During my month at the monastery, I spent some time wrestling with the meaning “will of God.”
Too often I had heard this phrase used by people as an excuse to hurt others; People using this to explain away disasters, cancers; too often I have heard people struggling in their lives trying to accomplish this, thinking that if they did not do this, God would strike them down.
I believe we all want to do the “Will of God” but we have a limited comprehension of what this means. I had a limited comprehension of what it means.
One day, at the monastery, I was meditating in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and this particular Gospel came to mind.
Imagine if you will Joseph, not as an old man, but a young man, in the prime of life. He is about to be married. Imagine the dreams that he had, the goals, the plans, the desires. He was a man after all; he would want to have a family.
Imagine how excited he would have been to be married soon.
And all his dreams, goals, desires….crushed in an instant.
Was this the will of God? No.
What is the will of God? Jesus will say it clearly, unity. Jesus came, died and rose again so that we, all of humanity, would be one, united with each other, and united with God. To be one as God is one.
Our dreams, our goals, our own desires are good; and we are called to unite them to God’s dream, God’s goal, God’s desire for unity. This is the way of Jesus Christ and to be the way of Catholics.
Look what Joseph did once God spoke to him. He altered, he transformed his goals, his dreams. He got the family he dreamed, but in a different way. He had a wife and child; when he opened himself to new ways of thinking and living; when he opened himself to the Will of God.
And in doing so, Joseph becomes THE ideal of fatherhood, of male-ness, of humility, of Christian living.
We have a great lesson to learn from Joseph, do we not!
All of us have dreams, goals, desires as some level. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these….They reflect the inner image of God.
Rather, they reflect the inner image when they are part of the grand plan of unity. When these wishes and goals, are part of us giving of ourselves for the good of others, for our families and friends, and community.
This was exactly the life of Jesus, his reality. All of his dreams, goals, desires were on creating the unity, doing the will of the Father.
When this is our reality, it reflects the “Will of God”.
But, when we use the term “Will of God” to attack others, to demean others, to lower others…there is no God there. That is our egos at work; or as Saint Paul would say, our desires of the flesh.
And the great evil in our world is that ego. It is the selfishness of us that creates chaos and disharmony. It is the selfishness that says MY Dreams are supreme over any other.
No need to recite too much how this is at work in our world; in the idea that I can do whatever I want; own as much as I want; consume as much as I want.
The Catholic-Christian way, the Way of Christ, is always, always directed outward, to others. This is what Love means. This is what creates unity and participates in the will of God.
This is exactly what Joseph did.
And so, we need to examine our dreams, our goals, desires, and transform them into part of a plan for unity.
Taking our own dreams of motherhood, fatherhood and transforming them
Making sure our dreams of the perfect family are realistic, and God centered, and not centered on Kardashians, or Duck Dynasty, or any other “Reality based” ideals
This is shown in husbands and wives giving of themselves to each other and communicating! Not just talking, but Listening as well to each other, and showing children how to do this.
It is all of us doing whatever we can to create unity; through forgiveness, through holding our own tongues and the need to get in the last word; holding back from trying to control everything and everyone around us;
it is through those simple acts of compassion, like not rushing out of the parking lot after church, like letting someone go in line ahead of us in stores, acts of patience, kindness, humility.
It is also taking those dreams of being a parent, and letting them be transformed into the life as priest, as a nun and religious sister, or religious brother. Talk to almost any priest, they will speak of the desire for a family; and how they were given a family in a different way.
And where is this all made present to us?
Right here and now in the Eucharist. God gives to us. The Father gives to us, in the Holy Spirit, his beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
We receive his body and blood, an act of communion, an act of unity; so that we may continue on his way. So that we will be empowered to do the Will of God.
And will we? Will we follow in the footsteps of God, in Christ, in Joseph and Mary, and all the apostle, saints and martyrs who have participated in the Will of God?
And HOW will we each do it uniquely, in our own way..today, tomorrow and for the rest of our lives?
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