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"May your will be done."

Matthew 26:42

Jesus encountered lots of suffering in his short life on earth, everything from the small hurts inflicted by those who spoke badly of him, to the pain of abandonment by nearly all those he loved, to the ultimate suffering in death by Crucifixion.  Throughout his journey, Jesus let go of everything except the Father’s will.  How often do we hang on to every hurt, pain, or disappointment, allowing it to color our lives, and our path forward, long after the actual occurrence?  This greatly multiplies the effect of the initial difficulty we encountered and allows it to control our present and future as well.

How much better would our lives be here on earth if we could simply let go of our hurts, mistakes, resentments, fears, and anger, and focus on our current reality – that people often disappoint, we cannot control most of what happens in life, change happens whether we like it or not, but God is with us.  This shift in our attention moves us from selfishness and self–absorption - what happened to me, what will I do, etc.  – to focusing on God and God’s will.   

The Paschal Mystery of Jesus (God’s plan of salvation which was ultimately fulfilled through four events in Christ’s life - his Passion (his suffering and Crucifixion), death, Resurrection, and Ascension), provides a guide for our surrender and the ultimate resurrection that follows.  On Holy Thursday we witness Jesus’ first Paschal Mystery surrender – after expressing his desire that he not have to drink the cup before him, Jesus surrenders to the Father’s will.  And he continues that posture of surrender throughout his arrest, trial, scourging, carrying the cross,  crucifixion and ultimately, his death. 

But then follows the Resurrection.  The new life brought about by surrender of the old, something we are continually invited to participate in.  But if we continue to cling to what we cannot control, to what is no longer working, to what is not for us, we cannot experience the new life that God has for us. God is always bringing new life to us and bringing good out of everything – and that often looks like change,  which can be uncomfortable. 

To discern God’s will and  have the strength to choose and follow it like Jesus, we must spend time in prayer – listening to God, seeking God’s will, examining our lives, and discerning God’s leading in each and every situation.  That does not happen without quiet time, spent listening.  So often I have experienced God’s gentle touch, quiet insights, and little nudges when I give God my time and attention. 

The temptation is always to do it ourselves – to use our strength, intelligence, and will to accomplish whatever we think is best.  Certainly, God gives us our mind and intellect.  But how often do we dive in on our own and use this for our own purposes rather than seeking, and doing, God’s will? 

How might our lives be better if we took the time to seek God’s will first and then follow it? 

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