“For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Matthew 12:50
My family and I recently made a very difficult decision. It has come with months of prayerful discernment and yes, many, many tears. I have found in my life that the most difficult decisions that I have made and the most painful ones are the ones that I have made correctly according to God’s Holy will. In my tears, I realize that God has spoken to my heart. He has given me the answer to the question,”What would You have me do, Lord?” You see we are not here on this earth to do own will or the will of our family or friends, we are here to follow the Lord’s will without cost. A very good friend of mine and devout Catholic once told me while I was agonizing over a decision I had to make that I was not here to please anyone but God alone. He is a very wise man. If only everyone could always live up to that, we would all be a lot better off.
Christ came to Earth to be born of Mary, to suffer and die and rise again all for love of us. He died willingly on the cross for love of the Father and love of us. He gave his life willingly as a sacrifice; it was not taken from Him by any means. But he suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane first. His was the most painful agony ever or ever to be experienced. He asked the Father three times to take this cup away from Him, but he told the Father, not my will but Yours be done.
Life is hard. It is not supposed to be easy. Following God’s will is often not easy. It can be most painful at times. The early Christian martyrs and even the martyrs of today who die for the Faith did not take the easy way out. They gave their lives to follow God’s will even to the point of spilling their blood for Him. There is no greater love than to give one’s life for one’s friends and for the Truth.
When my family and I say the rosary each night, we offer a specific intention with each decade and the one I like to pray for most often with the third sorrowful mystery: The Crowning of Thorns, is for the strength to always have moral courage no matter what the cost even unto my life Lord. If Jesus Himself could withstand the excruciating pain of His passion and follow the Father’s will even to death on the Cross, then who am I not to continually seek out and listen to the voice of the Lord in my heart?
It is difficult in today’s world to really listen to God if you don’t consciously try to find some quiet time with Him alone. Do you wake up early in the morning and just get right into your day? Or do you pick up your rosary and spend 2o minutes alone with Mary contemplating the face of Christ? Do you hurry about all you have to get done during the day or do you look at the crucifix or a picture of Jesus and thank the Lord for all He has done for you and your family each time you walk by? Do you go to work from morning to night and talk with your co-workers at meetings and spend time with them on your lunch break and not even think of God during the day? What about while you are driving to work, do you listen to the radio and the news or do turn it off and just listen to God and talk to Him who made you? You see there are countless opportunities to pray all the day and night long. But if we do not make the concerted effort to listen for the voice of God in the silence of our hearts and minds then how will we ever know what He wants for our lives?
In all my readings of the lives of the Saints, the one common thread that I have found in all of them is this, they all wanted to seek out, to know and follow the Lord’s will in their lives. This was their goal each day of their lives. This is what we are all called to in this life. We are called to discern and to follow God’s will for us no matter how hard His will might be. Saint Teresa of Avila once said, “For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.” So I ask you if we do not pray how will we know what our friend Jesus wants from us. I have always told my children from the time they were very young that Jesus should always be their best friend. If we can make the time to listen to what our friends on earth want us to do with and for them, than why can’t we make the time to spend time with our God to discern what He wants from us and how He wants us to spend our lives?
Most high, glorious God, bring light to the darkness of my heart. Give me right faith, firm hope, and perfect charity, With wisdom and insight, O Lord, that I might always discern Your holy and true will.
Saint Francis of Assisi, Prayer before the Cross
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.