Have you heard the saying ‘kids say the darndest things’? Because of their innocence and lack of guile, children often say things or ask questions that completely take us by surprise.
Well, to me, God says the darndest things. When I was badgering him to tell me my mission in life as a 17 yr old, he shot back with, “Are you willing to suffer for me?” When I complained once that he was very bossy, he retorted with, “And you’re not?”
Then, after having called me to serve him, he asked me just this past Sunday during a mass where the homily was about our calling to be prophets, “Are you willing to renounce your intelligence? Are you willing to renounce your calling as my prophet?”
Just a day before, I had been browsing one of Thomas Merton’s books and I had read a reflection he wrote – that he knows he has to renounce even his priesthood before he dies. That is, to empty himself completely and to die to himself. And then here I was, attending my Lord at his table, and he asks me if I can renounce my intelligence and my calling to serve him.
Yes, I realize I cannot as yet die to myself completely. But I can feel the desire to do so. What he is asking of me is if I can give the reins of control in my life – even the use of my intelligence and of my vocation to him. It is easy to want to serve the Lord but to cling on to control, to decide for myself how I wish to serve him, and to decide which gifts I will use and how to use them. But that’s not surrender – that’s still living my life on my terms. God is telling me that only if I renounce control over my will, my intellect, my calling – everything that has given me identity and direction – can I become truly free to be used as his instrument.
Today I discovered that a prayer of surrender that I had typed out and put into my Bible years ago was written by St. Ignatius. It expresses everything I wish to ask for – I hope I will truly begin to live this prayer with my life.
Prayer of Surrender
Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me: I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.