Embracing God's Will vs. Accepting God's Will


#1

I am someone (like many others) who really seeks to do God’s will. My attempts are often far from perfect, but part of my daily prayer is that I will be able to know, love and serve God more completely each day. Due to some difficult life situations in the past four years, I really feel like the joy has been sucked out of me lately. I have no doubt that God loves me deeply…and I know I SHOULD be very joyful just knowing that. There is the rub! Anyway, a recent turn of events (diagnoses of non-invasive breast cancer) has me wondering more than ever if God is trying to knock me over the head. As we’ve rode the waves of frustration and disappointment over not selling our house (on the market for over a year with ZERO offers), I’ve tried to figure out what I need to change. Is God trying to convict my heart in some way? Am I so blind and stubborn that I can’t see? Now the cancer. I’m thinking that God needed an even bigger stick because I’m just not getting it!

So, I’ve been searching and seeking, trying to bend in whatever way God wants me to bend. One revelation I had last week was if I’d gotten an insurance agent job I applied for last Spring, I would be in some very difficult waters right now, with no sick leave and no group health insurance (benefits of my current position). So, it was comforting to know that God protected me in that way. I think he’s protecting me in ways I just don’t understand, even now.

Part of my searching and seeking led me to an article last night. The article was in December’s Word Among Us about the Annunciation. In Gabriel’s appearance to Mary, there were three messages and three responses. The messages were that the Lord was with her, that she would conceive and bear Jesus and that the Holy Spirit would come upon her to accomplish this. Her responses were fear (initially), wonder (how can this be?) and finally, a willing of God’s holy and perfect plan (May it be done to me according to your word). The point of the article is that Mary’s “yes” was more than a passive acceptance of God’s will, a passive act of surrender. It was an active engagement of her will, an embrace of God’s will in her life. The article goes on to say that if we don’t look closely at this example, we might make the mistake of thinking that it WAS passive, just as we often make the mistake of thinking that we can settle for a passive faith…simply doing what God expects because it is the morally or spiritually right thing to do.

So my question to you is this…how do you think one “embraces” God’s will in a tangible way, rather than just accepting it?

Peace,
Kathy


#2

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

I think that you hit on the key in your post. The Immaculate Heart of Mary embraced God’s will. Few others did. The only other people in the Bible that I can think of are St. Mary Magdalene and St. Mary of the Mary and Martha story. St. Peter fell. St. Paul was blinded. I once read, and I have no idea where the source was from or the veracity of the source, that even the beloved John who followed the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ to the foot of the cross was encouraged/led by the Immaculate Heart of Mary there.

Love of Jesus, or obedience to the will of God, is a grace, a gift of the Holy Spirit. As Mediatrix of all grace, *full of grace, * the Immaculate Heart of Mary, can give you the Holy Spirit’s gifts if you pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through her and/or devote yourself to her. She would have to! “…For to whom much is given, much will be expected!” (Luke 12:48), and she was the only human divinely ordained to be without sin, so she will give abundantly.

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane in the First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden says, "Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."(Mark 14:37)

“Humble yourself in the site of the Lord and he will lift you up.”(1 Peter 5:6). Since it is more humble to pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through an intermediary, than directly, your prayers and actions will have greater weight when done through her intercession.

And to know if this is true… we can look at the lives of the saints who devoted themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary excessively. St. Louis Mary de Montfort wrote a book called True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin and Secret of the Rosary, establishing a complete and total devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and an explanation of the origin and name, prayers, mysteries, marvelous effects, and most powerful ways to recite the Rosary that is called a sure and perfect way of going to Jesus through Mary.

