19th Sunday in Ordinary Time -
A Reflection by Fr. Leo
Knowing God’s will and living according to God’s will is the purpose of the Spiritual life. In the Gospel, the one who does not know God’s will, is not as accountable for living apart from God. But the one who knows God’s will and lives in contradiction to God’s will, will suffer the separation of not being in union with God. Further, we are not only to live in accord to what we understand God’s will to be, we are called to grow in our understanding of God and God’s ways.
Let us ask then, “What is God’s will?” And, “How do we come to know God’s will, and what does it mean to live in God?” First, we must be honest and realize we will never know the will of God. God’s intentions for creation are far beyond our understanding. However, that does not mean that we do not become aware of God’s will little by little. As we look at the Scriptures, beginning with Genesis, we see a developing understanding of God and God’s will. It’s fullest manifestation comes in the incarnation of the Christ’s consciousness in the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth.
Our Old Testament reading today reminds us we are God’s chosen. That’s a start. However, the Gospels tell us we share in God’s own life; just as Christ was human and divine, so are we human and divine. Because we share in the divinity of God, the mind of Christ, or the will of God, is within us. As I have said and written many times, our deepest truest self is God’s-self. As we grow in our awareness of our oneness with God in all of creation, we become more responsible realizers of the growing conscious presence of Christ in salvation history. Seeking the experience of God, our conscious unity with God is the essence of our spiritual lives and the purpose of our religious practices. The more aware we become, the more Christ like we live. This is why the one who is aware of what good requires and does not follow it is more culpable than the person who doesn’t. Such a person will experience the pain of separation from his or her truest self.
God’s desire is for us to become more and more our truest self, and God is lovingly drawing us toward his light until one day we, and all creation, will live in the fullness of the Kingdom. God is always for us, never against. For God even our sin is an opportunity to grow in Christ’s consciousness. We learn from our mistakes whatever our culpability. God’s desire is to bring us to the fullness of life. Realizing this, time spent in prayer, in openness to the work of the Spirit, is the most important thing we can do in our day.
Let us ask the Lord to reveal to us his will (our deepest desires) planted in our hearts, and may he give us the courage and strength to be open to the working of his Grace.