Note: The Readings Series will be a journey through various excerpts of books I’m reading through the remainder of Eastertide. Please join me!
“In all the situations of life the “will of God” comes to us not merely as an external dictate of impersonal law but above all as an interior invitation of personal love. Too often the conventional conception of “God’s will” as a sphinx-like and arbitrary force bearing down upon us with implacable hostility, leads [people] to lose faith in a God they cannot find it possible to love. Such a view of the divine will drives human weakness to despair and one wonders if it is not, itself, often the expression of a despair too intolerable to be admitted to conscious consideration. These arbitrary “dictates” of a domineering and insensible Father are more often seeds of hatred than of love.
If that is our concept of the will of God, we cannot possibly seek the obscure and intimate mystery of the encounter that takes place in contemplation. We will desire only to fly as far as possible from Him and hide from His Face forever. So much depends on our idea of God! Yet no idea of Him, however pure and perfect, is adequate to express Him as He really is. Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves that about Him.
We must learn to realize that the love of God seeks us in every situation, and seeks our good. His inscrutable loves seeks our awakening.”
How am I to know the will of God? Even where there is no other more explicit claim on my obedience, such as a legitimate command, the very nature of each situation usually bears written into itself some indication of God’s will. For whatever is demanded by truth, by justice, by mercy, or by love must surely be taken to be willed by God. To consent to His will then, is to consent to be true, or to speak truth, or at least to seek it. To obey Him is to respond to His Will expressed in the needs of another person, or at least to respect the rights of others. For the right of another [person] is the expression of God’s love and Gods will.
In demanding that I respect the rights of another God is not merely asking me to conform to some abstract, arbitrary law: He is enabling me to share, as His [child], in His own care for my brother. No [person] who ignores the rights and needs of others can hope to walk in the light of contemplation, because his way has turned aside from truth, from compassion and therefore from God.”
New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton pg. 17-18