Thursday, January 21, 2016

Live God’s Dream for You

By Colleen O’Sullivan

Saul then said to David:  “You are in the right rather than I; you have treated me generously while I have done you harm.  Great is the generosity you showed me today when the Lord delivered me into your grasp and you did not kill me.  (I Samuel 24:18-19)

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.  He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles; that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.  (Mark 3:13-15)

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you … plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.  (Jeremiah 29:11)

You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb…   I was  being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw me unformed; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.   (Psalm 139:13, 15b-16) 

Do you ever stop to wonder what God was thinking as the Creator’s hands lovingly fashioned you in the darkness of your mother’s womb?  What were/are the plans God had in mind for you and you alone?

I see new mothers scurrying around trying to get their infant’s name on the waiting list for the right daycare, that will, in a few years, funnel them into the right preschool.  I hear mothers of middle schoolers agonizing over whether or not their child will get into Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.  A few years later, whether or not their offspring attended “TJ,” parents are consumed with getting their sons or daughters into the best college, so that they can then land a good job a few years later.  Plans on top of plans.

I don’t so often hear people considering what God’s plan is for them or their children, what it is God would like them to do or be.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.  (Jeremiah 1:5)

God has something in mind for each one of us.  He knew Jeremiah would be his prophet to the nations.  In today’s first reading, David knew God intended him to be king.  He and his men were hiding in a cave when Saul wandered in, completely unaware how many of his enemies were hiding in the shadows.  But David took seriously God’s plan for him, and it didn’t include killing his predecessor so he could claim the kingly title.  He let things unfold in God’s good time.  In the Gospel reading, Jesus picks twelve of his disciples to form his inner circle, to be his Apostles, the ones he would send out to preach and cast out evil in his name.  The Lord made it clear to all of them what his hopes and intentions were for them.
God has a plan for each of us, something known to God before you and I ever took our first breaths.

Some people are fairly certain what it is God has in mind for them, and they are daily living God’s dream for them.  But what if we don’t know what God envisions for us?  How can we find out?  Or maybe we’ve come to a crossroads in our life and we’re not sure which path to follow.  Which direction is the one God intends us to take?

One way to begin discerning the answer is to look at our deepest desires.  Often, what we desire is also what God desires for us.  A spiritual director could be of assistance in this process.

An excellent book I read when I making the 30-Day Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius was Healing the Purpose of Your Life by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn.  It’s very readable and guides you through the process of discovering what special purpose God has for your life.

David knew he was to serve as the king or leader of God’s people.  Each Apostle knew he was set apart to take what he had learned at Jesus’ feet and carry it out into the world.  Take some time to reflect on God’s dream for you and how you are living that dream.

When you are praying today, remember the unborn children.  God has a plan for each of them just as surely as God has one for you and me.  

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