Wednesday, May 18, 2016

If The Lord Wills It

“You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears. Instead you should say, “If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.”  James 4:13-14

Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”  Mark 9:39-40

Will you let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I might have the grace
To let me be your servant too

We are pilgrims on the journey
We are travelers on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load

I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear
I will hold my hand out to you
Speak the peace you long to hear.

“If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.”

There is a joke that goes something like this: 
Q:  “How do you make God laugh?”
A:  “Tell her your plans.”

The Cursillista comes to understand that there is no such thing as a coincidence in life.  Events happen for a reason.  When a new class of candidates are sitting in the introductory circle Thursday night for the Women’s 147th Cursillo, everyone there is like a proverbial “turtle on a fencepost.”  They did not get there by themselves.  Everyone has a sponsor.  Maybe they also responded to what they read on the web site or in a brochure.  The sum total of their entire life was a build-up to starting the Cursillo experience. In addition to the twelve candidates scheduled to gather tomorrow night, there likely are others who considered going but conditions were not ripe.  It was not the right time for whatever reason.

The notes in the New American Bible explain that the phrase “If the Lord wills it” is often referred to as the “conditio Jacobaea,” the condition James says we should employ to qualify all our plans.

Our faith, however, is is not passive.  We are not sitting around waiting for things – like salvation -- to happen to us.  We are a people who make things happen in service to others.

We are here to be seed planters.  We are here to light up the world.  As the song goes, “We are here to love each other, walk the mile and share the load.”  However, expressions like “If the Lord wills it” might make it sound like we are passive Christians.

To some, the confusion about the evangelical question abounds.  “Have you been saved?”  For Catholics, being saved is not some past, singular event.  Through God’s grace, salvation is an on-going process past, present and future. If you want to lead your evangelistic friend into a deeper understanding of the Bible’s teaching on salvation, you might answer the question as Jimmy Akin suggests on Catholic Answers.  “I have been saved, I am being saved, and I hope to be saved.”[i]  Our salvation is possible because of Christ’s historic sacrifice. However, we continue to work out our salvation — just as St. Paul did — knowing that it’s a choice we have to make every day with our faith and our action.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 7:21)  Not only are we to call on the Lord in prayer, but also we must do what the Lord calls on us to do… (His will, not ours).

Faith does not end start and end with being saved.  It begins there and then is lived out for others in gratitude for the grace we have received, are receiving and will receive. Another expression comes to mind.  “Pray as if everything depends upon God.  Work as if everything depends upon you.”

Or as we say in the Cursillo Closing ceremony:
“Christ is counting on you!”
“And I am counting on Christ.”

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