Will with greater certainty than he who sincerely desires to conform himself to it in all things. This desire is, in truth, the thread for unravelling the mazes of all labyrinths. All uncertainty about the Divine Will is removed, if, when one is ignorant as to what God wills, or which of two lawful things He would rather have done, he is yet so disposed in mind as to say, with perfect sincerity of intention —— “If I knew, O Lord, what thou willed to be done by me in this matter, I would immediately do it.”
After this protestation has been made, let him unhesitatingly do what he will, and cease to disturb himself, for he will not easily offend against the Divine Will. Such a son as this the All-loving Father will not desert, nor will He suffer him to wander far from His will.
Before I started working on this reflection, I spent several weeks reviewing and finalizing the previous eight. Enough time has passed that yesterday was the first Sunday in Lent. The gospel for this weekend came from the beginning of the fourth chapter of Luke. Jesus is tested in the wilderness by the enemy. The third test went like this:
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
Jesus answered, “It is said: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
Jesus’ quote came from chapter six of the Book of Deuteronomy. Here it is in context:
Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight,…………………..
This passage directly links “not putting God to the test” to “serving Him only.” I am not to follow the will of other Gods, and this does not reference only the deities from the time of Moses, but also the competing deities of my time. I am not to make myself my own god, or follow others who have done so, and I am not to allow worldliness or the considerations of the current culture to become a god whose will I follow slavishly.
The time that has passed has also brought me to the last couple chapters of the gospel of Mark. In chapter fifteen, amid Jesus’ crucifixion, we hear this from the religious leaders of Israel.
In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.”
The book of Deuteronomy is part of the Torah (teachings), the five books in the Old Testament traditionally attributed to Moses that form the core of the Jewish religion. The chief priests and teachers of the law would have been intimately familiar with it, able to quote it just as readily as Jesus.
It is striking, then, to hear them speaking in the gospel in direct conflict to this prohibition on testing God. Jesus, in his response to the propositions of the enemy, followed the law put forth in the Torah precisely. These religious leaders, on the other hand, seem to believe they have the power to put the Messiah to the test. They acknowledge the signs that Jesus did (“He saved others”) but they do not accept what they reveal. The Messiah must prove Himself to them and not vice versa. They reveal themselves as their own gods with this stance.
The motivation for their arrogance is revealed in verses nine and ten of the same chapter of Mark; “’Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?’ asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him.” When a lack of Spiritual Poverty manifests itself in negative emotions like envy, putting God to the test happens without a second thought. The critical habit of desiring to know God’s Will is jettisoned in favor of the immediate, worldly calculations needed to preserve earthly status and power. Following God’s Will becomes an impossibility.
A couple verses later, Pilate’s own motivations are revealed. “Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged and handed him over to be crucified.” Pilate knew the situation. He knew crucifying Jesus was wrong. But he chose to “satisfy the crowd,” to appease the religious leadership instead of displaying the courage it would take to change the course of events. In the end, this was also a worldly calculation for him. A tempestuous reply by the Jews to a show of courage on his part would have severely jeopardized His worldly power within the Roman hierarchy.
In all of this, we see the consequences of not being focused on God in an attitude of gratitude, Penance, Metanoia, self-denial, and Spiritual Poverty. Without that foundation, I am incapable of submitting my will to His, and incapable of recognizing His Will even when He is directly present as Jesus was to the Pharisees and Pilate. Where worldliness prevails, those who have embraced it are blinded, and the Will of God as revealed by the life of Christ is therefore unattainable.
The outcome is predictably sinful and tragic, not just for those (like Jesus) oppressed by worldly power, but even more so for the eternal prospects of those doing the oppressing.
Scriptures contains these negative examples to warn us. But it also contains the positive. In some instances, we even find Jesus giving very specific indications of His Will. In chapter sixteen, Mark closes with this (verses 15-19):
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
When the apostles receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they immediately begin to “preach the gospel” in obedience to this instruction from Jesus. Peter addresses the crowd summoned by the violent wind that accompanied the bestowing of the Spirit; “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this; God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” When the crowd, “cut to the heart,” asks what they should do, Peter replies (Acts 2:38-41):
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Jesus began his public ministry on earth with this call: “Repent and believe the good news.” Peter, fully aware through the Holy Spirit that God has taken the adversity of the Crucifix and turned it to the greatest possible good, also starts his public ministry with a call to Penance. His conversion, fed by Penance brought about by the bitterness of his denial of Christ during the Passion (now also turned to good), is complete and he has come fully into his own. His next act in Scripture is to heal a crippled beggar, a sign that Jesus uses to “confirm His Word” just as He promised at the end of Mark.
