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Monday, 20 October 2014

When We Let God Be God

Things do not happen as we plan when we honestly let God into our lives. One of the steps of humility in St. Benedict, on which St. Bernard comments is the leaving of self-determination.

Now, in the West, especially in America, self-determination is seen as a number one virtue.

Relying on Divine Providence cannot be understood by most Westerners.

But, rely on God we must.

God puts us, if we really want to be saints, in situations which are painfully uncomfortable.

Even areas where we thought God might be leading us could be misconstrued, because we have not put on the Mind of Christ.

When we can honestly say, "If God wants me to do this or be with this person or have this, OK, if not, OK" then we have achieved death of self.  Over the past eleven days, several things have happened against my desires and my will. These things are out of my control, but I have had to sit down, pray, reflect, and die to self, to my own visions of things, even to needs.

God is in charge of every detail of our lives, even our needs, not merely our wants.

For me to be publicly humiliated in the past eleven days has been a real dying to self. The middle-class continues to judge the poor and needy, assuming fault when there is none. This is part of my humiliation and for those who have experienced this, one knows how this feels.

Job's friends found themselves corrected by God as they continued to blame some secret failing on Job's horrific suffering. Job's wife basically did not support his ''faith journey" as she told him to curse God and die.  She lost her faith, but Job did not. He endured until God revealed Who He Is.

God used Job to show us that God is in charge of everything, pain and sorrow, hunger and thirst, plenty and prosperity. But, more than that, God used Job to show how we must endure in the face of complete failure and utter ruin.

Too often we decide every detail of our lives to the point of ignoring those hints from God as to His ways, His plans.

No one can accuse me of not knowing first-hand the sufferings of death of self. What I do with these lessons depends on my gratitude and total reliance on God. What I must do is always conform my mind to the Mind of Christ. He does not care whether I am comfortable or not. He cares that I become holy. The purging of the imagination and memory leads to the purification of the will.

God is in charge. But, often, we must endure inexplicable suffering. Endurance and trust in spite of what things are or look like is another step of humility.

Gratitude creates a generous heart and a generous heart can respond to God quickly, easily.

"They kingdom come, thy will be done" we say daily. For some of us, this is a reality, not merely a prayer.