Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Contemplative Study: Part 6

Part 6 ("Goodwill, a Necessary Condition for Peace") of this Contemplative Study is from Fr. Jacques Philippe's Searching for and Maintaining Peace.

In part six, Fr. Philippe meditates on the unsurprising principle that peace can only be found if our own will is united to the Will of God. "Goodwill," or "purity of heart," is defined here as a disposition of fiat. That is, it is the willingness of the individual to, at the very least, attempt to align his will to God's, saying yes to Him in all things small and large. Fr. Philippe is careful to point out that goodwill is achieved, "not [in] perfection, nor in sainthood," but rather, it is evident in the constant reordering of the individual's will toward that of the Lord's, even through failure.

My favorite part here is when Fr. Philippe affirms that "the man who has given his will to God has, in a certain fashion, already given Him everything" (17).

What reassurance for someone like me! In such times of darkness, in feeling alone and inconsolable, God is pleased with my small efforts, be they ever so little. This is what I meant when I wrote that my small actions were acts of faith. They are precisely that, because even in suffering, and even though I sometimes want to curl up in a ball and fall asleep, if I make one such small action, God makes it so much more significant.

My younger cousin, with whom I am very close, had her first baby boy in October. Before RG died, we had spoken of how close our children would be, how they would play together, how they would be so close in age. When he was born, three months after RG died, I wanted to cry and not come out of the house. I just wanted to turn off my phone--which was buzzing off the hook that day with pictures of the new baby--and hide in my bed. I was so so sad. And I did allow myself to be sad, and angry, and a little bit crazy that evening when I was alone. But as an act of faith, I went to Tar.get and bought some nursing covers for her, wrapped them up in blue paper, wrote my congratulations and love into a card, and sent it 3-day air.

I had wanted to do so much more for her, but in my sadness, I just couldn't. I was a lot for me to stand in the baby aisle in Tar.get. And the Lord knew that, I think. He knew it took a lot for me to go out of the house, to buy something for her little one, to write my sentiments down in a card, and to send it all, when I could have allowed my sadness to make me withdraw. He knows I love her, and I'm not angry with her--I'm not even jealous of her. And He has protected my heart from that.

In those acts of faith, I am trying desperately, even if my heart doesn't feel it, to give the Lord my fiat. I know this is only through His grace. Lord, for that, I thank You. I thank you for Your protection, and for Your part in disposing my heart toward Your Will. How blessed I am that You do this for me!

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