The Daily Battle to Seek God’s Will Over Our Own

Daily we are engaged in a battle against self. It is an interior Garden of Gethsemane where we struggle to take the chalice of God’s will for our lives. This manifests in our sins, our relationships, and the events of our day. 

Will we seek God’s will or not? Will we love as He loves or not? Will we surrender or not? 

Our culture tells us to follow our hearts, but that is not the path to holiness. The path to holiness is to submit to God’s will over our own in every moment of our lives.

This is easier said than done. We encounter many obstacles—both interior and exterior—that try and test our resolve. There are also the difficulties we encounter in discerning God’s will. There are times we lack support from those around us. Sometimes we are disbelieved and cast off. There are times when the enemy masquerades as an angel of light and leads us down paths that were not our true path.

Coming to know God’s will for us must be born of daily prayer, the Sacraments, and regular fasting and sacrifices. We must have an open heart that does not become hardened when we encounter resistance or obstacles, which we will. This, in fact, is one of the greatest temptations we face. We cannot follow God’s will if we close ourselves off from Him or others, nor should we fall into discouragement or despair. 

There are moments along the way when we will fall into discouragement. It is in these moments that we must move forward in faith and continue onward, even though our path is obscured and darkened before our eyes. We must trust in the light we had in consolation to guide us in our periods of desolation. 

In order to walk in God’s will, we must resolve to submit to all He asks of us. We must trust in all he asks of us. Yes, we will make mistakes. We won’t always get His will right or our timing will not be the same as God’s. Our relationships with others in relation to God’s will is also important. Some will doubt God’s will and ignore it, reject it, or flee. We must stand fast.

The saints all understood that their lives could not be their own. They could not follow their heart. They had to follow God. St. Faustina had a moment she writes in her Diary when she came to fully understand God’s will and she knew she could not avoid it any longer:

March 1, 1936. Today during Holy Mass I experienced a strange force and urge to start realizing God’s wishes. I had such a clear understanding of the things the Lord was asking of me that truly if I were to say that I do not understand what God is demanding of me, I would be lying, because the Lord is making His will known to me so clearly and distinctly that I do not have the least shadow of doubt about them. I realize that it would be the greatest ingratitude to delay any longer this undertaking which the Lord wishes to bring to fulfillment for His glory and the benefit of a great number of souls.

— St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 615.

There are moments in each of our lives when God’s will becomes clear. We come to see what He is ultimately asking of us in our vocation or a mission He has given to us. It’s in those moments of clarity that we often firmly commit to His will and plan. We are infused with a great love of God and our neighbor. This can slip away pretty quickly when we encounter hardships and difficulties along the way, which is why what St. Faustina says next in this passage of her Diary matters most to us:

And He is using me as a miserable tool through which to realize His eternal plans of mercy. Truly, how ungrateful my soul would be to resist God’s will any longer. Nothing will stop me any longer, be it persecution, sufferings, sneers, threats, entreaties, hunger, cold, flattery, friendships, adversities, friends or enemies; be it things I am experiencing now or things that will come in the future or even the hatred of hell—nothing will deter me from doing the will of God.

St. Faustina understood that by taking the chalice Our Lord wanted her to drink, she would suffer. She gave her consent, her fiat, to God’s will, knowing what it would cost her. Oftentimes, since we live in comfort, security, and an often too sentimental time in the Church, we are not aware that living in accordance with God’s will, will cost us. It must cost us everything, even the scorn and derision of those we love.

God’s will often takes us down paths that others do not fully understand. There are moments when we have to say or do hard things that people who have hardened their hearts will hate us or reject us for it. Doing God’s will is to accept that we must walk the Way of the Cross with Him. This is the path the saints walked before us. We can depend on their example when we feel utterly abandoned by those around us.

We must also embrace our own weakness and inability to do anything in God’s plan on our own. We are incapable of doing anything without Him. There are things He will ask of us in order to sanctify us and those around us that we will not understand. We will have to endure deep agonies and difficulties along the way. This does not mean there will not be periods of joy, there will be, but we are extremely weak and times of trial often come with temptations to quit what is being asked of us. St. Faustina reminds us where our strength must ultimately lie:

I am not counting on my own strength, but on His omnipotence for, as He gave me the grace of knowing His holy will, He will also grant me the graces of fulfilling it.

We must trust that if what we are being asked to do is truly of God, He will provide the graces we need to persevere. He does not promise us we will be successful. He simply promises that He will be with us in all He asks of us. We must seek to be faithful and when we are not, to turn to Him in the Sacrament of Penance.

To become a saint, we must desire God’s will above our own. Most of us are not there, yet. Our hearts are still hardened in some way by sin, ego, and placing our relationships with others above God. We must beg Him for the strength and grace to go where we may not want to go. To ask God to infuse us with greater love for Him, so we can faithfully serve Him and others, no matter the cost. If we do not know God’s will, then we must seek it constantly. That is the only path ultimately to Him.

By

Constance T. Hull is a wife, mother, homeschooler, and a graduate with an M.A. in Theology with an emphasis in philosophy.  Her desire is to live the wonder so passionately preached in the works of G.K. Chesterton and to share that with her daughter and others. While you can frequently find her head inside of a great work of theology or philosophy, she considers her husband and daughter to be her greatest teachers. She is passionate about beauty, working towards holiness, the Sacraments, and all things Catholic. She is also published at The Federalist, Public Discourse, and blogs frequently at Swimming the Depths (www.swimmingthedepths.com).

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

MENU