Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.
Jesus ends the Sermon on the Mount with, “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21)
One of the greatest gifts God has given us is free will. This free will distinguishes us from everything else in the visible universe. It enables us to respond freely to the love of God. And that is what responsibility means: the ability to respond freely to the love of God. Free will, then, is our greatest dignity and most awesome responsibility.
Using our free will in making moral decisions is the very substance, the warp and the woof, of our every day life. Our free will decisions are not only expressive of our unique personality; they are also creative of it. Ultimately, they determine the unique person we will become.
God loves me therefore God wants what is best for me. God knows me as only the Creator can know His creature. (Psalm 139) Therefore, God knows what is best for me. And because God knows what is best for me, and wants what is best for me, my greatest good is to be found in the will of God.
So we spend a lot of time trying to discern what the will of God is for me. But often we think of the will of God as some secret, esoteric mystery that we do not know. We waste a lot of time and energy trying to discern this mysterious will of God. And we are disturbed and anxious because we are not doing the will of God. At the same time we are neglecting the things that are clearly and certainly the will of God.
Let us consider some of the things that are clearly and certainly the will of God. First of all, I should love God above all things. This is the First and the Greatest Commandment
Secondly, it is clearly and certainly the will of God that I accept myself. I am a gift of God. “You have not chosen me I have chosen you.” How could I choose when I wasn’t? My parents did not choose me either. They may have chosen to have a child but they did not know who I would be. But God knew exactly who I would be and God chose me. What gross ingratitude to refuse to accept this gift of God; to refuse to accept the acceptance of God; to accept my self. In fact, to accept myself is to accept God.
Thirdly, it is clearly and certainly the will of God that I love myself. God is love. God loved me into existence. I am an act of the love of God therefore I am loveable. I have this intrinsic core goodness that nothing can destroy. I am unique, unrepeatable and indispensable in the Kingdom of God. I give God a love, service and praise that no one else can give. How ridiculous this inferiority complex, this negative self-image, that is so common today. I accept myself, love myself, affirm myself and celebrate myself because in so doing I am accepting, loving, affirming and celebrating God. And this is the will of God for me.
Fourthly, it is clearly and certainly the will of God that I accept, and love others for the same reasons.
Fifthly, it is certainly the will of God that I accept the present moment in all of its concrete circumstances. This present moment is the will of God. Nothing happens in this world that is not either positively willed by God or at least permitted by God. Each moment is a sacrament, the sacrament of the present moment. And it brings grace with it for this moment. And to those who accept it and say, “Yes, Father,” all of these things, the evil as well as the good, work together for good. Many of the nervous breakdowns come from trying to carry yesterday’s load or tomorrow’s possible load on the grace of the present moment. “By living today we make a beautiful dream of the past and a wonderful hope for the future.”
Sixth, it is clearly and certainly the will of God that we seek the truth, inform our conscience with the truth and then follow our honest conscience.
Finally, in regard to those things that are not clear and certain, it is reasonable to expect that if there is something else that God wants me to do He will surely let me know it. He will also give me the opportunity to do it. And He will give me the grace to do it.
time comes I am happy to be me. I accept
and love my self and my neighbor, I live in
the present moment and I follow my honest conscience.
And in so doing, I am doing the will of God and on my
way to the Kingdom of Heaven.
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