Wednesday, April 14, 2010

God Needs No Ultimatum

One of the most quoted Gospel passage is John 3:16, "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life!" I remember one of our theology professor asked us the reason why God loved the world? We gave our answers in the best and perfect reason why God loved us so much. After we have exhausted all possible answers, he told us that our answers were excellent but the truth is, the passage did not say it. It only says that He loved us and that love is unconditional! God loves us! That's it. No ifs, no buts. Nothing we have or we can do that will merit us that love. Before and after our creation, he loved us! By virtue of that, we must busy ourselves thanking him for being so with us.

Also, we must be the same with him. Our relationship with him must also be unconditional. We do not relate to him just because we benefit from him. We do not pray to him because he grants our wishes. We do not love him because..... . We must love him, period! It is unfortunate if we attach conditions and when they are not met by God, our relation with him is affected. Worse, we wane or even abandon our relationship with him. We act as if we can live without him.

I remember when I was still a deacon and I was about two months before my ordination to the priesthood. My throat was weak. I could not speak for more than an hour. I brought my situation before the Lord. I told him how ineffective I would be if my voice will only be good for an hour. How can I preside in masses, give recollections, seminars, and retreats, etc.? I went to the doctor and I was told to rest my throat for a month! Well, it seemed I had no choice. But I kept on praying. Ordination came and I was still in the same condition. I was very sad but I got to resign myself in that situation. If it is the way God will make me serve him, then so be it! In my early years in the priesthood, I will always find myself arranging my schedules so that I will have time to rest my voice. A lot of times I would decline invitations to have mass or give recollections precisely because I will not have the voice to do them. Some people found it unusual for a new priest like me. There were some who were angry at me! They could not understand and believe my reason. It was painful for me. I really wanted to serve but I could not. but, God had given me his answer. I was once tempted to give him an ultimatum to stop my ministry if I would not have my voice. But he gave me the grace to be humble. And I realize that I could not impose conditions on him. It was the situation he had given me, I will serve him through that capacity. I knew that exacting conditions at him will go nowhere.

I continued to serve accordingly. But I tried to help myself by constantly going to the doctor. The doctor told me that I had weakened my throat due to abused talking in my previous years. Before I entered the seminary, I was a professor in a university. I remembered really abusing my voice during those teaching years. Now, I am suffering its consequences. The doctor told me hat I can recover if I will take care of my voice. I did. After some time, I just realized, I had recovered. Thanks be to God!

Had I stuck to my conditions and not proceeded in serving, I would have allowed myself (or the devil) prevail and I would not have served at all or worse, not entered ordination. Truly, trust in God should always guide us. He knows what he is doing. Our human conditions may tell us one thing. But the divine wisdom is always supreme. Truly, God's unconditional love deserves an unconditional faith response!