In the throes of life, each person is led to make an existential decision: either the things of this world are accidental and marked by randomness, or they are connected by a mysterious plan and guided by God’s loving care. If accepted, the first scenario is an option for despair and it gives us fear. Or, if selected, the second scenario is an option for faith and gives us hope.
In the crossroads of life, which of these two fundamental options have we chosen?
The believer is precisely the believer because she has chosen faith. And faith regularly encourages us to surrender to God’s plan and care for us. In the Christian tradition, we make such a monumental decision observable and tangible by a prayerful life, celebration of the sacraments, the exercise of virtues, fellowship with other believers, and service to the poor.
Faith reveals to us that the ordinary, even mundane, path of surrendering to the ways of God is right in front of us. For the believer, an acknowledgement of God’s presence and love does not require anything outrageous. It can be discerned and declared in every moment, wherever we are and in whatever we are doing, whether that’s sitting in traffic, fighting with our neighbor, doing the dishes, laughing with old friends, dying of a terminal illness, worrying about money, or reading a Crux article.
And so, God’s presence seeks to reveal itself to us with a surprising proximity. As such, God’s providence – his loving plan – discloses itself to us with an unexpected invitation. We are invited to be a part of the plan. We are offered the opportunity to be instruments of his plan and goodness in our world.
As believers, who have chosen faith and who seek to live by hope, we are presented with the humbling choice to cooperate with God’s own divine providence.
In assuming the mantle of such a role, believers intentionally undertake the duties and responsibilities of their lives with a deeper purpose. They labor to find occasions to manifest God’s goodness to the world, especially to the vulnerable and to those without hope.
Believers know the peace that has been given to them by faith and they pine for that peace in our world today. They search for ways in which they themselves can be instruments of this peace.
In this way, believers fulfill the words of the Lord Jesus, such as the words we hear in this weekend’s Gospel Reading at Mass: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him… Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”
True faith, therefore, compels the believer. It guides us to accept whatever is before us. It strengthens us to do our part in his plan. Faith unveils the fullness of reality to us, especially the invisible. We are challenged to see the twists and turns of divine providence here and now.
The present moment – not a guilty past or an aspiring future – is the best place for us to do our part in a pursuit of peace. This is the essence of our abandonment to divine providence. It is accepting that we are not called to be somewhere else or to do something else. We are called to be right here and right now!
The present moment is where God wants us and where he seeks to meet us. It doesn’t matter what the present moment contains – whatever joy or suffering – because God is present and the call to be an instrument of his peace is also here.
In doing our part and abandoning ourselves to the present moment, therefore, we can see God’s presence and experience glimpses of his plan for us and our world today. In this way, we receive his peace. It’s an unsurpassable peace not of this world.
It’s the rich fruit of his grace, and it’s offered to each of us.
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