Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Word of the Year


I have been prayerfully searching for the right word, theme, concept and focus for me to work on for 2014. 

Words that popped in my head:
self surrender
then, clearly.. Holy Abandonment.
Not to be abandoned, but to abandon self for God's Will. One phrase to encompass all other words while making a challenge of exercising trust for me.

"He that remains united to the will of God lives and saves his soul; 
he that prefers to follow his own will die and is lost."

I never like to consider myself a control freak, because consciously have a relaxed parenting style and think that covers most things, but it doesn't. I consider myself and adventurer because I have accompanied my husband across the country on moves I didn't ever dream. I thought of myself as obedient and submissive, but honestly, I am not so much. 
I've welcomed people into my life, welcomed babies with an open heart but both still with my own limits and expectations. God is good and has been generous and gentle with me.
The past few years gave us many challenges, fortunately we found our way through. Praise God. I found myself having the hardest time letting go and let God make decisions for us, or show us the way. I wanted to trust,  tried to and still fought for control the whole time, putting in my own conditions.

Holy abandonment means the constant, complete, and loving union of our wills with the will of God in such sort that "we do nothing but what He wills and as He wills, and will nothing but what He does." 

Sounds so good, but oh, in practice, in living, so hard to do. Sometimes it is just hard to know what to and how to get it done; not as easy as it should be to trust what God wants and let go. 

Holy abandonment, is different than obedience, which has its roots in the cardinal virtue of justice, whereas abandonment has its roots in the theological virtue of charity. Holy abandonment surrenders one's own will to that of the will of God: surrender is more than resignation or submission, for it is done out of total love for and trust in God, after first having accomplished in oneself indifference to the will of God, that is, having no preference whatsoever, but that one always wills what he wills, because He wills it. In resignation, one can may still maintain one's preference while accepting the will of God. This is submission, not surrender because one has not completely given up one's own will. (from notes on translation here)

To start off 2014 and trying learn more about this lesson, I am reading Abandonment to Divine Providence by Father Jean_Pierre de Caussade, SJ (from which the above passages are quoted) and A Model of Holy Abandonment by Father Gaspar Bertoni (both online) 

From Father Bertoni:
"The human will is so amazingly suspicious that as a rule it trusts none but itself, and it is always in fear of prejudice to itself from the will and power of others. Anything we possess of particular value, our fortune, our honour, reputation, health, life itself, we refuse to commit to the care of another unless we are sure we can depend on him. For the practice of charity and of holy abandonment we must therefore have the fullest confidence in God." Hence, perfect abandonment, as a habit, cannot be found outside the unitive way, because there alone confidence in God attains its highest development. 

Human wisdom is very short-sighted, and the human will very weak, changeable, and subject to a thousand failings. Consequently, instead of trusting to our own lights and distrusting all others, even God, we should rather supplicate and importune Him to cause His will to be done and not ours. For "His will is good, good in itself and beneficent to us, good as the good God and, I dare to say it, necessarily beneficent." 

I know I'm not alone in wondering how to know God's Will in life, and how to know it without blinking neon signs. As part of my new year's resolution, it seems to be a good time to look into establishing a Rule which to on work on this year fixing prayer and actions in a deliberate routine to counter my distractible nature. The primary rule: first take a deep breath, then begin with charity.

  "I can do all things in Him Who strengtheneth me " 
(Phil. iv, 13)

This is a big goal for the road ahead, searching for peace of mind and a healthy soul. Pray for me in case I'm biting off more than I can handle. I'll be praying for you, too.

Prayer of Perseverance
 Saint Alphonsus Liguori

O SACRED Heart of Jesus, living and life-giving fountain of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, and glowing furnace of love, Thou art my refuge and my sanctuary. O adorable and glorious Savior, consume my heart with that burning fire that ever inflames Thy Heart.

Pour down on my soul those graces which flow form Thy love. Let my heart by united with Thine that our wills may be one, and mine may in all things be conformed to Thine. May Thy Will be the rule of both my desires and my actions.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee.

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