When you consider the “Our Father” (or “the Lord’s Prayer” if you prefer), is there a particular part that stands out for you? I have never asked the question of people and parishioners, but based on other conversations, I suspect that “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others…” is a passage that particularly stands out. It reminds us of what grace and mercy we have received and the too-many-times we fail to be as merciful to others.Just the other day, the phrase “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven….” caught my attention in a way it has, perhaps, not done in the past. I wonder if discerning God’s will seemed way above my pay grade. I mean, who am I to think I have some special insight into the will of God? With God’s grace I do the best I can and trust that what I am doing is God’s will.
There are some choices I have made that were done only after a long period of discernment, e.g., becoming a Franciscan friar – six years from entering the postulancy before taking solemn vows and then a year later being ordained a priest. In that process I asked of myself, “Is this God’s will for me?” Seems like it was and is working out.
But I am less sure about discerning God’s will in other aspects of life. Consider the questions of “guns” that is all around us. It entails elements of ownership, licensing, safety, violence, category of weapons, red flag laws, ghost weapons, illegal sales, background checks, and a list of other factors and consideration. The topic of guns is certainly a hot topic about which people are passionate, divided, and sure the “other side” is wrong. My intent is not to rehearse one view or another, but to pose the question of God’s will in all of this.
In reading some online sources about the topic of guns, there have been a few articles in which “God’s will” has been invoked – from both sides of the topic. I found them all wanting, essentially amounting to: here is my position and the basis thereof – and of course this is God’s will because I am a faithful Christian. The first principle in the thought process was not God but something else. Perhaps the US Constitution or basic stance in life (e.g. passivity) reached via other means than discerning God’s will.
So, maybe my question is simply this: whatever your position on the topic of “guns” from where does your thinking begin? And where in the process have you considered “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Not easy to consider, but as Christians we are called to have God and God’s will as our first principle in our moral discernment.