By: Michele L.
Date: May 17, 2023
It is Holy Saturday. Our Lord’s body lies buried in the tomb; He who took on human nature so that He might endure all the sufferings of a creature in order to redeem us. We do not experience the same grief as the apostles must have felt, because we have the grace of knowing how this story ends. We wait in silent anticipation of His glorious resurrection. All is calm. This statement is attributed to the Holy event of Christmas in a well loved hymn, but never more than on this day can it be said that all is calm. Jesus’ suffering from His most horrific passion and death-is now past and all has been fulfilled.
Our Lord and Saviour completely submitted Himself to the will of His father in Heaven as an incarnated being. By our fallen nature we are inclined to sin through concupiscence, but Jesus had no sin in Him. From the moment of His conception, he experienced all the same physical and emotional needs, desires, and sufferings of humanity. His entire life on earth was sacrifice.
At His birth, Mary and Joseph would have been tempted to despair because the God of Heaven and earth was to be born in a barn. Joseph might have been tempted to feel himself a failure for not being able to provide an appropriate place for Mary to bear Her Divine Son. Both Mary and Joseph would have also known that Jesus, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, would have had foreknowledge of the manner of His birth. Mary and Joseph would have reverently and humbly allowed God to work through them to demonstrate to humanity the incredible bounty of His love by allowing Himself to be brought into this world in such a meek and simple way. Their submission to God’s perfect will required great faith, obedience, and trust.
When we look back on the history of salvation, we can see over and over again how the perfect will of God was contorted, disobeyed, and ignored through sin. In spite of this, His permissive will brings great good from the effects of the sins of the Chosen people. We continue to see and experience this even now. God sent Our Blessed Mother to warn the world through the apparitions to the three children of Fatima of the consequences of sin and the coming horrors of the Second World War. These warnings were not heeded and the events that had been prophesied came to be. Because Our Lord knew the condition of our fallen and broken world, He gave us the great Saints, Faustina Kowalska and Pope John Paull II, who each experienced the effects of these events. Their formation would not have been the same without the grave conditions that the two world wars imposed on all of us.
As Mary and Joseph did in Bethlehem, we must submit ourselves entirely to the perfect or permissive will of God the Father. It takes more effort to resist a flowing river than it does to simply surrender. There are many ways and times we must resist what seems easy in order to adhere to our convictions because the path of faith can be difficult to follow. On the other hand, when we resist the promptings of the Holy Spirit inviting us to simply let go, surrender, and allow Him to steer the boat, we waste so much time and effort. Often, God will use our resistance and the consequences of it through His permissive will to bring great good. But if we submit and surrender to His perfect will, the greatest good can and will be wrought with everlasting effects not just on our own souls, but of so many others.
Am I allowing God’s perfect will to rule in my life? Do I resist the promptings of the Holy Spirit guiding me towards that difficult path where Jesus waits to walk with me? Is there something I can do to change the direction I am travelling to allow the Lord to inform my conscience to bring about eternal effects for myself, my family, and my community? We will never be disappointed if we cast ourselves at the foot of the Cross of Christ and allow His once for all sacrifice to penetrate our entire being; trusting in His perfect will for which He was incarnated, lived, suffered, died, and rose from the dead to set the example for us. Jesus, I surrender. Jesus, I trust in You.