PARADOXICAL

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

 

Lenten retreat reflection: Day 36 - Grace building on nature


"Make yourself a capacity, and I will make myself a torrent." - Jesus to Angela of Foligno

Another wow moment for another great quote. I am instantly reminded of Thomas Aquinas's classic, oft-quoted statement, "Grace builds on nature." The spiritual life, to attempt to paraphrase it in my own inadequate words, is a constant interplay, a balancing act, if you will, of God's will and man's will. how beautiful to state it, especially when terse, but in practice, it's more of a terrible struggle.

Anyone who's struggling hard to be the best Christian he or she ever could be knows this from the heart. When we are feeling rebellious, finding God's will (which we know from His Word and through other people or through direct inspiration) can be a push and pull, a struggle worthy of sleepless nights and cold sweats.

It's a comfort to know that God is patient with us, being the perfect Gentleman that He is. He knows we will fall, sin, struggle, so probably he is wont to take His time, our time, until we begin to accept what we thought to be the bitter yet essential pill: God's will.

My own struggle with God's will is mostly practical/day-to-day in nature. Is it God's will to choose this job over that? Is it pleasing to God to read this book, watch this film, TV show? What would Jesus think about this shirt I'm wearing? Things like that.

It's good to know that, His moral laws aside ("God's will" in strictly Biblical terms), God is respectful of our will that He allows us to choose, to have our own will, as in our own chosen/preferred vocation or state in life. One priest-formator testified to this, as he grappled as to whether he should choose priesthood over that of his girlfriend at the time. He reported to have heard God tell in his heart to choose one and be faithful in it. I, of course, was very much surprised to hear that. It erased my notion of a harsh/stern, my-way-or-the-highway kind of God. Even his commandments, seen as things to be strictly obeyed, or else, have been formulated with our own good in mind, and not to satisfy the deity's own ego-tripping. As one chain mail put it, [God's will] is not meant to punish or coerce, "but to protect."

What a lovely/lovable God/heavenly Father we have.

More on this topic here http://restyo.blogspot.com/2008/02/grace-builds-on-nature.html


Comments:
Are you rereading parts of the book? I think that of all the quotes Fr. Dubay shares in the book, that's my favorite of all. This Lent has been the most fruitful of all my Lents so far. Thanks so much for taking this journey with me.

I love how you put that -- God's a perfect Gentleman!! How profound. The perfect model for all men and gentlemen-wannabes.

And I will remember what you said, God's will is not meant to punish or coerce, but to protect. This last week, that has been particularly true for me. God bless!
 
I'm jumping from one chapter to the next, I think. You're welcome, and thanks for inviting me to this. I learned a lot esp. in terms of self-awareness. I hope I also improve in terms of directly relating to God.
 
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