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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Thursday of the 22nd week in ordinary time

Father Kevin MacDonald, C.Ss.R.

Perfect love, says St. Alphonsus Liguori in a popular book entitled Uniformity with God’s Will, means the complete union of our will with God’s will. The principal effect of love is to unite the wills of those who love each other so as to make them will the same things. It follows, then, that the more a person unites her or his will with the divine will, the greater will be that person’s love of God.

Peter did not know who Jesus really was when he was asked by Jesus to go back out to sea and fish after he and his partners had caught nothing all night long. Peter’s “yes” set a whole new course for his life. The greatest glory we can give to God, says St. Alphonsus, is to do God’s will in everything. Jesus said, “For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Matthew 12:50).

The saints constantly fixed their gaze on doing God’s will. St. Teresa of Avila said that those who give themselves to prayer should concentrate solely on this: the conformity of their will with the divine will. They should be convinced that this constitutes the highest perfection. The more fully this is practiced, the greater the gifts they will receive from God, and the greater the progress they will make in the interior life. St. John of the Cross used to say that one “Blessed be God” in times of adversity is worth more than one thousand acts of gratitude in times of prosperity.

Fasting, meditation, receiving Holy Communion, and acts of charity are all pleasing to God, says St. Alphonsus, but only when they are in accordance with God’s will. When they are not in accord with God’s will, God finds no pleasure in them. St. Alphonsus uses the example of a man with two people in his employ. One works unremittingly all day long–but only does what he likes to do. The other works less but does what the employer expects of him. This second worker will find favor with his employer and the other will not.

God does not want sacrifices, the prophet Samuel told King Saul, but God does want obedience to God’s will. People who follow their own will independently of God’s are guilty of a kind of idolatry. Instead of adoring God’s will, they are, in a certain sense, adoring their own will. A certain Dominican nun was given a vision of heaven one day. She recognized there some persons she had known during their mortal life on earth. She was told these souls were raised to sublime heights in heaven on account of their uniformity of their wills with that of God’s during their lifetime here on earth. Our Lord himself teaches us to ask to do the will of God on earth as the saints do in heaven when he instructed us to pray: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

The person who gives his or her will to God gives everything.  The person who gives her goods in alms, his energy in charitable works, her food in fasting, gives God what he or she has. But when we give to God our wills, we give ourselves and everything we have. Such a person can say, “Though I am poor, Lord, I give you all I possess; but when I say I give you my will, I have nothing left to give you.”

This is what God requires of us: “My son (daughter), give me your heart” (Proverbs 23:26). There is nothing more pleasing to God than to say, “Possess yourself of us.” We cannot offer God anything more pleasing than to say, Take us, Lord; we give you our entire will. Only let us know your will, and we will carry it out. Conformity signifies that we join our wills to the will of God. Uniformity means more: it means to make one will of God’s will and ours so that we will only what God wills; that God’s will alone is our will.

This is the summit of perfection, and to do it we should always aspire. This should be the goal of our works, desires, meditations, and prayers. To this end, we should always invoke the aid of our holy patrons, our guardian angels, and above all, of our mother Mary, the most perfect of all saints because she most perfectly embraced the divine will.

Saints Peter, James, and John–and St. Alphonsus Liguori –pray for us and teach us how to unite our will to God’s will in all things great and small.

Father Kevin MacDonald, C.Ss.R.