Saturday, June 3, 2023

How to Know God's Will: Fr. John Hardon

Q: Since we do not know what God is planning for us for tomorrow, what do you mean by “we should plan for the following day” since we don’t know what God is planning for us?

A: Thanks for the question. That’s one of the main reasons for praying. “Lord, what do you want me to do?” He, needless to say, knows the future. He knows what He wants us to do. Give a problem—my, there are no problems in life. No problems in life! Zero! What we call problems are all acts of Divine Providence.

God wants you to do something. You have a problem. Pray. Ask for light. Then, you find out what God wants. We still have a problem: we don’t want to do it! So we pray again, “Lord, now that I know what You want me to do, I’m scared, give me the grace to do it.” I would never have left my widowed mother alone, in very bad health, and entered the Society of Jesus, unless I had prayed that You help me to. What does God want me to do? I was accepted for medical school. So pray, and pardon me, since we don’t know what God is planning for us, mamma mia! Pray! Ask for light!

Q: How do you know when you have got the light from God? How do you know?

A: The first condition is you must be totally, completely open to God’s will. Ready. Write: “Lord, I don’t know what You want, but I mean it, I want to do Your will.” That’s the precondition. Then ask for light.

The thoughts you get about what you think now is God’s light telling you what to do. If that brings you peace of mind, that is God speaking to you. We are never, never, never thinking alone. Never, never. God is always thinking with us, for us, and enlightening us what He wants us to do. Being open to His will brings us peace--that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. Maybe we’ll be scared. So what? If I’m at peace, I’d do it. Now the beauty is, after a while you become so used to getting instructions from the Lord, you just assume. You are ready and willing, holding nothing back, “Whatever you will, Lord.” Then pray, and if the thoughts should come to your mind giving you peace, they are from God. If they disturb you, forget it.

Q: How can you be at peace if you are afraid?

A: Well, there are two kinds of peace. First of all, there is peace of mind, and there is peace of heart. Peace of mind is knowing the truth. Peace of heart is doing God’s will. Now, what we must do is constantly distinguish between our feelings and our mind and our will. Can we be afraid once we know what God wants? Can we be afraid? But, if my mind tells me something is God’s will and I’m afraid, do I not do it because I’m afraid? In other words, to not allow our fears to guide our minds, we must ask ourselves, why, why am I afraid? Am I afraid because I will fail? Am I afraid because I will make a fool of myself? I repeat, once my mind enlightened by faith, I must be open, really open, to doing God’s will. My mind tells me: “This is God’s will.” You can pray and ask God to give you strength to overcome your fear. But don’t you dare avoid doing it just because you are afraid! And as we say in Rome, oh, mamma mia! No. We have to have courage. And courage comes from conviction. My mind is sure that something is God’s will and I do it! I wouldn’t be standing here. I wouldn’t have done so many things I thought God wanted me to do if I were afraid. I could talk for hours! Thanks for the question!

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