What happened to the rare souls who followed this devotion religiously (including such as Pope John Paul II)? St. Maximilian Maria (who named himself Maria instead of Kolbe to venerate the Immaculate Heart of Mary) was a Polish Priest with tuberculosis who hid two thousand Jews in his friary and when taken to the Auschwitz Concentration camp offered to die in place of another person because that person had family and he did not. He was starved and dehydrated but he continued to lead the men in songs and prayer and thoughts of Jesus and Mary in heaven. After three weeks of dehydration and starvation, only Kolbe and three others were still alive. Finally, he was murdered with an injection of carbolic acid. jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Kolbe.html. To the best of my knowledge, he not only was consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the way of St. Louis De Montfort, but he also used to post excerpts from True Devotion to Mary on billboards for people to read. That’s embracing God’s will, I think! More information about his consecration at www.consecration.com

St. Therese of Liseux was also consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the way of St. Louis De Montfort in addition to being a Carmelite nun, under the patronage of Mary and Elijah. She has been called by some the “greatest saint of modern times.” It was reported that she died to tuberculosis at 24, she said, “I can suffer no more. For me all suffering is Joy.”

Mother Theresa, who to the best of my knowledge was not consecrated in this way, said, “Stay close to Our Lady. For through her you can do great things for God.”

I think that it works because of the same reason that St. Peter walked partially on water in order to follow the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He kept his eyes on the Sacred Heart of Jesus and forgot about all other things so he didn’t even realize he was walking on water.

I’m sure that the Sacred Heart of Jesus found it easier to die when his eyes were fixed on his Mother. So I suspect it is easier to embrace God’s will when your eyes are fixed on love. Like if a Mother goes to hell and back to save her child, but she embraces the trip to hell because she loves her child so much and it is the only way to save him.

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *


#3

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

Excerpt from True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin ** 154. ** I reply that it is quite true that the most faithful servants of the Blessed Virgin, being her greatest favourites, receive from her the best graces and favours from heaven, which are crosses. But I maintain too that these servants of Mary bear their crosses with greater ease and gain more merit and glory. What could check another’s progress a thousand times over, or possibly bring about his downfall, does not balk them at all, but even helps them on their way. For this good Mother, filled with the grace and unction of the Holy Spirit, dips all the crosses she prepares for them in the honey of her maternal sweetness and the unction of pure love. They then readily swallow them as they would sugared almonds, though the crosses may be very bitter. I believe that anyone who wishes to be devout and live piously in Jesus will suffer persecution and will have a daily cross to carry. But he will never manage to carry a heavy cross, or carry it joyfully and perseveringly, without a trusting devotion to our Lady, who is the very sweetness of the cross. It is obvious that a person could not keep on eating without great effort unripe fruit which has not been sweetened.

Devoting oneself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin montfort.org.uk/Writings/TrueDev.html
Secret of the Rosary montfort.org.uk/Writings/Rosary.html
**Preparation for 33 day consecration to the Blessed Virgin **saintlouisdemontfort.com/consecration.cfm
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesusen.wikisource.org/wiki/Devotion_to_the_Sacred_Heart_of_Jesus#FIRST_POINT._.E2.80.94_The_ardent_desire_Jesus_Christ_feels_to_be_with_us.

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *


#4

To embrace God’s Will is a step further from accepting it, placing complete trust in He Who knows what is best for us.

Mary accepted God’s Will for her to become the mother of God. She embraced it by supporting Jesus all through his life, despite her anguish from seeing Him suffer on the cross. She trusted God; that there was a higher purpose.

And none of her suffering was in vain. As a result, she is the Queen of Heaven and a model for all women.

So God sees all that we have to bear and understands all the more because Jesus Himself walked the earth and bore His suffering. Today if the feast of St Margaret of Scotland (Queen). As she was dying, she discovered her husband and son had died. And she said “I thank You, Almighty God, for sending me so great a sorrow to purify me from my sins.”

It’s never easy to endure suffering, but to not accept it or embrace it, is to keep us from God’s love.

Jesus said to St. Teresa, who complained about how others talked about her her, “Teresa, that’s how I treat my friends”. She replied, “No wonder you have so few friends”!

He is near - ever more so when we suffer. Offer it up for a cause you care deeply about and rest assured that God shares in your suffering.


#5

Dear Kathy,

I am currently reading Abandonment to Divine Providence, which really covers this topic in detail. You might find that it speaks to your heart during this time of suffering.

You can read it online here:

Abandonment to Divine Providence
by Fr Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ

Here’s an excerpt that I find inspiring:

We must offer ourselves to God like a clean, smooth canvas and not worry ourselves abut what God may choose to paint on it, for we have perfect trust in him, have abandoned ourselves to him, and are so busy doing our duty that we forget ourselves and all our needs. The more closely we devote ourselves to our little task, which is so simple, so secret and so hidden and apparently so paltry, the more does God enrich and adorn it: “God works wonders for those he loves” (Psalm 4: 3).

