Thy Will Be Done
A few months ago we considered our duty to thank God for all He sends. We need to consider His holy will. First of all how should we measure success? The world measures success by the size of our bank account, our big house, new car, etc. Some measure success by the number of our friends or even public opinion of us. And yet, Jesus said:
“And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
So in God's eyes there must be another way to measure success. And let us remember that the only one Whose opinion truly counts is Almighty God. God's measure of success for us is our conformity with His holy will.
Saint Teresa of Avila said: “Those who give themselves to prayer should concentrate solely on this: the conformity of their wills with the divine will. They should be convinced that this constitutes their highest perfection. The more fully they practice this, the greater gifts they will receive from God, and the greater progress they will make in the interior life.”
And so, if we want to be a success in prayer, then we need to conform ourselves completely to the Will of God. And we need to succeed in prayer, because failure here leads to eternal misery. Just as oxygen is necessary to life, prayer is necessary to our spiritual life. Three minutes without oxygen and our soul leaves the body in death. Scripture reminds us to pray without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:17)
Saint Vincent de Paul said: “Conformity to the divine will a sovereign remedy for all evils.” Yes, God has all things in His Providence. The only true evil in the world is sin. We call many things evil, because they go against our desires. However, God sends them for our good just as a good doctor prescribes medicine that tastes bad, but is necessary for our health. The Will of God is the medicine for our spiritual health, that comes from the Divine Physician.
How do we recognize God's will?
First of all God expresses His will to us through His Commandments, especially the Ten Commandments. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) God also speaks to us through the Laws He has inspired His holy Church to make for our own salvation and sanctification. Seven of these are known to us through the Catechism as the Commandments of the Church.
Secondly, He speaks to us through spiritual reading, which is why daily spiritual reading is essential to salvation.
Thirdly, God speaks to us through meditation. Meditation is nothing more than taking divine truth to heart by pondering it. “Thinking these things with myself, and pondering them in my heart, that to be allied to wisdom is immortality, And that there is great delight in her friendship, and inexhaustible riches in the works of her hands, and in the exercise of conference with her, wisdom, and glory in the communication of her words: I went about seeking, that I might take her to myself.” (Wisdom 8:17-18) “But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
Fourthly, God also speaks to us through the superiors He has placed over us, whether spiritual or secular. Such include the Pope, the diocesan Bishop in union with the Pope and the Pastor appointed by the diocesan Bishop over our parish. In the secular area, this includes all lawful authorities. Finally, in the family, the father and husband is head of the household with authority over his wife and children. All authority should be exercised prudently, but obedience must be in all things except those, which are certainly sinful. “Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation.” (Romans 13:1-2) “By me kings reign, and lawgivers decree just things, By me princes rule, and the mighty decree justice.” (Proverbs 8:15-16)
Father Michael Muller in Prayer the Key to Salvation (page 11) says: “Just as Christ, the Redeemer, appointed the Apostles, and especially Peter, to succeed Him in His office of teaching the will of God. Where Peter and the other Apostles are found in their lawful successors, there only is the true and entire will of God taught; and those only who embrace and follow it faithfully, have well-founded hopes of salvation. They who follow any other rule in acquiring salvation deceive themselves. Instead of God's will, they do their own, or they follow the suggestions of the devil, or those of evil-minded, perverse teachers, who substitute their own will and opinions for the will of God; they imitate Adam and Eve, who believed the devil's suggestions rather than the infallible word of God.”
And finally God speaks by the circumstances of our lives. God sends many things into our lives for good or for us to do good to others. In fact, one of the Fathers of the Church defines the good life as everyone we come in contact is better off for having had us in their life.
Father Michael Muller wrote a book, Prayer the Key to Salvation. Divine Providence place this in Our hands three years ago. In Our meditations We believed We needed to find something new on prayer to meditate upon. We had looked around at Our various resources all to no avail. We were returning from the grocery store and happened to take a different route and the Rescue Mission Warehouse Sale had signs out. We decided to stop a moment and take a look. For the first time they had books. We found many good books there and realized We should head home as We had things that needed to be refrigerated. In fact, there were so many We returned the next day for another load. In any case, Divine Providence had this book among the lot and We began to read. On pages 6-7 We read:
“It was for obedience to the will of God that Abel obtained from the Lord the testimony that he was just; that Henoch was translated by God, in order that he should not see death. On account of his obedience to the will of God, Noah and his family were saved from the flood; Abraham because the father of many nations; Joseph was raised to the highest dignity at the court of the King of Egypt. Moses became the great servant, prophet, and lawgiver of the land, and the great performer of miracles with the people of God. Obedience to the will of God was, for the Jews, at all times, an impregnable rampart against all their enemies; it turned Saul, a persecutor of the Church, into a Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles; it turned the early Christians into martyrs, for martyrdom does not consist in suffering and dying for the Faith; it consists, rather, in the conformity of the martyrs will to the Divine will, which requires such a kind of death and not another.”
Stop a moment and meditate on just how important it is to conform our self to God's will in ALL things. Obedience to His will will make you a Saint; disobedience to His will is deadly to our souls.
“On the contrary, disobedience turned the rebellious angels out of Heaven; it turned our first parents, Adam and Even, our of Paradise; it made Cain a vagabond and a fugitive on earth; it drowned the human race in the waters of the flood; it burned up the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrha. Disobedience to the will of God led the Jews often into captivity; it drowned Pharoah and all his host in the Red Sea; it turned Nabuchodonor into a wild beast, it laid the city of Jeruslame in ashes; it has ruined, and will still ruin, whole nations, empires, and kingdoms; it will finally put an end to the world, when all those who always rebelled against the will of God will, in an instant, be hurled into the everlasting flames of Hell, by these irresistible words of the Almighty: 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels,' there to obey the laws of God's justice forever.”
Consider these things well, then let us continue: “Man, then, when in opposition to God's will, is altogether out of his place. A tool which no longer corresponds to the end for which it was made is cast away; a wheel in a machinery which prevents others from working is taken out and replaced by another; a limb in the body which becomes burdensome and endangers the functions and life of the others, is cut off and thrown away; a servant who no longer does his master's will is discharged; a rebellious citizen, violating the laws of the state, if put into prison; a child, in an unreasonable opposition to his parents is disinherited.”
It would be good to go to Sacred Scripture and reread the various stories above and take them to heart. Whole nations have been published for disobedience to God's will and they will be punished again.
If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy own will in my holy day, and call the sabbath delightful, and the holy of the Lord glorious, and glorify him, while thou dost not thy own ways, and thy own will is not found: to speak a word: Then shalt thou be delighted in the Lord, and I will lift thee up above the high places of the earth, and will feed thee with the inheritance of Jacob thy father. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaias 58:13-14)
Let us close with this thought from Michael Muller: “First. That we cannot be saved unless we fulfill the will of God. Secondly. That we are unable to do God's will unless are assisted by Divine grace. Thirdly. That we obtain this grace by prayer alone; that consequently we must pray in order to be saved.”