All God *really* wants

Last summer when I was on retreat at the Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, my retreat director said to me:

If you really trusted God, Tom, you’d realize that, in the end, he only needs one thing from you to accomplish his will: your will. But you rely mostly on yourself, your own wits and goodness and talents, and keep God at bay.

Later I looked up the meaning of the phrase, “at bay” and found the meaning just perfect:

To control something and prevent it from causing you problems.

Yes! That’s how all too often my prayer looks: “Okay, God, not too close; calm down; not too much suffering, please; ease up on…” Or, I want to know what’s going on; but the closer I get to God, the more I surrender in trust, the more it seems I don’t know.

My retreat director counseled me to, every morning, begin by asking the Holy Spirit what he wants of me for the day. “Then, after you ask him what he wants from you” he said, “listen long for his response.”

I prayed the next morning, and I listened long. The response was what I feared: “Your will.”

I believe that Bl. Teresa of Calcutta was the modern icon of trust in God, of surrendering the will over God. As she says it:

We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything, with nothing.

But the last word on surrendering the will to God belongs to St. Ignatius, who’s Suscipe is forever the masterpiece of surrender:

This entry was posted in Faith.

5 comments on “All God *really* wants

  1. […] the end, he only needs one thing from you to accomplish his will: your will. But you rely mostly on …read more Source: Neal Obstat Theological […]

  2. MB says:

    Our daily prayers at la Casa:
    Jesus meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto thine, and (SO)
    not mine own will, but thine.
    Essential. and Excruciating.

  3. DZSJ-AMDG says:

    Thank you for sharing the Suscipe here to illustrate what you are describing. This is a beautiful prayer that also scares me. Am I really willing to let God take my liberty, memory, understanding and will? It is truly a moment of grace to be able to pray these words and mean them.
    Thinking about why it is hard to let go and let God, I think part of the reason is that we this act of faith in the shadow of the cross, but not in the morning light of the empty tomb. We know from the very beginning of the Church that faithful Christians suffer. A fear is that giving my all to God will look and feel like his Son stretched out on the tree. Entering into Good Friday is a daunting reality, and as a mentor of mine used to say, Christ himself prayed all night for that cup to pass him by. Yet, he took the cup, and lived out these words of the Suscipe: “You have given all to me and to you Lord, I return it.” What amazing, strong faith.

    I thank God for the example of faith in Christ. He enters into Good Friday – a powerful witness – and rises triumphant on Easter – a marvelous assurance. To give my will to God needs the whole story. The assurance of Easter morning is the foundation of hope that has reordered all of our reality, and gives the courage to say “take my will.”

    Blessings! DZSJ-AMDG

    • Well and beautifully said, DZSJ! And to link it closely to Good Friday and Easter is really bringing it back to its own proper center of gravity. Thank you for all your personal forays into the mysteries I stammer on about! AMDG, indeed.

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