The Choice of God


(Paraphrase on Excerpts by Hubert von Zeller, OSB)

A person may say, "I choose God," and imagine that from then on the Holy Spirit may be expected to take over. We have met the choice, and feel that this is about as much as can be done. It is thought that sanctity will develop out of this as a flower from a bulb. So it will if the person understands the choice as putting God just under all circumstances, in everything, and all the time.

"I choose God" may mean one of a variety of things. It may mean: "Where there is a conflict of claims, I give in to the demand of God." This is proper: every Christian has to mean this by implication whenever they say the Our Father.  At least it guarantees that the person is trying to keep the commandments.

Again the words may mean: "Where there is a decision to be made, conflict or no conflict, I choose the course which is more likely to further God's interest." This is an advance on the other. In fact, it is the beginning of sanctity and may lead to martyrdom. It is an heroic choice to make, and not everyone should be encouraged to make it in case the decision is found to lead to scruple.

Lastly, "I choose God" may mean this: "In every creature, in every happening, in every plan and pleasure and success and failure, and at every moment of the day and night, I want God to be praised. I want God to get more out of all these things than I do. I want everything to entirely subject to Him. If necessary I am ready to forego the pleasure of knowing that what I have just said is the slightest use to Him as to anybody. I choose what He lets me know, what He lets me suffer, what He lets me have for the running of my spiritual and physical life.

When the saint says, "I choose God," they are saying, "I am not going to choose any more; my happiness consists in letting God choose. My will is to do the will of Him who sent me. I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me. I choose, now not I, but Christ chooses for me. I have chosen to be identified with the choice of God."

Is this a shrinking from responsibility ... a running away from life? ... No, it is only a shrinking from selfishness - which we have got to shrink from anyway if we would be upright people at all. It is not a running FROM but a running INTO.

When a person has fully chosen God, they have chosen absolute Goodness and rejected relative goodness. It so happens that when the selection has been ratified, when God has accepted the person's goodwill offering, the relative excellences of God come back again and are enjoyed on a different plane. This is what is meant by the hundredfold which is the reward of renunciation.

But whatever we mean when we say, "I choose God," the fact remains that we could not even make the choice at all were it not that God had chosen us first. My perfection consists not in what I do, but in what I let Him do in me.