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Discerning God’s Will

For many of us, determining God’s will presents one of life’s greatest challenges. How do we know if we are doing what God desires in our lives? Does God want me to switch jobs, end a relationship, pursue fertility treatments, etc? While I don’t claim to have all of the answers, I’d like to share a few suggestions that may simplify the process.

When making a major decision, the first place to turn is to the Church. What does the Church teach about the choices I’m faced with? If the decision involves the commission of an immoral act (living together outside of marriage, an invalid marriage, in-vitro fertilization, a homosexual relationship, obtaining an abortion, unethical business practices, etc.), you can rest assured that it is NOT God’s will. The Lord would never desire that you do anything against His commandments.

Many cases aren’t that simple. Trying to determine whether to switch jobs or terminate a chaste relationship presents a more difficult challenge. In these cases, I recommend the following:

Pray – Ask The Lord to help you make the correct decision. It would also be a good idea to ask Him for a sign. In my case, I always ask for very obvious signs. Don’t hesitate to do the same!

Analyze – Take a step back and try to analyze the situation. Am I trying to control too much? Am I required to do too much to “make this work”? I know someone who tried to modify her behavior and prayed for her fiancé to change, rather than call off an engagement. Finally she realized that it would have been wrong to marry this person and did end the engagement.

Be Subjective – You read this right! In addition to being objective about the situation, we also need to be subjective. If you are married with children, God doesn’t want you to leave your family and join a monastery. If you are a priest, having made a promise of celibacy to God, it would be proper to honor that promise. Sometimes when we look at our situation subjectively, we discover we are pursuing our own will and not God’s.

Visit Jesus – Make an attempt to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and ask for His help. If you have an idea of what you’d like to do, present it to The Lord and let Him speak to your heart. Remember, that most of the time Christ “speaks” in silence and not by using words. If you get a “feeling” or idea when you’re in His presence, there is a good chance that He’s giving you advice.

Try It – Once you feel good about your decision, try it and see how you feel. If you’re truly doing God’s will, you should feel peace. If not, you may need to make some changes. Peace is a good indicator that you are doing the will of God.

While the above list is not exhaustive, it should get you on the right track. Always get into the habit of turning to The Lord when faced with any major decision. God doesn’t want to hide His will from us. Making an effort to listen to Him is the surest way to obtain peace!

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