Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Because I Love God, I Love His Will Above All Else

Today's post is a summary of last Friday's Morning of Reflection, hosted by the women of Regnum Christi, for all women.  Members of Regnum Christi hold eight core convictions.  The topic, "Because I love God, I love His will above all else" is one of them.  I will do my best to weave the thread through my notes, so that you may reap the benefit of the content. 

Our first speaker was consecrated woman, Almudena F. Blanco.  She shared her personal challenges in responding to the Lord's call to the consecrated life.  She highlighted the need for courage, patience, and the ability to swim in the unknown...

Think of all the things we do to show our spouse that we love them.  Watch football even though we're not interested?  Make what they like to eat even though we don't like it?  The list goes on.

I love God's will because He loves me...

Ask yourself, "How much does God love me?  How does God love me?"  Stay here.  Don't rush.  God loves us in an infinite number of ways.  It takes time to ponder them...

"If you love me, show me..."  How many times do we say this?  But, how can we respond when God challenges us this way?

We can start by keeping the Ten Commandments.  The basics.  By not offending God.
Absence of sin is actually no more than the indispensable condition for the life of grace...It would be a tasteless insult to think that to love someone means only to abstain from offending him.

Live the question, "Is this pleasing to God?"  Choose the greatest good.  God's will is about the daily surrender; not just the big things.  We have to trust those we love.  God included.

God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, the son whom he thought would never come.  Abraham was willing to do it because he trusted his God completely.  He withheld nothing.

We have to be careful to resist the temptation to demand a prompt answer, when we finally muster the courage to ask God what He wants from us.  We might lose our courage or feel faint at the thought of cultivating patience, but me must wait on Him as long as He deems it necessary.  Avoid "Answer me, now!" as much as possible.

In the unknown, we are like swimmers in the open water with no sense of where or how far away the land is.  All we can do is keep afloat.  Try not to drown.  God says, "Trust me."  By keeping afloat, we are building spiritual muscle.  We may think we are ready for a prompt answer, but God knows best.  We often need more time to prepare ourselves to do His work.

God is painting the picture of our lives.  Sometimes, He uses colors that we don't like.  "Not black!  Anything but black!"  And we try to dodge the paintbrush.  But, of course, we lack the perspective of the final work.  We're too close to it.  We need to trust The Artist.

Can we join Pope Clement XI in his prayer to God when he says...

I want whatever you want,
because you want it,
the way you want it,
as long as you want it.

Personal Reflection
1.  What has been my last experience of the love of God in my life?
2.  How am I able to recognize God's will in my life?  How does it manifest concretely?
3.  How can I be more sensitive and open to God's will?
4.  What are the main obstacles to following God's will in my life?

Our second speaker was Fr. Michael Sullivan, L.C..  He shared many stories, some from his life and some from others.  I am not re-telling those stories, but simply providing an overview of the main points those stories made.  The stories themselves are too funny or magnificent to be watered down here.

His points (more or less) were as follows:

God's will is better than you think!

Wisdom is the gift given to those who possess charity, according to St. Thomas Aquinas.  Wisdom is seeing things as God sees them. 

Faith is knowing God, and God's "stuff".
Hope is loving God for my sake.
Charity is doing (loving) God for God's sake.

We reach Charity through Hope.

God does not give you any desire He doesn't want to fill.  When you seek happiness, You seek God's will for you.  St. Thomas More (prior to his execution) said something like, "God's will is always good, no matter how bad it may seem."

Case studies for heroic Hope and Faith:

Ernest Shackleton -attempted to cross the Antarctic continent in 1914 and subsequently struggled for survival with his twenty-eight man crew for almost two years, as detailed in Endurance:  Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing.

Declan Brown - Died from cancer of the spine, wearing the cassock of a novice at age 14, per his request (after obtaining special dispensation).   As his mother sat at his bedside one day, Declan said to her “Mom I’m a priest.” His mother responded “No Declan, you’re not a priest yet.” Declan insisted, “Mom I’m a priest.” She replied again “No Declan, you’re not a priest. You’ve just received the uniform to begin your training for becoming a priest.” Declan explained “Mom, Christ was a priestly victim when he was suffering on the cross. I’m suffering with Christ on the cross now, so I am a priest.” (Excerpt from Thanksgiving in a Whole New Way by Fr. Michael Patrick Moriarty)

Sinners' sufferings are sterile, useless, and vain.  Saints' sufferings are fruitful and eternal.

Something can be hoped for when it is:
1.  Good
2.  Difficult
3.  In the future
4.  Possible

We travel through hope to faith to love.  The opposite of hope is despair.

The height of immaturity is "The world revolves around me."  The height of maturity is empathy.

When we are faced with those whom we find most difficult to love, imagine them as a child in Mary's lap.  Pray for that kind of love.

In Marriage and Holy Orders, if holiness is gained, it is through service to others.

It all boils down to "Be not afraid, because I will be with you."

Personal Reflection:
1.  What has God done in my life?
2.  What have I ever given to God and regretted it?!

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for mornings of reflection.  Thank you for the priests, consecrated women, and all of the lay people of Regnum Christi who sacrifice personally to make them happen.  Thank you for the people whose stories encourage and strengthen us long after they've gone to join You.  Please bless all who made the effort to attend, those who wanted to but couldn't, and those who know nothing of the sort.  Please increase our hope, so that one day, we may pass from loving You for our sake to loving You for Your sake.  Please forgive us for our impatience and all of the other obstacles we place in Your way.  Increase our faith.  Help us to love Your will above all else, because we love You.  Please give us the grace to want whatever you want, because you want it, the way you want it, as long as you want it.  Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, wow, and WOW! I am ever so grateful for you taking the time to write, record, and blog!