Discernment: In today’s first reading, Acts 9: 1-20, Saul is on his way to Damascus to arrest men and women who are followers of Jesus. He has, in fact, been authorized by the high priest to bring people back to Jerusalem “in chains.” On the way, Jesus intervenes and confronts him: “Saul, why are you persecuting me”? Saul, startled, no doubt, asks the question: “Who are you, sir?” “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
Sometimes, like in Saul’s life, discernment of what God is asking of us is very clear. However, Saul still had free will—and God would have respected that. Saul could have refused and continued what he believed was the will of God for him, namely, to stop Christians, who in the mind of a devout Jew, was betraying the faith handed down to the Jewish people for centuries.
God can and will, however, intervene strongly in our lives, as He did in Saul’s, clearly directing us “to get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” That might translate as follows: “Fill out that application!” “Go, talk to your wife about what happened last night and apologize for your obnoxious behavior.” “Go apologize to the teacher for interrupting her/him and disrupting class.” “Get up and make that phone call to the Vocation Director or to the Marriage Counselor or to your parish priest and you will be instructed on how to proceed.” “Stop procrastinating.”
Yes, God is in charge. Jesus is our Master in life and in death, including death to our wills when they are not in harmony with His. Do you allow God to direct you? Or, do you resist, not wanting to be told what you must do to get out of a quagmire?