Knowing Gods will for our lives and the various paths and choices we are given in life is no easy task. We would all love to know the will of God, and according to St.Paul it is possible, but it would require a lot of faith and hard work. There are people who write books on this very topic, and they get their rewards for doing so, but I keep coming back to St.Pauls rather simple advice. I find the best advice is often the most simple of all, and it can irritate those of us who thirst for a more complicated answer.
I’m thinking of the visionary Vicka from Medjugorje. Live on TV in my country of Ireland she was asked by the host what she thought of atheism. Instead of coming out with an academic answer she posited a simple solution to atheism. She said, “God will wait for when they are ready to believe”. I mean…wow! For all the learning I’ve done on atheism not to mention the numerous arguments I’ve had, this really was the answer of all answers.
Take for another example Naaman the commander of the Syrian army in the old testament. He was a leper, and when Elisha told him to bathe in the river seven times to be healed, he was upset. His servant instructed him that if Elisha had have told him to do something difficult he would have done it already. But Elisha was asking him to perform a very simple task. See? We have a hard time taking the simple explanation and path in life.
What, then did St.Paul say concerning the will of Christ? Lets take a look! First St.Paul talks about the difficulty of knowing Gods will.
How rich are the depths of God-how deep his wisdom and knowledge-and how impossible to penetrate his motives or understand his methods!Romans:11:33
But a few verse later in the next chapter he offers a solution that will get us closer to knowing Gods will.
Do not model yourselves on the behavior of the world around you, but let your behavior change, modeled by your new mind. This is the only way to discover the will of God and know what is good, what it is that God wants, what is the perfect thing to doRomans 12:2
We see in Phillipians St.Paul repeats this advice somewhat when he says
and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognize what is best.Phillipians:1:9
The answer to our question of knowing Gods will is rather simple. We need a new mind, to experience a spiritual revolution that will provide clarity to the soul. But if we don’t know what it means to have a new mind because we can’t experience what we’ve yet to acquire how can we know? What is a new mind? I am going to Church since birth. I pray the rosary and I’m a devout member of the parish, how come I fail at knowing what is the perfect thing to do?
The answer is simple, you’ve yet to really convert and be crucified to the worldliness within you. “But I am converted, I’m a Catholic 20 years from Protestantism”. Right, but what you experienced was an intellectual conversion, which is only 10% of the battle. The other 90% of your conversion has yet to take place.
It’s not required for your salvation, yet it sincerely helps on that path to salvation. The road to perfection is not everyone’s cup of tea precisely because it’s hard. It’s hard having to come out of your comfort zone. Your first step to a real repentance is at least being honest with yourself that you don’t want repentance. Why? Because it requires you change and all your creature comforts with you. We hate change, we dont want it.
St.Paul comes across as asking us to simply change how we behave, but what he really means is not simply to act in a different way. What he means by changing our behaviour is that we are to become a new being altogether in which we are in a perpetual state of change. It’s one thing to behave lovingly for a day, but quite the other to be in a state of behaviour that is long lasting. It’s one thing to be happy for the hour, and quite the other to be happy no matter the surroundings and for an eternity.
When we change we see God, for Jesus tells us that only the pure in heart will see God. Only when we allow Jesus to wipe the mud from our eyes will we (like the blind man in the Gospel) begin to see at the very least a blurry image of the Lord and his will for us. It requires Gods grace and our hard work and prayer. What does it feel like? Have you ever drove into the mountains from a year in the busy city? How did you feel in that lonely place breathing in the fresh air? There was a sense of clarity right? It’s like this.
The soul needs to breathe and for as long as we pray the rosary but do not change, it will continue to be that way until the Lord releases us from the ignorance we’ve lived in. But now is the time to experience a vision of heaven while we are still here. It’s not beyond our reach because God wouldn’t ask it of us if he didn’t think we could reach it. Lets make it possible with our constant prayers and petitions. “Be ambitious for the higher gifts” says saint Paul, they’re not beyond our reach.