A very short one today. I have been out of commission lately with busy year end work for the parish and I have been mentally getting ready for a big meeting coming up on Thursday.
How far does one put their faith in God? Is surrendering to God’s will perfectly reckless at times? If faith draws us to do something drastic that may create some temporal challenges for our family, is that prudent or wise to do? These are some questions that I have been brewing on lately in my own life.
Some of you may know that I had left my job in the oil and gas industry to work for the Catholic Church. I also am married and have one daughter (plus another baby on the way). From the viewpoint of most people, me leaving a good paying job to work at the Church for lower pay seems reckless. Stupid perhaps. Now, we had done all of our budgeting and found that if we were frugal, we could get by. Not as well as before, but we could. I have had some discussions about this with people, at times even paralleling the example of Abraham, where in his faith to God, he was willing to sacrifice his only son Issac because of the Lord’s command. We know that the Lord did that to test Abraham’s faith, but look at how far Abraham was willing to show his faith in God! My change in career is similar, though far less dramatic. It is a test of faith nevertheless.
I bring this up because I think this is a very tough thing that each and everyone will have to wrestle with at times. Perhaps faith is drawing us to MORE but we at times are afraid to give up what we have. Is this because our faith is weak? Not necessarily, perhaps it is wise to be prudent. I have had plenty of crazy ideas about going to study in Rome, etc. but the Holy Spirit had helped to keep me off that path.
What are some tips to understand whether we ought to leap or stand still? Perhaps look at the situation. Is this something you prayed for and the Lord has answered it? Are you in a state of peace and feel faith compelling you to do more? This may be a good sign that perhaps faith is guiding you further. I think in all this, we will have to learn by experience how to discern when we ought to follow as Abraham did or perhaps use prudence and wisdom as some of these inspirations of faith may arise from self-love. Talk to someone whose temperament is opposite to your own too. They may have some valuable insight to help your discernment process.
Overall, if you have made a leap, look at the fruit. Do you see an increase in grace in your life? Has your spiritual life grown as a result? Have you seen a growth in virtue and a decrease in sin? These are really good fruits and for those that have made leaps, rest assured even if at times it still feels like you are wandering in the dark. The Holy Spirit is guiding us in a way that is very new, one that is more reliant on God and less on us. That does take some time to adjust to. Faith needs to be tested, like all virtues. It cannot be something we just say, but something we actually live by.
St. Vincent, pray for us!