Active Indifference

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.