In today’s First Reading, there was one thing that stood out to me. In my daily readings, I highlighted “For the Lord, your God, […] has no favorites [and] accepts no bribes” (Deuteronomy 10:17).
This struck me at first because, really, how often do we try to bribe God? I certainly don’t! …right? Then I realized that it was pretty often that I had, in my own life, said, “Lord, if you do this for me, then I will do this for you” and then gotten upset when it didn’t happen. We think, “Of course God wants me to go to Mass every Sunday, so why wouldn’t he heal me.” We try so often to bend God’s will into our will.
Last weekend, I met a man named Roman who asked me if I knew God’s will. I replied, “No, but I am always trying to figure it out.” Roman asked me how I did this. How did I even know where to start? How could I possibly distinguish God’s will from my own? I thought about this for a moment, then told him that while I don’t have it all figured out, I believe it first requires a relationship with God. That means kneeling in prayer, standing and jumping in praise, and sitting in silence with the Lord. I told Roman that a healthy relationship requires constant conversation, that it required sacrifice that would always come from a place of selfless love, and a relationship with the Lord, Our Father, was no different in that regard.
Then he asked me, “How do you know when it’s selfish instead of selfless?” I immediately had a flashback of the last time I had to stop and be brutally honest with myself. It wasn’t easy. It didn’t come naturally. I even remember trying to justify my behavior and convince God that my will was technically in line with His will. Spoiler, it wasn’t. It was just me trying to bribe God with technicalities and I knew it. So I prayed. I prayed for discernment to recognize and reject the world and then to accept God’s will into my life, even in the smallest of decisions. Then, in reading Scripture, I read a passage that spoke so clearly to me. “But the wisdom from above is pure, then peaceful, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).
I shared this with the man and we ended our conversation with prayer, but his words continue to stick with me, “How do you distinguish God’s will from your own?” I pose this question to you and go even further to ask, “Do you even try to distinguish God’s will from your own?” If the answer is no, that’s okay! Today is a great day to start.
Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Pennsylvania. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various Catholic articles in bulletins, newspapers, e-newsletters, and blogs. She continued sharing her faith after graduation as a web content strategist and digital project manager. Today, she continues this mission in her current role as communications director and project manager for Pentecost Today USA, a Catholic Charismatic Renewal organization in Pittsburgh.
Feature Image Credit: Cytonn Photography, https://unsplash.com/photos/n95VMLxqM2I