How Could God Let This Happen, God’s Will be done!

How Could God Let This Happen, God’s Will be done!

Recently,  I have had many questions about God’s will.  I cringe when people say, “I am praying to accept God’s will.”  Like God is testing us by having bad things happen in our lives.  Jesus taught us to pray, God’s will be done.  Not help us to accept that will.  So, why the confusion?

There are many theories about this.  Again, this is based in theories and broad generalizations and not a much longer thesis.  One is that God is like a watch maker and sets the world/clock in motion and lets it run.  God is present, yet not meddling.  My problem with this theory is it discounts any ability for a miracle and I have seen miracles.   The opposite end of the spectrum is that we are all predestined.  What we do is predetermined and we are basically actors in God’s plan.  In this theory, my brain goes, why bother, if it is all predetermined, why work at it, I AM DONE.  I will just do what I want as the outcome with be the same.  Sort of fits with the protestant idea that once we are saved we have it made and are assured of entrance into heaven.

We will obviously not have these answers till after we have left this world.

I have worked it out God’s will as follows.

We are all called and created to do God’s will.  We do God’s will when we act as God taught us.  When we care for each other,  care for those in need, provide for the less fortunate, we are doing God’s will.   To put it another way, when we work building the Kingdom of God or work to strengthen the Body of Christ, we are doing God’s will.

If God saved us form all bad things and this life was perfect, what would be the point.  For me it is a plan beyond comprehension.  How could God create a world that he would then have to send his son into the world to be killed! The icing on that cake for me, killed by those he was trying to save.  I hope to have a chat with St. Peter about this someday, hopefully not soon.  And if I don’t like the answer, I will ask for his supervisor.

For now, this mystery is at the core of our faith.  We proclaim the mystery of faith every day at Mass.  Once we accept that fact that our very existence and our faith is based in mysteries beyond comprehension, it actually helps.  From our earliest days we have tried to grasp the reality and the whys of our relationship with God.  The Pentateuch is filled with stories working to explain this reality or answer these whys.  Philosophers still grapple with these questions.  Scientists, keep hoping to find that missing piece of the puzzle.  I believe science and religion are coming closer together in many ways.  That said, again it is faith that they are looking for.

Finally

Through the doubts and crises of faith that I have had, I really don’t doubt my beliefs much anymore.  But it was a very painful process to get to where I am.  It is hard to get away from the whys and transition to how can I bring God into this situation.  How can I be God’s healing presence.  How am I the light of Christ in each situation I encounter.  That is when we are living God’s will.

I can’t see how a loving God could call a child to heaven in 8th grade.  I do see a God that asks us to be the sanctifying force in those situations.

Bringing this all together, God’s will is what we are called to do, not what God does to us.

End of Year Thoughts (From my St. Pius X Bulletin Reflection)

End of Year Thoughts (From my St. Pius X Bulletin Reflection)

As this year comes to an end, I realize that one of my most important relationships is also coming to an end, and I don’t like it.  My great friend Bishop “Bob” Brucato is in the hospital and it is becoming more obvious that his time with us is limited. This man was at both my parents’ funerals, vested me at my ordination to the priesthood, and presided at my sister’s and brother’s weddings. He was the first priest I talked to about this crazy idea about the priesthood that came to me while on retreat.  I went to talk to him after a school retreat and I was sure he would say it was a passing inspiration and happened to everyone on retreat.  I never really thought anything would come of my thinking that God had called me to the priesthood.

At a family gathering along with the three priests that were close to our family, my mom mentioned a little  confusion as to how I ever considered a vocation.  We had never really talked about it as a family and my      parents were a little speechless when I told them.  All three chuckled and were shocked that this was a surprise to my parents.  They said in the Air Force we were always the family in the 2nd or 3rd row by the ambo as my dad was a reader.  I was an altar server since 6th grade, and my parents were very involved with marriage encounter. Our social life as a family revolved around the church.  We would get there early and be the last to leave.  My parents didn’t have to say anything about  living the faith, it was an essential part of who and what we had become.  When they were first married, my mom would frequently go to Church alone and my dad didn’t start receiving communion till my first communion (long story).  From about the time he was promoted to Lt. Col. he would go to daily Mass whenever he could, especially during Advent and Lent.  When he retired, he would often spend as much time at church as some priests.  He led the RCIA and reader programs for more years and at more places than I can count!  My mom did many things other than proclaim the Word; that was not her thing – her actions spoke the Word.

Thoughts for New Year

As we end this year, I am struck by the importance of what we do and what we believe, about how much they influence those around us.  As we set our goals (resolutions) for the new year, how can we be better?  What can we do to increase the impact we have on those around us? How can we draw people deeper into their faith?  How can we learn from and respect those that have been essential to who we are?  It really shouldn’t be about losing weight or stopping a bad habit; those things should be a byproduct of being the person God made us to be, respecting the gift of our lives and all that we have been given.  I was feeling like a hypocrite preaching about being all we were created to be and being 100 pounds overweight.  I had to fix that and now have 30 more to go.  Now I ask the deeper question: what do we need to do in order to be for this world what God calls us to be and needs us to be?  Let’s resolve to work on that.