Discerning God’s will

Discerning God’s will isn’t always easy, especially when it involves large decisions that can change the course of our life. But let’s face it: those decisions are rare. We spend most of our lives in between those large decisions, in the routine of daily life. Our daily decisions are of smaller magnitude, but just as important for our walk with God. In our daily lives, we generally know what is the most virtuous course of action. But sadly, we often choose another path out of laziness, habit, indifference or apathy. We are often reluctant to detach from worldly pleasure and make the small daily sacrifices that God whispers in our ears. We recognize opportunities where we could exercise virtue, but we make excuses in our mind to avoid acting. Thus, our spiritual growth stops. We remain stalled.

Below is how St. Teresa of Avila describes the problem. May you find the grace and courage to make a breakthrough in overcoming obstacles to spiritual growth.

Reason tells the soul how mistaken it is in thinking that all these earthly things are of the slightest value by comparison with what it is seeking; faith instructs it in what it must do to find satisfaction; memory shows it how all these things come to an end, and reminds it that those who have derived so much enjoyment from the things which it has seen have died. Sometimes they have died suddenly and been quickly forgotten by all: people whom we once knew to be very prosperous are now beneath the ground, and we trample upon their graves, and often, as we pass them, we reflect that their bodies are seething with worms – of these and many other things the soul is reminded by memory. The will inclines to love One in Whom it has seen so many acts and signs of love, some of which it would like to return. In particular, the will shows the soul how this true Lover never leaves it, but goes with it everywhere and gives it life and being. Then the understanding comes forward and makes the soul realize that, for however many years it may live, it can never hope to have a better friend, for the world is full of falsehood and these pleasures which the devil pictures to it are accompanied by trials and cares and annoyances, and tells it to be certain that outside this castle it will find neither security nor peace (…)

It is reflections of this kind which vanquish devils. But, oh, my God and Lord, how everything is ruined by the vain habits we fall into and the way everyone else follows them! So dead is our faith that we desire what we see more than what faith tells us about – though what we actually see is that people who pursue these visible things meet with nothing but ill fortune. (…) The soul will certainly suffer great trials at this time, especially if the devil sees that its character and habits are such that it is ready to make further progress: all the powers of hell will combine to drive it back again. Ah, my Lord! It is here that we have need of Thine aid, without which we can do nothing. Of Thy mercy, allow not this soul to be deluded and led astray when its journey is but begun. Give it light so that it may see how all its welfare consists in this and may flee from evil companionship. (Source: Interior Castle, Second Mansions)

One thought on “Discerning God’s will

  1. Great post Steve, I’m turning to prayer instead of worrying about circumstances in my life that I cannot change, at times tho the worrying wins the battle. Practice makes perfect.

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