I’m going to let you in on a secret, which I supposed means it’s not really a secret anymore, but that’s okay. I’m good with that.
I have a fear. We all have fears, because none of us can trust in Him perfectly, but I imagine some souls come mighty close. I am not one of those souls. In fact, I can be type A about some things, especially when I have a goal in mind, and have a plan in my head about just how that goal should be, or is to be accomplished.
For example, if I wish to have a family, say, like the March family in Little Women, who gathers around the piano and sings for fun, then I need to: 1. have children 2. get a piano 3. encourage them to learn the piano and sing, and 4. encourage them to get along and see themselves as a cohesive (albeit diverse) unit so they will WANT to spend time together. Easy peasy right?
Right. Well, it took nearly 20 years of parenting to get any of my children to make music together and, well, much of it is of the humorous sort, but I’ll take what I can get! They’re getting along, right? But I digress…
So I have a goal, and my fear coincides with that goal, because who wouldn’t be afraid of failing in one’s primary mission in life?
My goal? Heaven, of course.
My fear? Our Blessed Lord’s words, from the 21st chapter of Saint Matthew’s Gospel:
‘It is not anyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?”Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, all evil doers!“
Frightening words, especially to somebody who tends towards insecurity and indecisiveness. How do I know I’m doing God’s will? How do I know I have made the most perfect choice at any moment in time? Really, it can drive a person batty, especially when you read tales (private revelation only) of holy religious who were given purgatory time for not making the better of two good choices. Or say I’m faced with a major decision which could have wonderful benefits, but a decision which, when others have chosen it ended up worsening the situation?
And there you have it: I am insecure, indecisive, and never quite sure I’m doing God’s will, so when confronted with the Truth that only those who do God’s Will will be acknowledged, or considered to be “known” by Our Lord, it is a frightening prospect indeed.
Give me seven-headed dragons. Give me fire from the sky. But please, Lord, may I never hear those awful, terrible words, “I have never known you.” And yet this is my biggest fear.
But as I sat in the pew this morning before Mass, and I read through the first reading in the Magnificat, I saw these line from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians. They were lines which had never struck me, until today:
Knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up. If anyone supposes he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if one loves God, one is known by him.”
Perhaps I’m not to know my exact spiritual state. Perhaps we are meant to be kept guessing (although how being anxious for our souls works together with trust is beyond my pay grade at this time).
Look at the saints. Would they have ever said, “Oh yeah. I’m Mother Teresa. I’m doing God’s will like a boss out here in Calcutta! See you in Heaven!” or “Hi Mr. S.S. Officer! I’m Father Kolbe. I’m going to die in place of the father of that family over there. Doing God’s will and taking names behind these bars here. Hope to see you in Heaven!” You’d have NEVER heard that.
But they loved. They loved God. They loved God in others. They loved others for the sake of God. Did God know them? Oh yes. Very much so.
But if one loves God, one is known by him.”
I may never be sure in my life decisions, and I may never know if I’m doing God’s will as He would have me do it, but I do know how to love.
May I grow to love others as completely as He loves me, for no other reason than that He loves me. May I also remember St. Paul’s words, that my head-knowledge of Jesus’ love for me might translate into a greater heart-knowledge of that same love.
God bless you, and God love you.