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Don’t Wing It . . . Will It

Updated on January 10, 2021

For you will certainly carry out God's purpose however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.” ~ C.S. Lewis

In today’s Gospel (Luke 5:12-16) we encounter a Jewish man who was ~ and its important to make this distinction ~ full of leprosy. It was not that this brutal disease had only begun to manifest itself in him. The years of physical suffering coupled with the social ostracization he endured, the latter of which was probably more severe than the former, had to have been unimaginable. But as discussed previously , it was his faith that led to his healing, as he prostrated himself before Jesus and uttered these very simple yet profoundly wise words: “Lord, if you will it, you can make me clean.” (5:12). Without hesitation, Jesus responds “I do will it. Be made clean.”

As human beings made in God’s image, we too can “will” things in our lives. Today’s Gospel passage allows us to reflect upon our own lives in an effort to determine what has become “leprous” and thus unclean. What intrinsically disordered passion(s) or affection(s) needs to be cleansed from our souls so they we may be called to a closer intimacy with Christ. When we align our will with God’s will we steer our lives towards virtue and away from vice. If we, upon uttering those crucial words of the Our Father Prayer wherein we proclaim to God the Father thy will be done, actually mean what we say, we grow stronger in the face of trials and tribulation. We begin to foster and cultivate the type of “Spiritual Indifference” that Saint Ignatius so famously spoke of and lived And yes, we grow in our obedience, that most noble of virtues of which Ignatius said “It is not hard to obey when we love the one we obey.” Conversely, of those who revel in the disobedience that comes with an unruly heart, one that does not know Jesus, Saint Bernard called “scholars under a fool.”

A woman once approached Saint Thomas Aquinas with the following question: “What must I do to grow in sanctity?” His swift and simple yet very profound response was “Will It.” Yes, it’s that simple. Not simple to do, I should make that very clear, but far from impossible either. For if we possess the capacity to choose, we also possess the capacity to change, to be transformed by God’s sanctifying grace. The Eucharist is of course one very profound and powerful way by which this transformation can take place

I began today’s reflection with a quote from the storied philosopher and theologian Clive Staples Lewis. I will close in the same fashion, leaving you with one of his more memorable remarks on the topic of a properly aligned will, one wherein he shares his thoughts on the eternal fate of those who seek God’s will in their life versus those who obstinately pursue the vain and misguided whim of self-will:

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.


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