Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Discerning God's Will in Everyday Life and Everyday Decisions

Discerning the Will of God in Everyday Life:  In today’s first reading, Malachi 3: 1-4, 23-24, the Lord God says to us: Lo, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and terrible day, to turn the hearts of the fathers[mothers]  to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers/[mothers].”

We know, from that passage, that the will of the Lord is that we live, work, play and pray with each other in ways that lead to union with one another and away from divisive behaviors and attitudes. If the choices I make on a daily basis create animosity, hostility and divisiveness, I then know, for the most part,  that my choices are not in tune with the will of God. Looking at Jesus, we know that His choices led to freeing people from that which caused a gap between themselves and others, between themselves and His and their Father God. He was an instrument of God the Father in bringing about harmony in the world. Sometimes, for Jesus,  harmony was preceded by suffering and death, His death on the cross, in fact. From sacrificing and the giving of His all, we are saved from eternal destruction. Every day, doing God’s will, may require that you and I sacrifice our convenience, our  wills, to the will of another in love, respect, understanding and forgiveness.  When those virtues are being practiced, we then know that our choices are in tune with God’s will. And many times, a dying to selfishness, pride, and dishonesty (especially with self) is required!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Discerning God's Will

Discerning God’s Will: Today’s Liturgy,  1 Samuel 1: 24-28, and the Gospel, Luke 1: 46-56, hail two great women whose motivating force was to give God their all!  Selfishness, self-aggrandizement, self-centeredness were transformed by grace into God-centered motivations. If we are determined to allow God to bring our wills into harmony with God’s will, we, too, need to give God our weaknesses. God alone is able to make us into women and men who long for God’s will to be accomplished in us.  God prepared Mary to become God’s Temple, totally one with God,  by her Immaculate Conception (the graces won on Calvary given to her at the moment her parents conceived her).  You and I have those graces through our Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, the Anointing of the Sick and all other ways in which God cleanses us of our sinfulness. Through God’s mercy we are made capable of being one with the Lord in our choices.

Discerning the will of our God is also grace! Let us ask for that grace in the same way as Hannah in 1 Samuel  1: 24-28 and Mary in the Annunciation, Luke 1: 38,  said: “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your Word” and truly mean it!

Friday, December 18, 2015

What we Learn from St. Joseph

Discerning the Spirit’s Voice: Hearing what God is asking of us is no easy task.  In today’s Gospel, Mt. 1: 18-25, Joseph is wrestling with what to do about his betrothal to Mary, who is pregnant and the child Is not his.  We know that he trying to figure out how not to expose Mary to share and whether he should divorce her quietly. He does not consider keeping her as his wife when, in his sleep an angel of the Lord appears to him and tells him not to be afraid and, yes, retain her as his wife.  His discernment included the agony that sometimes involved  decision-making. It involved looking at several options and “sleeping” on his decision.  Joseph was not the only one concerned about the appropriate decision. So, too, was the Lord. God has a stake in whatever decision we make and sometimes we need to be totally at rest for God to make His will known. Yes, we need to let go of making any decision and relying upon God—his going to sleep on it may indicate that kind of surrender.