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September 1977

I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but to do the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38)

To try to live this word will be to give concrete expression to something we pray every day. 'Thy will be done'.

Amidst all the apparent confusion and flux of life we need to trust that God is with us, and that he has a design which includes each one of us. It is as if we were looking at the back of a piece of embroidery - we see only the tangle of threads and the loose ends, not the beautiful pattern. It is only as we can begin to realize that our vision is partial that we can begin to die to our own ideas and abandon ourselves to the Will of God.

But how can we discover God's will for us?

It is good to realise that God's will is made up of many little things - the continual turning to God in each moment. It is this choice of God in the present moment that must concern us. So often we waste the present moment trying to solve so many problems, trying to plot the future and wishing, 'if only...'! It is to the present moment that we must turn. But even then it isn't always clear just what God's will is. Certainly it is not to be doing something unloving and evil. Whatever the details, the will of God for us is to be Christ-like, to be an expression of his love in the world. So if there is a choice of ways to express our love for God in the present moment, we can choose one, saying to God, 'If this isn't what you want me to be doing, show me what is'. Then we are free to do whatever it is with all the love and joy we can muster, and do it as perfectly as possible. We must then be ready to lose what we have been doing, and get on with what seems to be God's will in the next moment as it comes.

This means that the whole of life becomes an 'adventure of love' and never a drudge. We never know where it is going to take us. All the routine duties can be transformed by trying to make them perfect offerings of love. We take time off - but each moment will bring its opportunity to love. As Mother Theresa of Calcutta said when asked whether she ever took a holiday, 'What can be more refreshing than to do the will of God?' To live this word means to be on the lookout, alert for opportunities to take the first step towards someone, to be the first to love in some small practical way, to give someone a lift, to stop and listen to someone. And when sometimes we can't see the point, or feel we want to give up, we can remember that each moment can be an encounter with Jesus, either as we meet him in someone else or as we love him in the solitude of our own soul.

It is as if the sun is a symbol of the divine will - which is God himself, and the rays are his will for each one of us, each one different and distinct, yet all expressions of the same divine will. Just as the closer the rays get to the sun the nearer they draw to one another, we shall find that as we walk towards the sun, following our ray, carrying out the divine will more and more perfectly, we shall draw closer to each other until we become one, and we find our daily prayer answered: 'Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven'.

Stuart Burns

 

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