One of the questions for chapter 7 of A Well-Built Faith is “What does it mean that we can know a mystery but not fully understand it?” I think my story about God’s Will is an example of knowing a mystery, but not fully understanding it.
The first day of my first catechism lesson, I learned the purpose of my life was “to know, love, and serve God in this world” in order to gain the happiness of heaven and to see God face-to-face forever. I was just six years of age! But, I just KNEW! From then on I would often wonder, “How is this—whatever I was doing at the time—helping me to know, love, and serve God?” Truly, I ardently desired to be in alignment with God’s will in that way.
Later in life, my teen years, I still walked this path, but sometimes I was concerned, even quite anxious, that there was something more specific to know about God’s Will for my life. I figured he had a purpose for me that I must fulfill, or else. I agonized over that. Little by little and over a long time I saw that God’s Will for me is to flourish in the situations that come my way. Fr. Walter Ciszek, author of He Leadeth Me, put it this way.
The simple soul who each day makes a morning offering of “all the prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day”—and who then acts upon it by accepting unquestioningly and responding lovingly to all the situations of the day as truly sent by God—has perceived with an almost childlike faith the profound truth about the will of God. …. The plain and simple truth is that his will is what he actually wills to send us each day, in the way of circumstances, places, people, and problems. The trick is to learn to see that—not just in theory, or not just occasionally in a flash of insight granted by God’s grace, but every day. Each of us has no need to wonder about what God’s will must be for us; his will for us is clearly revealed in every situation of every day, if only we could learn to view all things as he sees them and send them to us.
Intellectually I knew God’s Will at a very young age, and I even acted on it in faith, but my understanding has grown and will continue to grow. I won’t fully understand until I reach the goal: heaven—life of union with God.