“Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.” (2nd Corinthians 9:8)
What stirs within your heart as you read the above passage from Saint Paul's letter to the Corinthians? “God is able to make every grace abundant for you” ... “having all you need” ... “you may have an abundance”. Do believe this? Do you really believe this? Is this your experience of God's presence? Is this your experience of God answering your prayer?
Many of us aren't used to God giving us “everything” or “all we need” or “abundance”. So, why is it that sometimes God blesses us with “everything” and why is it that sometimes it seems as if God doesn't act at all?
We should remember that God doesn't act like us. He doesn't think like us. He doesn't respond like us. In Isaiah 55 we read: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” When God hears us, He does indeed listen; however, God responds from His perspective.
- First: He sees our whole life all at once. He knows what is best for us. He acts within the big picture. Thus, while we can only “see” what is immediately in front of us, God sees the big picture. He sees our past, our present, and our future. He always sees our future when we're pleading in the present. We can't see what He sees, but He can see everything.
- Second: God sees eternity. God sees Heaven and Earth. Many times we plead for things that will help us while we are on Earth. However, do all our prayers take into consideration what is necessary for us to get to Heaven? God sees our prayer now; God hears us. However, God's ultimate desire is for us to be with Him forever in Heaven. God takes into consideration your desires now; however, He also takes into consideration your ultimate destiny which is Heaven.
- Third: God sees the whole conversation. Often times I beg God to answer my prayer. Sometimes my prayer is answered when and how I desire. When that happens, I often continue my conversation with the Lord because I am pleased with His response. However, sometimes my prayer is not answered when and how I desire. When that happens, I often leave the conversation with the Lord because I am frustrated with my impression that He did not answer my plea. When we leave the Lord because He didn't answer our prayer when and how we wanted we leave the big picture and revert to self-sufficiency. Then, we don't give God a chance to speak or explain. That's when we live confused. That's not fair to God, nor is that fair to us.
Fr. Scott Traynor, a great priest and a great friend of IPF, has helped me immensely. He reminds me often: at the moments in my life when I have had a powerful experience of God three things were present: (1) my desire for God, (2) God's desire for me, and (3) I was in a favorable environment that helped (1) and (2) come together. For example, when I've been on retreat I was in a favorable environment that helped God's desire for me and my desire for God come together. Or, for example, when I've slowed down to really seek the Lord I was in a favorable environment that helped me actually hear the God who is always with me.
Our desire for God is always there. God's desire for us is always there. Now, here's the key: is the favorable environment always there? Are we listening? Are we showing up? Are we consistently putting ourselves in a position where the noise of the world is confronted with the silence that is often necessary to really hear the Lord the way we desire?
Are the conditions in my life such that I really have the favorable environment necessary for me to grow in my relationship with God?
© Fr. Mark Toups, 2013
Today @ IPF:
The 169 seminarians in the Seminarians Summer Program are in two classes.
In their first class, 502: Celibacy and Sexuality, the men will learn about Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body,” particularly in relation to the spousal meaning of the body and the call to priestly celibacy. In their second class, 503: Spirituality of Diocesan Priesthood, the men will learn more about what it means to be a spiritual father and how it connects to the spirituality of a diocesan priest.
Great day in Eaux-maha yesterday. Had a great day with Dad. Even though the Tigers lost, there is much to be grateful for. I am blessed with great parents and a great family.
Today's Quote from B16:
“If we place our trust in the Lord and follow his teachings, we will always reap immense rewards.”
― Homily, Floriana Granaries, Malta, April 18, 2010