Perhaps the hardest question we can ask ourselves is, What is God calling me to do? The scary part is, what if God’s will is not what we want? That’s a distinct possibility but only if we are determined to do things our way and leave God out.
Many times, I have talked with people that truly are afraid to let go and let God. What are they afraid of? So many things. What if God wants them to be a priest or nun, to have another child, to quit a habit or to find a new job? Will giving everything over to God leave nothing left for them? Will it drain all the fun and enjoyment from their life?
Such fears limit us because we try to hang onto something–our lives–which ultimately we cannot completely control. St. Augustine, was just such a person before this fourth century saint became a priest and bishop. Once a man very much of the world, his spiritual and intellectual struggle continued long after he was convinced of the truth of Christianity. “Soon, in a little while, I shall make up my mind, but not right now,” St. Augustine stated. He resisted giving everything over to God, fearing there was too much to lose.
Finally, his desire for truth and union with God overcame him. At the age of 32, in September of 386 in the presence of his mother, St. Monica, he was baptized at Easter and stopped running from God and His Church. “Too late have I loved Thee, O Beauty so ancient and so new, too late have I loved Thee!”
St. Augustine had come to understand the folly in running from a God that frees us, for in reality, it is the world that imprisons. “Love God and do what you will,” he stated. In other words, when we truly love God and desire His will, our desires will be in union with God.
Children of the Light
Author, Bob Violino has personified this truth in his book Children of the Light, through the stories of people who have surrendered everything to serve God. By giving all to God, it has not meant that they are separated from the world and all material goods. Instead, these are people that have discovered their gifts and callings through work that brings meaning into their lives as they serve those around them. By surrendering to God, they have gained much and lost nothing of value.
Violino has over twenty-five years of journalism experience having written on technology, business, religion, spirituality and current events. His newspaper style gives us the who, what and why of Christian servants living their lives for God in a variety of ways. From music ministry, to pro-life, the missions, prison ministry, retreat organizers and many more areas of service, we meet people that love God and then do what they will.
Violino lives in Massapequa Park, New York with his wife Renee and sons Andrew and Timmy, using his own talents as a writer to serve God and encourage others. Below is an interview with Bob about his book.
Where did the idea come to write stories about Christians living out their faith?
It’s something I had been thinking about for several years, in one form or another, before I actually began working on it. I can’t really say the idea came from any one place. I felt called to write something with a spiritual and upbeat message, and I talked over a few ideas with the pastor at my church. The basic idea and format for the book evolved from that discussion.
Have you ever struggled reluctantly to turn your will over to God?
Yes! Many times I’m so focused on what I want to accomplish or what I want to obtain that I don’t think in terms of what God wants me to do. I want things to go a certain way and of course it doesn’t always work out that way. I try to discern what God wants me to do and I often pray about it. But it’s sometimes difficult to figure out what that is.
How did you do your research?
I interviewed people either by phone or in some cases by email. They were very forthcoming with information and insights, so gathering the content for the profiles was not too difficult. When people mentioned particular organizations or saints or other people who influenced their lives I researched that on my own to add context or additional detail. I also spent a lot of time exploring organization Web sites and other online resources to gather background information.
How did you choose the people your wrote about?
I tried to include a variety of people from different walks of life, areas of the country and backgrounds. I also wanted to include different types of charitable works, such as feeding the hungry and caring for the sick, and that influenced the choices. As for finding the specific people in the book, I got ideas from notices I placed in publications or online, from articles or mentions in magazines or newspapers, and from my own involvement in some of the organizations mentioned in the book.
My favorite stories were about Fr. Ron’s prison ministry, Judy Brown of the American Life League and the founding of Project Rachel by Theresa Karminski Burke. Were there any stories or people that took you by surprise or touched you deeply?
Each person in the book touched me in some way. I really found their faith and dedication to their causes to be inspiring. They’re truly focused on doing God’s will, no matter the hardships and setbacks they might encounter along the way. They’re also humble enough to acknowledge their own failings.
What do you hope the book will accomplish?
I hope the stories will get people to think about their own ability to make a positive difference in the world, whether it’s some small gesture of kindness or a major undertaking. Christians are called to live the gospels and the commandment to love one another. We all have the potential to make a real difference and ease the burden of others.
What sort of person do you think will enjoy reading a book like this?
It’s my hope that the book would be appealing to anyone who’s looking for inspiration and for ways to live their Christian faith more fully. If someone were to read the book and say, “I’ve always thought about doing that or getting involved in that type of cause, and now I think I will,” then that would be great.