June 2018-Lord What Will You Have Me Do?
Read the story of the Conversion of Saint Paul in the 9th Chapter of Acts. Let us look at the sixth verse:
And he trembling and astonished, said: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?
How many of us have come before Jesus and asked this simple question? And why haven't we? Many times we don't ask, because we already suspect the answer. We already have a reasonably good idea of the sacrifice, God wants us to make and we are not ready to make this sacrifice. We believe that if we don't ask, then we don't have to actually tell God, “no, I will not do Your will.”
When we suspect God wants something from us, we should come to Him and humbly ask Him for the grace to come before Him and honestly ask: “Lord, what wilt Thou have be to do?” And we should ask God for the grace to do His will willingly and joyfully.
We should not wait for a light from heaven (Acts 9:3) or a burning bush (Exodus 3:1ff). God does not usually work in such a spectacular manner, and certainly we are not worthy of such condescension. No, God makes His holy will clear to us in many ways. We are simply looking for a way to get around it rather than make the simple sacrifice God wants us to make.
Several times a day we pray: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Do we truly mean these words? If we do, then the moment we suspect God wills something, we will come to Him and ask for help and guidance to complete the task God is placing before us. This is the way of the Saints and we are all called to be saints, because only saints go to heaven.
Indeed, only saints go to Purgatory. Sinners go to hell.
Let us consider that the road to heaven goes through Purgatory. If we are wise, we do our Purgatory here, asking God to purge all worldliness from us. Purgatory is for those saints, who have not quite completed the course to heaven.
Our life should be a living Purgatory, that is a life of penance, as Sacred Scripture advises us in many places. Now, many object that this is simply too difficult for us. We simply cannot be asked to make these sacrifices. The worldly reason that sacrifice and joy are not able to coexist. However, the Saints show us that a life of self-sacrifice is a joyful life.
Why is a life of self-sacrifice joyful? Let us consider a life that is lived in contradiction to the will of God. Rather than make the sacrifice and do God's will, we spend our lives trying to avoid His will. We are on the run, just as much as a criminal that is being sought by the law. We are running from God and trying to hide in the bushes. We are constantly watching our back to see if God or one of His angels or His people is on our tail and tracking us.
The Saints, on other hand enjoy true peace of soul, because they aren't running from a thing. Rather they are happily and boldly doing God's will, no matter how hard the work may seem. You simply cannot wipe the smile off of their faces. How many martyrs went smiling to death, while we miserably hide from God and his holy will as did our first parents, Adam and Eve, after they had sinned.
Our problem is that we waste more energy in avoiding God's will that the little sacrifice He asks of us would truly cost us.
Who said: Who art thou, Lord? And he: I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad. (Acts 9:5)
Indeed our life of running from God is a hard life. And look at some of those, who are so self-absorbed that they want everyone to do their own will, including God. They press their unholy will on all around them. If you refuse to obey this little tin god, you will find yourself cast away as so much useless trash. If they truly need you, you will be considered a necessary evil. When they no longer need you, you will realize that when you remove necessary from necessary evil, all you have left is evil, and yes you will be cast away as evil personified. These selfish, self-centered people are indeed quite miserable. If they would give up self and become selfless followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, they would find true happiness. Instead, they choose a life of misery to be followed by an eternity of misery.
Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
The saints have found the secret to happiness, and that is to take on the light burden Jesus gives us, because it is sweet. Saint Therese of Lisieux found this out, when she was looking for her elevator to heaven, when she read the following:
As one whom the mother caresseth, so will I comfort you, and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. (Isaias 66:12)
The elevator to heaven is easy to find. Seek the will of God and then do it.