we really want?
AND IF SO,
WHY DO WE FEAR?
“Scimus autem quoniam diligentibus Deum
omnia cooperantur in bonum.”
“We know that to them that love God, all things work together
unto good” (Romans, 8.28)
Absolutely nothing happens to
us that God does not either expressly will — or permit
— for our sanctification.
Why, then, do we fear?
In the Pater Noster, the Our Father,
given us by Christ Himself, we find seven petitions, but let us
focus carefully on one in particular —
“Thy will be done on earth [that is to say, in everything
pertaining to our lives] as it is in Heaven.”
— in an effort to answer this very real question:
Our prayer, our deepest desire — which is (or should
be) the fulfillment of our lives in Christ — is contained in this
one single petition — in which every other petition is implicitly
uttered. Let us look at what we are asking of God in this petition:
That God fulfill within
us perfectly His most holy will,
That He make of us
what pleases Him, not us.
That He do with us
what pleases Him, not us.
That He give to us,
as it pleases Him, not us.
That He take from
us what pleases Him, not us.
With Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane,
we ask (too) that He fulfill within us perfectly
His most holy will — not as we
will, but as He wills.
Once we have prayed this — ex toto corde,
completely from the heart — our life is no longer our own. It never
was, but we have made it explicit. And upon praying this, our lives,
together with the world around us, change forever. We have entered
into a compact with God, into the very will of God which is the
act of God; in a word, into Divine complicity.
Everything, then, that subsequently touches
upon us: all that we experience, all that we suffer, all
that we endure — everything: our state in life, our poverty no less
than our wealth, our illness no less than our health, our adversities
no less than our good fortune, our ill-repute for His Name no less
than our honor among men, the cardboard over our head no less than
the stately roof, the shabby clothes no less than the elegant, the
suffering no less than the joy, the ridicule no less than the accolades
— all, all, we offer to Him, accept from Him with
equal gratitude … knowing that they come to us from Him,
that whatever our condition in life, it is His will being
mysteriously fulfilled within us. This … this is the greatest
actus Fidei, or Act of Faith. We do not understand what has
become of us and we can adduce no reason or purpose — yet in holy
simplicity and docility we accept in faith that it is the very best
thing possible for us — even as it apparently contradicts what appears
to be good for us. It is, in a word, total submission to
the will of God in all things; the taking of all things from the
hand of God: the bitter as eagerly as the sweet, realizing that
we know nothing of what is good for us apart from the express will
of God revealed to us in Holy Scripture, and the Teachings of Holy
Mother the Church.
It may never be revealed to us in this life — but
revealed it will be, for die we must and after death, arrive at
understanding. This hopelessly entangled skein of misery, suffering,
and misfortune — only punctuated by fleeting moments of respite,
too brief to attain to any sustainable happiness — this dense reticulation
of calcified knots, grown tighter by the years, unyielding to the
probe of reason — all these utterly involuted complexities will
unfold as so many segments in the history of our lives being drawn
by the finger of God upon the fabric of eternity. We do not understand
any of them until we see the whole which has been configured through
them in the soul’s cooperating with God in the dispensation of all
If, as Saint Paul tells us, we cooperate with God
in all things, it is quite beside the point that we understand them,
and very much to the point that we accept them, play our part in
them, all unknowing but still all cooperating. Our lives are as
so many golden threads amid a myriad of others, and docilely we
allow the hand of God to move this thread where He wills and how
He wills. The moment we resist the hand of God, tension ensues,
and the whole fabric trembles under it. Countless millions, billions,
of other golden threads are affected in places, times, regions,
utterly remote to us and unknown by us.
Geoffrey K. Mondello
for the Boston Catholic Journal
1 “Naked came I
out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord
gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord
so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.”
2 “And going a little
further, he fell upon his face, praying, and saying: My Father,
if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not
as I will, but as thou wilt.V (St. Matthew