"Let us therefore give ourselves to God with a great desire to begin to live thus, and beg Him to destroy in us the life of the world of sin, and to establish His life within us."
- St. John Eudes
Giving ourselves fully to God is sometimes extremely difficult. Actually, maybe always extremely difficult. It is so hard to remove ourselves from our self-love, and rather love God with our whole hearts and our whole being. It is a daily choice we each have to make in order to grow closer to Him. Are you going to choose to live your life loving God with all that you are, or are you going to choose to love God only as much as you think you need to without having to give up your entire will and give Him all of your love? Sometimes doing God's will means letting go of what makes you happy, or bringing to an end what He previously called you to, in order to bring you to the next path He asks you to take. No matter how hard or painful it is to do His will, it will always be followed by a happiness and joy that comes with uniting our wills to the Holy Will of God. Giving our entire lives to God means picking a part our will day by day in order to replace it with the will of God. This is the only way to grow closer and closer to Him, and the only way to reach eternal life with Him.
On my adoration day this past week, it was simply a downer day. There was a lot on my mind and heart and I just could not wait for later in the night when I could finally work it out with God. Not long after I made it into the chapel, I couldn't ignore it any longer. I broke down and told God that I was not happy. The tears couldn't be kept from falling. (The poor guys on both sides of me!) I told Jesus I was not happy, and that my heart hurt so much. I told Him I couldn't understand why I was so unhappy, considering how I had been trying to do His will. An explanation was needed.
Then it hit me.
I was not loving Him with all that I am.
I was not loving Him with every bit of my heart.
I was not loving Him with every ounce of my will.
I was not giving Him all of me.
That is why I was so unhappy.
Well, then my eyes were a waterfall... Okay, not that dramatic, but once my soul realized this, I couldn't help but cry and let the tears cleanse my soul. It was so true. I thought that if things in my life were not going the way I wanted them to, or if struggles were still struggles for me, I couldn't be as happy as I ought. But here's the thing... If I love God with all that I am, none of that matters. The only important thing is if my heart is entirely Christ's and how much love in my heart I have for Him. If my heart is full of love for God, and all I do is out of love for Him, I receive a happiness that can only come from Him - which is true happiness. This has everything to do with surrendering myself completely to God and picking up my precious, individual cross, that Christ has for me. Christ gives each of us our own unique cross(es). One of my favorite parts of The Imitation of Christ is about this topic:
"Christ: My child, as much as you can abandon your self-love, so much will you be able to enter into Me. As the longing for nothing exterior brings you peace, so does the complete surrender of your inmost self unite you with God. You must learn perfect renunciation of your will to Mine, without contradiction or complaint. Follow Me: I am the Way, and the Truth, and the life (John 14:6). Without the way, no human being can go; without the truth, no human being can know; and without life, no human being can live. I am the way you must follow, the truth you must believe, and the life you must hope for..."
-Imitation of Christ, Chap. 56
-Imitation of Christ, Chap. 56
"That we must deny ourselves and bear the cross with Christ."
Only when Christ is our way, our truth, and our life can we be truly happy. Yet, this requires complete abandonment of self-love, which includes all your will and desires. It also calls for discipline, along with giving all your love to God. Our hearts are restless; always on the quest for happiness and peace. We are constantly searching for it, but are we constantly loving God with all that we are? Every day we find ourselves placing our source of happiness in things of the world, in people, or in our own pleasures instead of in God. Yes, God places special people in our lives and gives us things, talents, and interests that make us happy, but our source of happiness does not stem from them, only from God Himself. He is the only one who can give our hearts rest in this endless quest.
“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.”
- St. Augustine
This is a topic that I have been wanting to write about for months, and I have only scratched the surface of only one portion of it, so I hope to have posts on it in the future as well. It being All Saints Day, I thought the timing was appropriate to get the conversation rolling because one of the vital steps in the journey of becoming a saint is conforming our wills to the will of God and loving Him to our highest capacity. This is where our happiness, and ultimately our holiness is to be found.
"We are all called to be saints, all of us; do not forget that."
-Saint Katharine Drexel
Con amore in Cristo,