Friday, October 14, 2016

Chosen in Love

By Colleen O’Sullivan

Brothers and sisters:  In Christ we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.  In him you also have heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:11-14)

“Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?  Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.  Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.  Do not be afraid.  You are worth more than many sparrows.”  (Luke 12:6-7)

Lord, I pray for the grace to relinquish the need to be my own god.  Help me to praise you in your glory and help me to discern your will for my life.

What a powerful opening to a letter!  In the verses preceding today’s, we are told that in Jesus Christ God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing.  God chose us before the foundation of the world!  From the moment we were conceived in God’s mind, we were destined to be adopted as God’s children through Jesus Christ.  We, who are sinners, are redeemed through the blood of Christ.  Our sins are forgiven by the grace of God. 

Today, as the letter continues, we read that we have been chosen to give praise for God’s glory.  We have been privileged to hear the truth as spoken by Jesus that we are offered the gift of salvation.  We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Why would anyone not hear this as the greatest news ever?  Well, I think we would all say it was the greatest news, but when you look at how we live, our actions tell another story.   Many of us like to think we are the ones doing the choosing.  We think we decide whether or not to believe in God, as though our choice renders God real or not.  We like to think we are in control of our lives.  We set priorities and goals and then create endless to-do lists to achieve them.   We live as though we are the gods of our own little universes.  One line from Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward:  A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life has stuck with me:  “The ego hates losing – even to God.”

In most of our lives, something eventually happens to explode the myth that we’re running the show.  In my life, it was major illness when I was younger.  For someone else, it may be the loss of a child or a spouse or a parent, a job or a marriage.  For millions throughout the world, it could be an act of war or terrorism destroying the only home they’ve ever known.  Whatever it is, something happens that leads us to question how well we’re running the show and eventually has us admitting that we’re not really in control.

And that’s the very moment when today’s first reading starts to sound like Good News.  We don’t have to be in control.  In fact, we can’t control everything in our lives.  We don’t have to carry the burden of running our lives single-handedly. Before God created a thing, God made the choice to create you and me and to breathe life into us.  God already knew our names and knew we would be adopted sons and daughters through his Son.  God already loved us at that point!  And in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus reiterates just how much the Father loves us.  If God so cares for little birds who wouldn’t fetch much of a price in the market, how much more God must love you and me.

Relinquishing the myth of control over our lives and conforming ourselves to the will of God in Christ is not easy.  It’s a long process, requiring much prayer and discernment along the way.  The habits of a lifetime die hard.

A spiritual director can be a very helpful companion along the way.  If you have never tried spiritual direction and would like to explore the possibility, you could start by consulting our Arlington Diocese Cursillo web page,                 

No comments: