Knowledge of God's Will
Last week, as I read the first part of Paul's letter to the Colossians for my morning reflection, I got hung up on a few words. In his affirmation of the people, he said he had asked God that they be "filled with the knowledge of God's will." I think I mumbled aloud to my coffee, "I want the knowledge of God's will!"
At my first read-through, I assumed that if I had the knowledge of God's will, I would KNOW what God wanted for and from me. I would know the decisions he wanted me to make. Obviously, this would make my life easier, right?
After a few more sips of coffee and re-reading the excerpt, I realized that we all have the knowledge of God's will already. God's will for us is found in scripture, in Jesus and his instruction for us, and in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us. God's will is that we love God and we love our neighbor. God's will is that we follow the 10 Commandments and live by the Beatitudes. God's will is that we be in a relationship with him.
At times, when I'm frustrated or confused, I want to know *exactly* what God wants from me. Should I attend this event or not? How do I deal with a difficult person? Should I switch careers? In reality, I'm not sure God is overly concerned with the specifics. If we are obeying the commandments, living by Jesus' wisdom from the Sermon on the Mount, and striving to be in a relationship with God, I'm not sure we can make a decision against God's will.
This is where vocation and discernment come in. Our vocation is HOW we follow God's will. I think this is why all discernment advice encourages people to be immersed in scripture and in prayer. If we are continually making holiness a habit, our decisions will be in line with God's will. And it won't matter if we get married, become a nun, or change careers. Discipleship will be our lifestyle.
With that being said, I do think God calls and desires us to live within a certain vocation. It's not because we won't reach heaven if we don't become a sister or find the right person to marry. I think God calls us to the vocation that he knows will aid our discipleship the best. He knows that we could become the best disciple possible if we became a Sister or if we stayed single. He knows and so he calls. But as I've said before, our vocation is not some divine scavenger hunt that we must figure out. No matter what path we take, we can still follow God's will for us by continually growing in holiness regardless of our vocation.
Paul continues to offer prayers for the Colossians, that they may have "all endurance and patience". I appreciated the coupling of these wishes, especially considering my reflections on God's will. Following God's will can be tough. And so I pray that you may experience endurance and patience in your discernment!
*Reflection written based on Colossians 1:9-14, reading from Thursday, September 5th.