It is both an exhilarating and daunting experience to be sitting here before a brand new blog that is empty and waiting to be filled with words and images.
Recently, I was reminded of an admonition given by the most faithful reader of my previous blog, a beautiful soul who has since left this world to go to God. “Please, never stop writing,” she would urge when I had been remiss in my posting. I never felt quite worthy of the honor her words implied nor was I ever sure that I could make such a promise.
I would tell her that I would write as long as God allowed – for I intuitively knew that He could withdraw the ability or inspiration at any moment and I would have no choice but to obey. To write was not simply an act of my will.
But I also know that I am lazy. I do not always make the time to listen to God, to ask Him if He might give me something to share. I become preoccupied with my job and so many other things of this world. Time passes and I do not write.
Is it His will or mine that I have followed?
That is perhaps something that I can never know with certainty – for my willfulness, my ego, slip into play so insidiously that what I imagine to be God’s will is often really just my own. At times, it seems that I can only trip along blindly, hoping to discover the Way that is simply too glorious for my tiny mind to comprehend.
From years of willfulness and blindness I have learned one thing – no, two actually. First, I am weak and sinful and therefore I cannot trust myself at all. Second, I must resolutely place all of my hope in God.*
I anticipate that I will continue to fall as I learn to do this – because that is how I am. But I also trust that, when I return with all of my heart, He will lead me with a Love that will destroy in me any desire but to follow.
And so I begin this blog, knowing only that I am weak and He is good – and that I want to lose my will in His.
Of course, I do not know how to do this. And so, asking the prayers of the saints and holy ones of God, I allow the words of St. Ignatius (Loyola) to wash through me and become the guide for my journey:
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.
Indeed. Everything is His. To Him be glory. Amen.
* note: see The Struggle for Virtue: Asceticism in a Modern Secular Society, by Archbishop Averky (Taushev), the challenging text where I encountered these ideas and began taking them to heart.
I am so glad to see your words again, Mary.
I understand your question about whose will have you been following. That stops me in my tracks very often these days. But at least now I am reflecting on the question, whereas previously I most often omitted eve to ask something like that.. As for your writing, i’d say from the resuts that you are definitely doing God’s work in the sense that your readers–yes, I think I can speak for all of us–are nudged towards a deeper, richer, more personal contact with God;, so evidently, in the case of your blog at least, you and God are pretty close together whether you feel it or not.
It’s great that you starting something new here. I look forward to visiting regularly. I try to pray, but often forget. Tonight I’m adding your work to my list of things to be thankful for and to my requests for intervention–in this case that God keep sending you instructions and the energy to follow up on them.
Thank you for your prayers, Al. I certainly need them, for this undertaking and in all aspects of my life. Although I can never be sure that I am close to God in what I do, I can always be assured that He is close to me. My prayers go with you as well.
I’m happy to see you writing again as well. When I saw your post about the new blog come up on my feedly reader, I smiled. I may comment every so often, because I like doing that when something moves me, and several times I wished the old blog had a comment option. (Although I understand about wanting to leave something comment free, to keep it a stiller space.) I found your writing via Fr. Stephen’s blog over a year ago and have often been encouraged. Best wishes for the road ahead!
Thank you, Leah. Let us pray for each other.