Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

God's Will vs. My Will

So many times in my Christian life I have made decisions based on my own "commandeering" of God's will for my life! Meaning, if it is what I wanted, surely it must be God's will. Have any of you ever done that? For many years I was part of Christian sect that taught that Jesus' will can become a "reality" for you when you speak it into existence. This is an extreme example of the faith and prosperity "gospel" and continues to be taught and embraced by millions of wishful adherents. It never seemed completely right to me, but faced with a spouse with an incurable cancer and two young children, one still in diapers, my theology tended to drift to address my situation. I was told by loving brethren steeped in this teaching, that God surely wants my wife to be healed because "when Jesus came to Capernaum, he healed them all" and since Jesus is the same yesterday , today and forever, His will is to heal all today! This is called eisegesis where we read something into Scripture that it didn't intend to say. Certainly there were those in Capernaum who didn't get healed but the Bible language of the time uses "all" in a figurative sense. We know there were times in Scripture when all weren't healed. In John, he states that the whole world could not hold all the books that would be written with the deeds of our Lord. Again, this is language written in the idiom of the day to describe the breadth and depth of Jesus' ministry, but we read that figuratively. Some day when people read a book from the 20th century and it says "it was raining cats and dogs", will they assume it was truly raining small house pets? It is an idiom and not meant to be taken literally.
At any rate, getting back to God's will vs. mine, what is the best way to know how we should proceed? By looking at the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus! What did Jesus do when he was confronted with the reality of his impending passion and death? Did he rebuke the devil and bind the demons and commandeer his favorite Old Testament Scripture to obtain his "release" from the situation? No, he didn't. He quietly went before his Father in prayer; a pleading so earnest and intense that he sweated blood as he asked that this cup be removed from Him. BUT, He then prayed "Not my will, but thine."
I hope and pray for the strength to do just as Jesus showed us to do. In another instance He taught us to pray: "May Your kingdom come and your will (not mine) be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
Sister Faustina, a humble Polish nun who became the first canonized saint of the 20th century, showed us how to do this throughout her short life:

"Oh My God, I am ready to accept your will in every detail, whatever it may be. However you may direct me. I will bless you. Whatever you ask of me, I will do with the help of your grace. Whatever your holy will regarding me might be, I accept it with my whole heart and soul, taking no account of what my corrupt nature tells me."


Anonymous Rob V. said...

I agree that the "speak it into existence" trend is a dangerous interpretation and "theology." There are obviously biblical principles that stand true today, but there is something about the demanding nature of these "requests" to God that never sit right with me. It puts the creation in charge of the Creator - VERY BAD!

I see absolutely nothing wrong, nor do I see it as a lack of faith, to plea with God for something in the same manner Jesus did in that scene you just described: "But not my will, YOURS." Since God grabbed hold of me 8 years ago, HE has been in charge of my life, HE tells me what to do. If I tell Him what to do, that's technically witchcraft!

Good post. See you Labor Day!


August 28, 2006 11:21 AM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

Amen Rob! And thanks Tiber Jumper. Might I suggest a superb book on the human will turning toward the Will of God and conforming to the Divine Will. Heliotropium. by Fr. Jeremias Drexelius, S.J. It's a classic. I started reading it a few weeks ago, and due to "life" I've not had the chance to charge through it, but it's not a quick read. It is full of contemplative comments and statements that give me much pause and cause to meditate. I put it down for a few days and pick it up after maybe a week and delve in again. It's very worth one's time. It certainly explains the Catholic Church's teaching on suffering. We're to accept ALL things as from the Hand of God. If it's been allowed to happen to us, we, being the clay have no "right" to command the Potter how to transform us and into what we're to be transformed or shaped and when that is to take place. That is entirely UP TO GOD, not us. We are not our own. It's been a real eye opener, even more of a "heart opener" and a heart softener for me. A very fulfilling meal for the soul. Not for the timid. For TRUTH seekers.

Thanks again for the great post!

September 02, 2006 10:46 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

I will look that book up!
Thanks for the posts Rob and SJM

September 06, 2006 7:53 PM  

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