BE DONE (Our Father, Word by Word)

Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done . On Sunday we heard Jesus speak the words, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” Thy will be done, he says. And then he is abandoned, betrayed, ridiculed, tortured and nailed to a cross. This is what always makes me a little nervous about the subject of God’s will: Though God never actively wants suffering for us, sometimes it is his will to permit it to happen. Sometimes it’s... Read More

WILL (Our Father, Word by Word)

Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom Come, Thy… . by Dorian Speed When Jennifer first asked me to write a guest post, I was honored. And I knew just the word to choose: “Will.” About five minutes later, the ramifications of this choice hit me hard. “WHY COULDN’T I HAVE PICKED ‘AND?'” I asked the heavens, rhetorically. I mean — this simple word (a four-letter word, at that) encompasses so many of the essential debates within Christianity. Are we predestined for salvation?... Read More

The secret of discernment

St. Francis at San Damiano I’ve been thinking about the topic of discernment again lately (longtime readers know that this is a big area of fascination for me). How do I know what God wants me to do in this or that situation? If I have a bunch of good options in front of me, which one do I choose? This is the sort of thing I ponder when I’m loading the dishwasher. Of all the stacks of books I’ve read on this subject, one vignette keeps coming to mind: the famous story of St. Francis of Assisi receiving the message from God in the... Read More

Granularity of prayer

I spend a lot of time thinking about how prayers of petition work. (Truth be told, one of my first thoughts after discovering that God exists was, “SO HOW DO I GET HIM TO GIVE ME WHAT I WANT?!” Which is why the title of my book will not be Adventures in Spiritual Maturity.) On the one hand, I know that we are supposed to ask God for what we want, and that he does “answer prayers” in the sense of granting our requests. On the other hand, it couldn’t possibly work that way all the time. After all, if God were to give... Read More

Does God speak through randomness?

Or, What’s up with seeking guidance by opening the Bible to a random page? Photo by Matthew Rogers One of the things I’ve never gotten clarity on is whether or not it’s recommended that Christians seek answers from God through chance, e.g. opening the Bible to a random page and reading whatever you first lay your eyes on, or rolling dice and choosing a certain path depending on which number comes up. At first I assumed that this must be a categorically bad idea because: It seems like it’s an attempt to boss God around somehow,... Read More

Crying because I can’t follow God’s will…or my will?

A couple months ago I got it into my head that I was called to go to daily Mass. I’d been going to Adoration a lot and had repeatedly felt a strong prompting that I needed to receive the Eucharist more than just once a week, so I decided to try it. It sounded really difficult to pull that off while in the third trimester of pregnancy with three kids under five, but it was also kind of exciting to feel called to do something so unusual and challenging. I’d also heard about the great graces that my friend Abigail had seen after taking... Read More

Looking for the tow truck driver

Coming from atheism, the whole concept of there being a personal God who is somehow involved in all that we do was amazing…and intimidating…and confusing. As anyone who has read my 2007 archives knows, for many months I was fascinated with the concept of knowing exactly what God’s plans were for all the little details of my life. I looked everywhere for signs: did my invitation to a friend’s wedding get lost in the mail because I wasn’t supposed to go? Did my computer crash while writing for my blog because God didn’t... Read More

Knock, knock. Who’s there? A clue.

My post from Friday about St. Frances of Rome was supposed to be up on Thursday. After a fun but completely mentally and physically exhausting day, Thursday afternoon I put the kids down for their naps and flopped into my desk chair for my daily quiet time. It was like a taste of heaven itself to sink into the comfy chair and experience the placid silence of the house. All the cares of the day melted away as I opened up a new document to share yet another way in which God has worked in my life. As usual, the practice of putting the words together,... Read More

Anxiety is easier

Last week St. Francis de Sales and some bad programming at Google Maps led me to one of the biggest realizations I’ve had this year: that anxiety = not trusting God. For a long time I knew that stress about certain individual matters was due to a prideful insistence that I had the best plan for how this or that situation needed to turn out. But it has been quite stunning to realize that every single time I am anxious, it is due to a lack of trust in God. So, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been trying to work on this by making a conscious... Read More

Part II: What happened when I decided to trust God

OK, since a couple people asked, I’ll share the rest of the story that I alluded to in my previous post: what happened when I decided to let go of my anxiety and just trust God. (I hope my atheist readers are taking a break from blog reading today. They’ll think I’ve lost my mind once and for all!) So there I was, driving around a dark neighborhood, a zillion anxious thoughts running through my head: “I cannot believe I’m running late AGAIN! Am I ever going to be on time for anything again now that I have kids?! And... Read More

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