Thursday, February 21, 2008

Holiness and Responsibility

A friend just gave me a copy of Life and Holiness by Thomas Merton, and I was struck by this sentence from the introduction:

Christian holiness in our age means more than ever the awareness of our common responsibility to cooperate with the mysterious designs of God for the human race.

This reminds me of some of the things I have been talking about with my spiritual director. He speaks of doing God's will in the sense of knowing that what I do is the will of God. It's hard to express (he is much clearer than I am), but I get the sense that he means this type of cooperation with God's designs. We cooperate with God and follow his designs when we do God's will.

I also think about how freeing this must be--to focus so completely on God's will that we lose our desire for material wealth and earthly acclaim. As I look more deeply into myself and my desire to follow God's call into religious life, I begin to see that these things bind me in ways that I never realized. I don't even think that I am particularly ambitious, yet those bonds are still there. I know that I am bound by my desire to be successful at my job in a way that is somehow quantifiable. Once I "name" that desire, I recognize that in it I will never find happiness, that ultimately my happiness is in doing my job well because it is the will of God that I do the job!

Those are my small thoughts tonight.

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