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This room is for discussion related to learning about the faith (Catechetics), defense of the Faith (Apologetics), the Liturgy and canon law, motivated by a desire to grow closer to Christ or to bring someone else closer.

Saint Augustine of Hippo is considered on of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time and the Doctor of the Church.
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Free will & God's will...

Mar 25th 2013 new

Hi there!

Been mulling over this question in my head for a few weeks now... How do we (you) negotiate where *our* free will intersects with what the will of God might be in our lives? Are there signs to "read" and know we are doing the right thing to be true to our best selves, and true to God's way. Let's think about this for a sec. See what I mean? On the one hand, it's too easy to disregard what God's plan might be for us and just go rogue calling all our own shots... On the other hand, it seems too simplistic and fatalistic to simply say "well, it's all in God's hands" as if we have no human agency in the matter. How do people deal with this conundrum? (Obviously, besides prayer, running marathons, and eating pop-tarts)...?

Jes scratchchin



Mar 25th 2013 new

(Quote) Jes-951157 said: Hi there! Been mulling over this question in my head for a few weeks now... How do we (you) ...
(Quote) Jes-951157 said:

Hi there!

Been mulling over this question in my head for a few weeks now... How do we (you) negotiate where *our* free will intersects with what the will of God might be in our lives? Are there signs to "read" and know we are doing the right thing to be true to our best selves, and true to God's way. Let's think about this for a sec. See what I mean? On the one hand, it's too easy to disregard what God's plan might be for us and just go rogue calling all our own shots... On the other hand, it seems too simplistic and fatalistic to simply say "well, it's all in God's hands" as if we have no human agency in the matter. How do people deal with this conundrum? (Obviously, besides prayer, running marathons, and eating pop-tarts)...?

Jes

--hide--

You seem to be setting up a false dichotomy: either we do things out way or we throw up our hands and let what happens happen (which, incidentally, is usually not going to be God's will). It may help to think of free will as the freedom to choose to do the right thing; we consciously decide to discern God's will and take that course because we love God as our creator who has given us everything we have, and we desire to do what He wishes simply because it is what He wishes.

There has been much written by the saints and other holy people on how to discern God's will. One good book is Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, which is available for free on-line in various formats at www.ccel.org

The two most important things about discerning God's will are: (1) We have to start somewhere. Don't let insecurity over your ability to do so keep you from trying, and (2) Don't get "analysis paralysis". Read the saints. Confer with a priest or spiritual director. Pray and fast. The more you stick with it, the better you will get. Finally, remember that God is not a tyrant: what He wants is for our will to be directed to Him more than a specific outcome. He knows when we try our best, and if we come up short He will compensate with His infinite mercy.

Mar 25th 2013 new

There are Ignatian principles of discernment, and here are some examples I think you might find them helpful.

We already know a great deal about God's will. It is given to us in the Scripture and in the teachings of the church. IF what you will is not in harmony with both of those, then be assured: it is not God's will.

Then you add in spiritual counsel and direction. With a priest, or other faithful person, what do they think? Two heads are better than one, and again, if it does not pass there, it is not God's will.

Prayer--when you pray about doing what you want to do, do you feel or experience any answers?

Consolations and Desolations--when you think or act on the thing, do you feel peaceful and happy, or anxious and scared?

Emotions and Preferences--God created us uniquely with likes and dislikes, and a termperament. If your plan is in line with those, then it may be God's will. Someone who hates the sight of blood is probably not called by God to be a surgeon.

Circumstances--God is the God of all circumstances. If the circumstances do not line up with what you are thinking of doing, it might not be God's will (if you meet a girl half online way around the world and neither of you have any money to meet up, then it's probably not His will).

Reason--does it make sense? Using your head, which God gave you, can you see a way to do it? If not, then it's not His will.

And easy way to test your discernment is to decide, and then to act. He will let you know pretty fast if you did the wrong thing.

Mar 25th 2013 new

Thanks to you both! Much appreciated...

Mar 25th 2013 new

(Quote) Jes-951157 said: Hi there! Been mulling over this question in my head for a few weeks now... How do we (you) ...
(Quote) Jes-951157 said:

Hi there!

Been mulling over this question in my head for a few weeks now... How do we (you) negotiate where *our* free will intersects with what the will of God might be in our lives? Are there signs to "read" and know we are doing the right thing to be true to our best selves, and true to God's way. Let's think about this for a sec. See what I mean? On the one hand, it's too easy to disregard what God's plan might be for us and just go rogue calling all our own shots... On the other hand, it seems too simplistic and fatalistic to simply say "well, it's all in God's hands" as if we have no human agency in the matter. How do people deal with this conundrum? (Obviously, besides prayer, running marathons, and eating pop-tarts)...?

Jes



--hide--
One of our business objectives was "To honor God in what we do." Following that objective, we're more than likely doing His will. If we're not sure, we can prayerfully ask Him to show us. Practicing this often enough, it becomes easier to interpret His answers. Occasionally, He'll use His sense of humor to make us think when there are 2 seemingly good choices. Humans can be funny creatures sometimes.

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