I was presented with a gift by a young lady I had the pleasure of meeting last week. We happened to be at the same place at the same time for two completely different reasons, but such is the way of Providence.
She gave me a little book that contains the wisdom of St. Alphonsus Liguori who lived in the 16th century. The book is entitled Uniformity with God’s Will and it’s short and oh so sweet! I think the entire thing could be summed up in these words found within its pages: “…he who gives his will to God, gives him everything.” Now, of course that could also read “she who gives her will,” but the truth is the same for each one of us.
St. Alphonsus makes the point that, if we give God alms or money to the poor, etc., that we’re giving what we have. But if we give God our will, we have given our very selves, every thing that we are. There’s something to contemplate.
The Lord’s Prayer/Our Father
This truth can be seen in the words Jesus provides His apostles who ask Him to teach them how to pray, “…Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” For Jesus, it’s a known fact that God’s perfect will is accomplished unceasingly in Heaven, which is why He presents it in these terms, “…as it is in Heaven.” May we do here on earth as is done in the Kingdom of Heaven. That’s our standard, that’s our fondest desire. Or it should be, if we want to know true happiness.
St. Alphonsus also says that the reason for Uniformity of our will with God’s (as in the title) is because conformity only means that we have joined our will to the will of God. But uniformity means that our will is made one with God’s will, “so that we will only want what God wills.” God’s will alone will be our will. That, the good saint notes, is perfection.
I happened to read today a psalm from the Old Testament that echoes this idea. “I delight to do your will, my God: your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8) God’s law was given to us out of God’s perfect love for us. He only wants what is good for us so why should we not merge our will into His? You’ll know you’ve accomplished this uniformity when you have complete trust in God, whatever your circumstances. It’s a tall order and requires God’s grace.
God stands ready to pour His grace out upon us, to completely envelop us in His grace if we’ll just ask and then allow grace in. But it won’t just be in our hearts; we will be completely submerged in God’s grace if we surrender to His holy will. You won’t be able to walk out of it because it will surround you every second of your life. (Grace basically means participation in the life of God.)
Oh, there will be tough days, but you’ll know, even in the darkest valley, that God loves you, beholds you, and will never leave you. Try to remember to offer all you do and all you are to God every morning so that all you encounter, endure, experience will be for His glory and remind you that you are God’s and He is taking care of you. That can be tough when you’re in the valley, in the fire, in the desert – all those places where it doesn’t seem like God is present. In those moments it’s best to stop clinging to the Lord and just allow Him to hold you, or maybe rest in His heart. None of this can really happen unless you have a relationship with God. It starts with gratitude, moves on to conversation (He really is speaking to your heart, you need to be still and listen!), and it moves on to unity with the Divine Will which leads to trust and the love you will experience here is the best thing ever. It’s a love that is unending and unconditional. And it comes from the Creator of everything who is gazing at you in love and compassion every moment whether you are aware or not. That’s true for each of us.
So, surrender yourself, your will, to God. Find what you’re grateful for, and thank the Lord of all Creation for those blessings. Remember, it can be as simple as the sunrise this morning, or your ability to see it! Start small. That’s how God does things. Jesus, the Savior of humanity, started out in this world as a tiny, helpless baby to show us what great things can come from the unexpected, the neglected, and even rejected. God is with us still. He always has been and always will be.
*Photo: a statue of St. Francis of Assisi, a man who gave everything to God!