The will of God
Conforming our body, mind and soul to holiness.
“God willed that man should be ‘left in the hand of his own counsel’ (Sir 15:14), so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 1730. This teaching of the Church is followed by an illustrious quote of St. Iranaeus of Lyon, “Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts.
The source of the creation of man is the will of God. This prompts us to the truth that God has a will. He willed everything into creation, into being. ‘He saw everything that He created and said it was good. Man He created and said it was very good.’ There is no reference in Holy Scriptures or the teaching of the Church, which speaks in contrast about the goodness of the will of God. According to the angelic doctor St. Thomas Aquinas, God does not only have intellect but also has a will.
By creating the human person in His holy image and likeness, God has established an indelible mark of uniqueness upon man which sets him apart from every other created creature in heaven or earth. God’s intention and will for this superior being (man) has always been that of love, abundance and intimate union with Him. God’s choicest blessings poured upon man is categorically expressed when He says to him, “Behold I have given you…everything that has the breath of life” (Genesis 1:29-30). For because of man’s disobedience, he forfeited the dominion which God gave him, and his soul throughout every generation there-on cries, “restore us to yourself , O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:18).
Now, after having severed his intimate union with his Creator, man found himself in the frightful need of his salvation. In the very depth of his conscience, man hears the deafening warning of God, “they do not say in their hearts, let us fear the Lord our God…and your sins have kept good from you” (Jeremiah 5:24-25); which strangely also sounds as a bugle of hope for the one who repents truly and desires eternal union with God. It is only because man is loved the most by God, for he is a creature most lovingly created by God, the truth in the words of Blessed John Henry Newman will echo until the end of time, “I am created to do something or to be someone for which no one else is created; I have a place in God’s counsels, in God’s world, which no one else has… God knows me and calls me by my name.”
Having created us that we may have joy, God the Father, through His beloved Son Jesus, desires that we be wholly and fully united with Him for eternity, that our joy be complete (John 15:11). What is good, acceptable and perfect in the sight of God is the will of God for man (Romans 12:2). Therefore, St. Francis of Assisi, exulting in the Holy Spirit, cried out, “This is what I want, this is what I seek, this is what I long to do, with all my heart!”
Our words, thoughts and actions should correspond with the will of God. We’ve understood what the will of God for us is that we may be one with Him for we have been formed by him. Such a correspondence to the will of God requires perseverance. To persevere and not give up in glorifying God by conforming to His perfect will for us each day of our lives, is the mark of a man truly reciprocating love to the Father, through Jesus Christ. How does one understand what pleases God and honours His will in our lives? St. Ignatius answers this most eloquently saying, “Better than anyone else, the Holy Spirit will teach you how to taste with the heart and carry out with sweetness what reason shows to be for the greater service and glory of God.”
The human spirit experiences perfect peace in submitting to will of God. When man understood the power of the beatitudes and found it relevant for all generations, (practiced even by those before Christ; who learnt it from the veiled words of the prophets of God), he believed that the hand of God’s hope, deliverance, justice, mercy and peace will flow even out of the horrors such as the holocaust, world wars, genocides, abortions, abominations, sacrilegious, slavery and so on. St. Gregory Nazianzen therefore justly proclaimed, “Voluntas tua pax nostra” – “In your will is our peace”. God’s word attests this as truth when He speaks through His prophet saying, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). We become the brothers, mothers, sisters and fathers of our Blessed Lord Jesus when we do the will of God, (Mark 3:35).
That we may live a life worthy of the Lord, the saints pray for us, as St. Paul’s says, “we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Colossians 1:9-12). Even though the will of God may seem strange and unacceptable by those who live by the flesh. Obedience to that perfect will is the food for the body, heart, soul and spirit of the righteous. It silences “the ignorant talk of foolish people” (1 Peter 2:15). “From the rising of the sun to its setting” (Roman Missal), may every human heart and mouth proclaim, Matthew 6:10, “Let Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”