Sunday, January 12, 2014

One Deciding Step

As has surely become obvious over these last few days, I sometimes imagine myself before a cloister door.  

I have pictured this for years, actually, for the mental image of it helps me see the life to which I am called.  In the analogy of the cloistered heart, the will of God is my enclosure... a reality before which (when faced with its possible implications) I am tempted to draw back, waver, second-guess.

I have no reservations when God's will and mine are precisely the same.  But at some point(s), my will and God's are going to conflict.  I know this; in my heart I know this.  What happens then? 

“Live in My will,” God tells me.  “Live in My will when you understand it and when you do not.  Trust ME."  In the face of such an invitation, I have a choice to make.

I like to remember that a person entering physically cloistered life does not stick her head in today and leave her arms and legs dangling outside.  She is either in or she’s not.  And yet I can give myself mostly to God and leave parts of my life dangling outside that surrender.  

Making the decision to embrace the will of God is not a once-for-all-time-thing, of course.  I re-decide, circumstance by circumstance.  But there is something about at least making my choice of God's will specific.  One deciding step.  I have found that grace comes with making this decision.  I tell God I want to live according to His will… and then in circumstance after circumstance, I find that His grace abounds.

So yes, I imagine myself standing before an enclosure door.  I consider.  I vacillate.  I want a print-out of all that will be asked of me before I give my “yes.”  I’m trembling, halting, looking back, shuffling, straining.  Then, timidly, I stick one toe forward…

…and it’s as if He suddenly, tenderly, picks me up and carries the rest of me inside.  Even those dangling arms and legs.

"Take, Lord, all my liberty.  Receive my memory, my understanding, my entire will.  
Whatever I have and possess, you have given me; to You I restore it wholly,
and to Your will I utterly surrender it for my direction. 
Give me the love of You only, with Your grace,
and I am rich enough; nor do I ask anything besides."  (St.Ignatius Loyola)

"I am the Gate. Whoever enters through Me WILL BE SAFE.” (Jesus, quoted in John 10:9)