All things work together for good to them that love God.
I was reminded of this verse (Romans 8:28) today in my xanga subs this morning, and then again after daily Mass. It was good to be reminded of this, since I was very busily engaged in reviewing an second guessing all the decisions I've ever made, which is kind of fun, if you've never tried it. It makes you feel important. You can feel like you're accomplishing something, without doing anything productive.
But you have to wonder if our choices really matter as much as we think they do. Of course, with any choice, God is not neutral. He definitely has a way He would prefer to see us go, and we ought to search out that way, but, I don't know about the rest of you, I've never received any kind of certainty about what that path is supposed to be. From that, I am forced to draw the conclusion that I don't need it. If I did, it would be given.
Whenever I need certainty, I have it. I know what the right thing to do is in most day to day situations. Then the problem is choosing it. But when it comes to major life decisions, does it really matter? If all things work together for good, to them that love the Lord, then in one sense it doesn't. Nor does it make sense to judge decisions then based on what I know now. If I make a decision based on the best information I have, striving for the most noble thing, asking for God's guidance, and trusting Him to head me off if I do something crazy, then how can that decision be a wrong one. It may not always be wise, or prudent, but it must be good and just and loving. If this trusting surrender is the impetus behind every decision, then I think it can be made in confidence, and stuck with when the second-guessing happens (it always does).
You see, we live in such a universe, created by such a God, that do as we will, go where we will, choose as we like, we can not escape His love. We stand at crossroads all the time, and stress about which road we take, which is the best one, which one will take us where we will be happiest, and God laughs. It's so hard to explain how I see it. The choice is not a burden, it is a gift. It is a share in the uncontrollable fertility of God's creative love. Not content with laying only one set of blessing in front of us, and only one path to walk, from which, if we stray, we lose all the blessings forever, He instead gave us an infinity of choices. It's as if He is saying, "Try me. There is more good that I have in store for you than you can ever taste in one lifetime. Go where you will in your life, there will be samples along every possible path you can take, because I will be with you no matter where you go." The blessings are not part of the path only, but also moment by moment gifts from God.
The agonizing over choices can sometimes be a lack of trust, a cynical attitude that knows no matter what we choose, we're going to have to give something up. If we take the right hand course, all the left hand sights will be denied us, and if we take the left, we won't see what the right is like. Cynicism always looks at what will be lost by every choice. Trust always sees what will be given, confident that no matter what we choose, God will be there first. The only thing that can truly deny us the gift, is sulking.
Friday, February 5, 2010
My name was Dullus Marius, stationed in Galillee,
I was a centurion, the toughest in the valley.
Of all strong, hate-filled men I was then the worst,
Now I fight for The Nazarean, but I saw her first.
I saw her only once and stopped to stare.
She was tall and stood straight, forthright and fair,
Fair, divinely fair, with spring blossoms woven
In dark honey hair, in smooth locks cloven.
The loveliest work of His most divine art
With not the slightest evil in her heart.
The mother I never knew, the sister I never had,
The woman all men love. She was both sorrowful and glad.
Her eyes as deep as the starry midnight sky,
She turned full upon me as she passed by.
I bowed in deepest shame, and there and then
Swore myself her son, though I never saw her again.
This is an old poem, but among all of my poems it is still one of my favorites. It is even more Marian, and therefore more relevant, than when I wrote it.