Always Discern in Light of the 4 Last Things
When discerning a decision rightly, we must shift our focus from "what do I want?" to asking "God, what do you want?" I have dedicated many blog posts to finding and knowing your vocation and other life choices in this world. But there's another layer beneath all of this that I haven't focused on much: the world beyond this life. As Stephen Covey says, "begin with the end in mind."
Death, Judgement, Heaven , Hell
I'm singing a sassy gospel rendition of "Swing low, sweet chariot, coming fo' to carry me home..." in my head as I write this. There's a question of paramount importance that keeps coming to me as I discern decisions:
Who am I trying to please???
That is an extremely challenging question. Am I trying to please my parents with my choice of profession? Or my pride? Or a boyfriend or girlfriend by staying with them when I know it's not the right relationship for the long haul?
As you probably know, I have a speaking ministry and a podcast that I so enjoy contributing to (besides my blog.) Maybe it's because of the scandal in the Church that has brought up so many challenging issues starting last Summer, but I feel more strongly than ever that we ought to use whatever platform we have to do things that please God first, not people. My words must not ignore, but rather must acknowledge and challenge those things I see around me that need to change in the Church. When my words happen to please both God and people that's great, but God should always come first. As I crawl at a snail's pace through St. Faustina's diary, I came across her account of a vision that she had where she stood before God:
“Suddenly I saw the complete condition of my soul as God sees it. I could clearly see all that is displeasing to God. I did not know that even the smallest transgressions will have to be accounted for. What a moment! Who can describe it?”
I don't know about you, but those words really hit me in the heart. What does my soul look like to God? Ahhh! Run and hide Stacey! Or step it up and face it. Meditate on it. Pray about it. Let it inform every one of your choices.
In my other blog posts I discuss following those things that give you peace and finding the purpose God has in mind for you. Now is the time to decide not only what you are going to do, but also what kind of a Christian you're going to be. Thinking about the four last things has a way of crystallizing issues and forcing them into the light of truth. If it scares us to see ourselves in such a stark light, that must mean we have things to work on (and who doesn't have things to work on??)
Keep on fighting the good fight, my friends. And remember that, at the end of time, it is only God's opinion of you that matters. No parent, child, priest, bishop, friend, spouse, teacher, or authority will stand with you when you are judged by God. Okay, off to pray!