Friday, October 24, 2014
Every Catholic must make a personal decision
“It is not for me to judge another man's life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone.” ― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
Gospel Text: (LK 12:54-59)
Jesus said to the crowds,
“When you see a cloud rising in the west
you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does;
and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south
you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is.
You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky;
why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate,
make an effort to settle the matter on the way;
otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge,
and the judge hand you over to the constable,
and the constable throw you into prison.
I say to you, you will not be released
until you have paid the last penny.”
Psychologists tell us that we make as many as two hundred conscious decisions every day. Some are small, and others carry profound consequences. Wouldn’t it be great if we could make the right decision all the time? In a sense, Jesus’ words on discerning the signs of the times in today’s gospel stand behind this concern.
God’s will isn’t meant to be mysterious and unapproachable. In fact, Scripture is filled with the conviction that it is possible to understand spiritual realities. In his book What Does God Want? Fr. Michael Scanlan proposes five basic questions to ask when facing an important decision.
First: Does it conform to God’s law as revealed through Scripture, tradition, and the teaching of the Church? If it doesn’t, we can’t do it.
Second: Does it foster growth in holiness? As we make decisions that deepen our union with God, the life of Christ will become more evident in our lives.
Third: Is it consistent? Many of our decisions will flow directly from previous decisions—providing, of course, that our previous decisions have borne good fruit! God may give us new challenges and take us in new directions, but he tends to reveal them in a manner consistent with how he has spoken to us in the past.
Fourth: What confirms it? After we make a decision, God usually sends some confirmation, maybe by opening doors that were once closed, by revealing needed resources, or by affirming words spoken by a trusted friend. Of course, there are times when we just have to decide on something and then examine its fruit. Experience isn’t the best teacher; evaluated experience is!
Fifth: What does your heart say? We should cautiously consider the difference between the peace of the heart and the conclusion of the mind. The head may say yes, but until the heart is convinced, we may experience “decision gridlock.” This doesn’t mean that we will like everything God asks us to do. But deep down, we will want to do it.
God is not playing hide-and-seek. When we seek his help in making key decisions, he will guide us.
Posted by Joe Reciniello at 6:03 AM
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