Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Embracing God's Will With Joy... And Even a Few Laughs!

Donkeys have no sense of humor, especially wooden donkeys. But
human beings do. And I need a pic so I can post this to Pinterest. :)
"I want to do the will of God."

Really? Perhaps that's true, or has begun to be true, after 52 years of life.

It's about time. The hairs... they are getting even more gray, no?

Even so, "wanting to do God's will" remains an intention that I still don't manage to sustain, or even remember, through much of the day.

I know that "doing God's will" is not an abdication of my humanity, but -- on the contrary -- it is the path to the realization of my true self, created in the image of Infinite Love and unable to be free and happy with anything less. The "will of God" -- His wisdom, goodness, and love for me -- is what awakens my freedom, draws me, encourages me, whispers within my heart that fulfillment in this Love is possible.

Indeed, it is a promise.

I think, however, that in order to "do" God's will, I have to "want" more. I must ask for the grace to embrace His will -- to let Him embrace me with the grace that shows the beauty of His love while also raising me up to His measure, which is beyond all things, incomprehensible, and that opens up a path so often unfamiliar and "strange" in its ways.

Your ways are not my ways, O Lord.

At the same time, "Your ways" are the only ways in which my heart hears the echo of the promise, and finally comes to rest forever in the Love for which it cries out in every moment.

The Mystery is revealed and comes to dwell with us, not to cease being Mystery, but to accompany us, to be our companion, to dwell in the very stuff of our lives and give Himself through it.

So, what does it mean to "embrace the will of God?"

It means -- by God's grace -- to rejoice, to have gratitude, to affirm the reality of this moment... fully, with complete trust, without running away. It means to embrace my circumstances with their joys and possibilities and disappointments and frustrations and sufferings in the conviction that these circumstances have been shaped by the mystery of God's love, that He is with me in and through it all, that He is giving Himself to me and opening me up to be able to receive Him more.

I don't think I do that very often. I don't know that I ever do it. But I can't do it by my own power. He has come into the world to give me the transfiguration of humanity and the energy of love that makes this possible. He has united Himself with my life because He wants to heal me and raise me up to share in His life, to give me the gift that enables me to receive Him, the One who is Gift.

So I must take this heart of mine that cries out for Him, that longs for Him and begs for Him, that is already a total need for Him, and I must ask Him to enable me to embrace His will, to love the One who loves me and even to love the ways He loves me. This does not mean to understand His ways, or master them, or even to "feel good" about them. It is to love them; for it is love that "recognizes" and embraces and draws the whole of us beyond ourselves.

We are called to this embrace of God's will, of God's ineffable wisdom and infinite love present in our concrete lives. This embrace is the only thing that can bear up the weight of life. It is not enough to drag life with sadness and fear, for that turns everything into slavery and leads only to disgruntled conformity or desperate revolt.

In the embrace we will find the joy, the "lightness" of the burden -- our hearts and minds will glimpse it, if nothing else, though the miracle of humor. We will learn to laugh, at least a little bit, but even this is a triumph: those little bits of laughter are the buds of wonder. We may not even be aware of them, because humor is small and tender and moves through us swiftly so as to give itself away. We may not notice our own laughter, but it will be a song that will lighten the burdens of others.

The necessity and difficulty of this embrace of God's will -- God's way of loving us -- struggles against the discouragement that turns away from it and the fear and violence that attempt to avoid it or escape from it.

This constitutes the true and profound work of our lives, and it is the real existential drama that underlies the world we live in today.

2 comments:

Amanda Rose said...

Excellent article! I especially like your definition of "embracing the will of God" as, "It means -- by God's grace -- to rejoice, to have gratitude, to affirm the reality of this moment... fully, with complete trust, without running away. It means to embrace my circumstances with their joys and possibilities and disappointments and frustrations and sufferings in the conviction that these circumstances have been shaped by the mystery of God's love, that He is with me in and through it all, that He is giving Himself to me and opening me up to be able to receive Him more." Because you seem to make it clear that it is not so much our emotions which have to follow along, or even start us out, in embracing God's will, but little choices that we make in each moment - moments of gratitude in the midst of despair, choosing to hope when it looks its darkest all around, believing that God can bring good out of the worst circumstances. It gives me hope that if even just sometimes I can do these things, then there is some hope of me embracing the will of God, or at least beginning to want to. Thank you for that ray of hope!

John Janaro said...

Thank you, Amanda Rose. Our path of hope is made of many small steps. May we always encourage one another. God bless and keep you!