a. “And he saith: Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee: remove this chalice from me; but not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mk 14, 36)
Christ was a Divine Person with 2 natures: human and divine. We see clearly in this passage that his human will did not want to go through with the Passion. Yet he went trhrough with the Passion anyway in total giving of Himself to God the Father.
Religious Life is much like this. Getting up at 6:00 am in the morning is absolute torture for me. It’s not something that I’m a huge fan of. (And being up at 5:00 am on my birthday (10/16) was even worse). If it was the will of Joe, Morning prayers would be at 10 am, and shut eye would be at 2am. While this would be great in theory, what actual sacrifice of life would be taking place? None. The will of the community (aka God’s will for you) always comes before my own will.
One of the things that’s hard about being a student in seminary for a religious order is that basically I have to live 2 lives in the same 24 hour period. First the life of a religious, then the life of a student. Consequently, it is not as easy as it used to be to apply myself fully to my studies as I used to be able to do. Formation is Intellectual, Pastoral and Spiritual, and all 3 components make for equal formation in the forming of a priest. Becoming a priest means knowing, being able to express, and show the Faith to others. That is to say priests are to be “alter Christus” to society. (As we’re all called to be, but in a special way religious and priests). I’m so used to being able to be a 24/7 perfectionist when it comes to my studies. It’s ridiculously hard to get used to not having that much time to study because of the various activities of the community. All for the greater glory of God though, and not for my own glory. It goes back to my will being not important and God’s will and the will of the community being so.
All of us in our own lives have various things that we don’t want to do, whether it be taking out the trash, or paying bills or making that drive through downtown LA to go to work. We do these things because it’s God’s will working through the ordinary means of function. (Of course we need to pay bills and have proper economics in order to survive.). Consider all the things that you do are for the glory of God, and these things are merely a means to an end. The end goal is heaven. By the grace of God and dying to our own wills, we will get there.
b. “Incline not my heart to evil words; to make excuses in sins. With men that work iniquity: and I will not communicate with the choicest of them.” (Ps 140, 4)
Sometimes our hearts for whatever reason are hardened towards certain people because of the things that they do to us. We must pray for the grace to not fall for this temptation to hurt one another via our thoughts and actions. No matter how horrible the action, we must always be ready to forgive that person when they seek reconciliation or to make amends for the wrongs that they did. We need to stop making excuses for our sins and start doing things rightly. We either believe or we don’t. If we don’t believe, why are we Catholic? If we do believe, our Faith should be influencing all portions of our lives, our hearts and our actions. Being Catholic is a lifestyle, let’s live it!
Thank you for your prayers and know that I’m praying for you.