Acts 2:42-45 states this:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
Peter’s speech on Pentecost is just the beginning. The apostles succeed in doing the exact opposite of the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and Pilate. The apostles obediently embrace the Will of Jesus as expressed through the gospels, and the “many wonders and signs” they perform overcome the tragic consequences brought about by their adversaries.
The Church comes into being. The Will of the Father is achieved through the Son and the Holy Spirit in such mysterious and glorious ways that my feeble human imagination and intellect can never comprehend the full significance of what God has wrought.
In his first words, Peter promises the gift of the Holy Spirit to me in my baptism. His promise, made in the Spirit, holds true and comes to fruition. The same gift that he received on Pentecost is also bestowed on me. I can call on the Spirit and, if I have enough faith, belief, joy, and hope, He will answer.
The task of “preaching the gospel to all creation” is also my task.
Unfortunately, I cannot perform the same signs and miracles as the apostles. My “corrupt generation” does not embrace the Spirit of Love that allowed the apostles to create the first community of believers and I cannot escape its influence. The words above do not describe my culture and my outlook is infected by the worldliness that surrounds me. I am unable to deny and empty myself sufficiently that Jesus might fill me and perform miracles through me.
The overarching Will of Jesus as expressed by the instruction “preach the gospel to all creation” becomes another example of a very simple statement that is too profound for me to implement. Again, I say, “Oh, is that all?” And I have no idea how to proceed.
Or, I should say, I used to have no idea how to proceed, because the seed planted by the Holy Spirit on my journey has now revealed its fruit. Gratitude, Penance, Metanoia, self-denial, and Spiritual Poverty are the tools which I must deploy to fulfill this command from Jesus. There are many ways to be a “witness” for Jesus (Acts 1:8). I need to use these tools to find my individual way according to the mystery and Love of my Creation. If I am unsure what to do, I can return to these ideas, but they will only aid me if my habit of desire to do the Will of God is secure and I am fully engaged in an intimate relationship with Jesus via Scripture, spiritual reading, prayer, and contemplation.
If I meet these conditions, then I can choose with confidence between all the positive opportunities in front of me and trust that God, to quote Fr. Jeremias from above, will not “suffer me to wander far from His will.”
I said in the opening reflection that I did not experience some deep and profound encounter with God on my trip. Instead, I was making unspectacular, slow, steady, and methodical progress. I will likely never be so fortunate as to have the experience of Paul. Instead, like Peter, it is my fate to learn the Will of God over extended periods of time in what might often feel like painstaking fashion. Fortunately, I now understand that anything “painstaking” can be attributed to the Will of God. I know to respond to such burdens with faith, belief, joy, and hope. He is in control of the outcome, and He will turn all to good if I just have the patience and wisdom to embrace the minor hardship of this slow progress.
He has chosen this for me, so it is certainly in my best interest. He is in control, He is all-Good and all-Knowing, He Loves me, He wants relationship with me, and He wants me to wind up in eternal encounter with Him in Heaven.
In the last two sentences of that opening reflection, I said this: “All I can do is align myself with God so that His Word and Will might be done to me and be fully fulfilled through me. Understanding how to do this, then, is the goal of what follows.”
In the end, it is the entire work described here that will lead me to the Will of God. The work of Penance and Metanoia will especially help me understand His will more and more as time goes by. Turning to Him unceasingly, with all my being, is best accomplished by the work of immersing myself in the gospels and Scripture as I seek a relationship with Jesus that will reveal God’s Will to me. But gratitude, self-denial, and Spiritual Poverty all have roles to play. They are all connected, and each needs the other for worldliness to be abandoned and a full discovery of His Will to be forthcoming.
Encompassing it all is the Love He employed when He first Created me, and that he deploys again and again as He continuously makes His only Son present to me in the hope that I will believe in Him and be redeemed and saved.
“The brilliance of God’s design in the arena of Love cannot be understated. It is inevitably underappreciated.” The same can be said about His Will. The brilliance of how He deploys and makes known His Will cannot be understated. It is inevitably not only underappreciated, but also misunderstood. The misunderstanding happens when I seek to become my own god and no longer see my freedom as His gift, but as my own possession to do with as I will.
Instead, I must turn to God and Love Him completely, unconditionally, and unreservedly. I must be united to the perfect gospel example of Jesus. I must request the help of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, as I seek to draw ever closer to Jesus in my pursuit of the Will of God.
The way to know if I am succeeding is to test the outcome of my actions against my primary duty in God’s plan. Am I helping to increase the overall amount of Love present in Creation?
If so, and if I can maintain my fidelity to that duty, then I can have hope of achieving the eternal encounter with God that is principal goal of my journey.
Proceed to Chapter Ten: Conclusion
Back to Chapter Eight A: The Will of God and Political Freedom
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