My life world offers me a welter of wonderful things - careers, places to live, consumer goods, travel, various educations. After I have set my face against anything sinful, how will I decide which among them to go for?
I could choose in several ways. First, I could simply follow fad and fashion. Hankering after the latest clothes and activities and trips, I could do what everyone else is doing right now.
Or second, I could simply follow my own native tastes. If I grew up loving open country, I could choose to live in a suburb simply because I prefer it and for no other reason. If my natural preferences lead me to pursue some profession, I could simply follow that lead, figuring that God would not make me hanker for something that would do me harm.
Or third, I could set some definite goal for myself, to bring me to transcend myself, reach fulfillment, and do some real good for others. For example, I could have the ambition of being a federal judge or having total financial security or making some important discovery in genetics. Then I could aim everything toward that goal.
A fourth way would be more difficult. I could begin with the premise that I will never do anything to break my relationship with God, my Lord, but will choose only what my conscience freely allows. Then I will wait to find out what God hopes for in me.
To achieve this mind-set, I have to believe that I can know what God hopes in me, and I have to hope that I can find that out.
I will also have to hold tremendously careful balance among all the welter of wonderful things that my life world offers me. I will not let myself get so stuck on any of them that it will incline me to this or that decision. That would mean that I would not follow the first or second way of choosing - by doing what everyone is now doing, or by merely following my own native preferences - and not even the third - by setting my own life goal for myself without asking God what my Creator wants in me. To put that another way: I would not try to tell God what will make me happy (that judgeship or a heap of money or a brilliant scientific career). I will wait to find out what God has been hoping in me - and live confident that it will make me happy.
Of course, I cannot sit back and expect God to strike me the way God struck Paul of Tarsus. I have to pray, to consider, and take counsel with trusted friends. I have to attend to what the whole Church now engages in and hopes for, and what the official teachers (bishops and theologians in their own ways) are teaching. I have to try this or that and see how it goes. but I will always be hoping to find God desiring me, God shaping my life world, God bringing the Reign to reality. I hope to find what God wants first, and then I will decide what I let myself want and what I will choose.
Holding this kind of indifference among God’s almost infinite number of
gifts makes a person a great force for good. What a power she is who does
not much care where she lives as long as God’s hopes are being realized!
What a power he is who does not much care whether he lives wealthy or not, only
as long as God’s justice is being done! Such a person truly finds God in
all things - God creating, God raising up justice and peace in all things, God
working busily so that no one will be lost, but everyone brought to the Reign.