Saying 'yes' to God no matter what life presents
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 24
1 Kings 3:5,7-12; Psalm 119:57,72,76-77,127-128,129-130; Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 13:44-52
“O Lord, my God . . . give your servant an understanding heart” (1 Kings 3:9). This prayer of Solomon in this Sunday’s first reading was pleasing to God and he answered the prayer. This prayer was pleasing on the lips of Solomon and it is pleasing to God when we pray it, too. To pray for wisdom is truly a wise thing to do.
We might ask, “But what is wisdom and where is it found?” Wisdom comes to us from God and is found in the truths of our faith. In a real sense, to believe in God and in all that he has revealed is to be wise. And part of growing in wisdom is coming to take the truths of our faith more seriously. God is real. He exists. He created us and when we were lost he came into the world to save us. These truths change everything and more and more they should serve as the foundation of our lives.
Wisdom is found in sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition. In reading the Word of God and seeking to understand it, we become wise. As an example of this, let us take a verse from Romans 8:28-30, the second reading for this Sunday.
St. Paul says, “We know that all thing work for good, for those who love God.” We might never dare to say this on our own. Can all things work for good in our lives if we love God? That is what we are taught. Even suffering -- rejection, sorrow, mistakes, illnesses, disappointments -- even these things can work for the good in our lives. They become opportunities for us to show God that we love him by accepting them and so conforming our will to his will.
TRUSTING IN GOD
When we believe in God it is as if we open the door of our lives to him -- we allow him to enter. But when we love God it is as if we open all the doors of our home and even the windows to God. In other words, we open up entirely to his will for us. He can do what he wants with us. Our home has now become his. Our lives belong to him.
Because God is the God of our lives, we trust that everything that happens in our lives is for the good -- even when disasters befall us.
The saints understood the wisdom of trusting at all times in God and in his Providence. The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes St. Catherine of Siena, who said to “those who are scandalized and rebel against what happens to them”: “Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind” (CCC 313).
We can see this wisdom lived out in the life of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata as well. She made a private vow never to refuse God anything. For her this meant accepting or even welcoming all the many difficulties that she encountered in serving the poor and living out her mission. It meant enduring years and years when she felt entirely abandoned by God. If
God permitted something to happen in her life, be it good or bad, she accepted it out of love for God. And so everything benefited her, because everything became an opportunity for her to show God that she loved him.
With the help of God’s grace we can all do what Mother Teresa did. It means saying “yes” to God in the face of all that life presents us -- in the face of all that God permits or wills to happen to us. “Yes,” we can say to our heavenly Father, “I accept this out of love for you.”
May this wisdom and God himself be the hidden treasure that gives value and meaning to our lives.
FATHER JAMES KING is a priest of the Diocese of Peoria who is on leave of absence for health reasons. He also is writing a series for The Catholic Post on 10 ways to encounter God in everyday life through Scripture and traditional Catholic devotions.