Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Will of God

Our Pauline prayer book has a page in it that we refer to in code language. It is "that" prayer. Say this to a group of Daughters of St. Paul, and we will all know which prayer you are talking about. It is entitled, "Act of Submission to the Will of God."
Maybe it is the language of "submission" that we Americans find so appalling: anything we are asked to "submit" is assumed to be terribly bad, or at least burdensome. And it's not just certain members of my community who think of "submission to the will of God" in that way. How many times do you hear people sigh, with a shrug of the shoulders, "It was the will of God" when they are trying to cope with some tragedy or disappointment?
Interestingly, the "will of God" is a kind of common point between today's first reading and Gospel. In the first reading, the Israelites ask the "will of God" question with regard to their military defeat. But they aren't sincerely seeking the will of God in the matter, as can be seen by their subsequent actions, which attempt to co-opt the power of God, regardless of what his will might be. People only do that when they suspect that the "will" of the other isn't in their favor. The Gospel shows us the opposite disposition: the leper who came to Jesus acknowledged his will and his power: "If you will to do so, you can cure me." That was the leper's "Act of Submission to the Will of God," and it brought him healing.
If only we could change the name of that prayer!


Anonymous said...

what would you change the name to, sister? I am waiting also.

Anonymous said...

C'est la volonte' de Dieu still echoes through my mind from my french Catholic upbringing. harv

Chelsea said...

It's pg 211 isn't it!??! Sr. Margaret Michael gave a whole class on it, if it's the same page I'm thinking of! :-)

Hypatia said...

This sounds like a prayer I could use! Do you happen to know if a copy exists online? I tried to Google it and got some unsavory results. :(

But perhaps this is just a sign that I've spent long enough on the internet and it's time to return to books! Thank you for sharing.

xaipe said...

I would call it something like "Act of Trust in God"--since the "will of God" is not a "thing" apart from God himself.
The one in the prayerbook starts out, "My God, nothing will happen to me today that was not foreseen by you and directed to my greater good from all eternity. I adore your holy, eternal and unfathomable designs. I submit to them will all my heart for love of you. I make a sacrifice of my whole being to you, and join my sacrifice to that of Jesus, my Divine Savior. In his name, and by his infinite merits, I ask you for patience in all my sufferings and perfect submission, so that everything you want or permit to happen will result in your greater glory, the good of souls, and my eternal happiness."
(At least, I think that's how it goes; relying on memory here...)

Lisa said...

Thanks for sharing the prayer, S. Anne. I am interested in its place within community prayer life. Is it a prayer that Sisters individually are encouraged to pray daily or is it reserved for special times/special needs? Also, I'm curious as to whether it was written by Fr. Alberione or M. Thecla, or if it was authored by one of the Sisters?

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite prayer cards from the Pauline book center reads sic Lord, nothing is going to happen to me today that you and I together can't