It is true that a canvas simply and blindly offered to the brush feels at teach moment only the stroke of the brush… We might ask it: “What do you think is happening to you?” And it might answer: “Don’t ask me. All I know is that I must stay immovable in the hands of the [artist], and I must love him and endure all… to produce the [art] he has in mind. He knows how to do it. As for me, I have no idea what he is doing, nor do I know what he will make of me. But what I do know is that his work is the best possible. It is perfect. I welcome [it] as the best thing that could happen to me… I concentrate on the present moment, think only of my duty…”

You are in my prayers. :signofcross:


#6

JMJ / MMM 081116 Sunday
Good Sister in Christ Kathy –
Your posting is very thought provoking. Thank you.

The Joy in the Lord .. where has it gone?  You wrote, “I really feel like the joy has been sucked out of me lately.. I have no doubt that God loves me deeply...and I know I SHOULD be very joyful just knowing that.”  Kathy, you must differentiate between choosing joy, a spiritual joy, by an act of our free will .. and feeling joyful, having a joyful emotion, in the Lord.  Jesus was never without a *spiritual* joy, based on faith in his Father.  But in his sufferings and death he most certainly did not have any *feeling/emotion* of joy.  Scripture speaks of him as “enduring” the Cross for the sake of the joy that awaited him.  (TWAU .. A wonderful meditation booklet.  I’ve used it for years.)  We have examples of our saints, St Theresa of Avila for example, who for many years had no *feelings* of joy. During meditation time she counted the nails on the heel of the nun kneeling in the pew ahead of her.  Yet she did “joy in the Lord” *spiritually*, by a free choice she made based on faith and involving no feeling or emotion.

In closing you asked a specific question, “How do you think one ‘embraces’ God's will in a tangible way, rather than just accepting it?"  Many of us are not ready to do this.  Does that keep us humble? Yes. Perhaps that's exactly what God Knows is good for us right now. If we are able to do it, the solution here lies in realizing that  this kind of embracing suffering can be without any joyful emotion being involved.  We are told that Jesus embraced the Cross, not merely accepted it.  Realize that no joyful or agreeable feelings/emotions were involved in this.  Actually there were some very disagreeable emotions present .. great fear especially.

You shared with us, “Mary's ‘yes’ was more than a passive acceptance of God's will, a passive act of surrender. It was an active engagement of her will, an embrace of God's will in her life.”  Yes, even in the dark nights of the senses and of the spirit, at those times when we are meant to be passive, God still insists on our active YES before He will work in us who remain passive.

Do not jump to blaming yourself.  Perhaps there is something you need to change, not necessarily as something bad or poor to good ..but rather something in you that’s very good but God wants better.  Oh God is relentless in this getting us better when the time is right!  “I've tried to figure out what I need to change. Is God trying to convict my heart in some way?”  Set your mind at ease and just look lovingly at Jesus .. and in a little while you’ll know more.

You mention that “I just don't understand, even now.”  Relax, Kathy.  When God deals with us He never intends that we should understand always what and why and how He’s working in our lives.  One of the things we must learn is to abandon even our understanding to God in faith.  Step by step God is leading you, not necessarily to an understanding but rather more and more to *Himself* in faith/trust.

I will add something here that, I believe, you may find helpful.  It’s not an easy thing to do but eventually we’ll learn to do it.  An example= **1--**God, Your Will be done!  **2--** And IF it is Your Will, please heal my father of his wretched illness.  This is a very good prayer.  Nothing wrong.  However, as St Paul said in a different connection, “But I show you a better way!”  The better way= **1--**God, Your Will be done!  Period.  End.  *There isn’t any #2*.  Does that make sense?

Jesus and Mary be with you, Kathy.  And for you and your family and your serious troubles, GOD, DO YOUR WILL PERFECTLY!

John (JohnJFarren) Trinity5635@aol.com


#7

Hang in there, Kathy. :slight_smile:


#8

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