In this Sunday’s epistle and Gospel reading, we are taught about the gift of discernment of spirits.
Each of us seeks to know God’s will for us in our everyday lives. And, we know in faith that God does not keep his will permanently hidden from us, so that a sincere effort to know his will is certain to succeed. Whether we desire to know whether to seek priesthood, sisterhood, married life or just to know how best to spend our free time, God is eager to enlighten our minds.
St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians teaches us about the variety of gifts given by the Holy Spirit in the Church for her upbuilding. This teaches us that self-knowledge begins in recognizing that your talents and achievements are given by God, and that they should be shared generously with the Church.
When we see others’ gifts, we should avoid a mentality of competition and instead seek a mentality of contribution. We can think, “That person has gifts, and I have mine, and I should concentrate on making the best contribution that I can make.”
Second, we hear in the Gospel that Jesus listened to his mother in discerning what to do at Cana. God’s will is often manifested to us through the instruments of our family, friends, the saints and the Church community.
We grow by listening to what others need. And, after listening to them, we need to take some time in silence to ask God to confirm or deny the proposal. In silence, our consciences can consult the truths given to us in our faith and in rightly ordered reason. Beyond this, if we are growing in the grace and love of God, he will confirm his will in us through giving us a sense of peace and rest when we pray about the option.
Finally, when we are open to God’s will in our discernment, we should be prepared for surprises.
The wedding party at Cana did not expect the fine wine that Jesus miraculously produced late in the feast. And just as Jesus raised something good (water) into something better (fine wine), he takes our gifts and our weaknesses, our holiness and our sinfulness, and works through us in ways we never would have expected.
Our age is one beset by challenges and hostility to our Catholic faith and morals. But the Christian view of history assures us that God always surprises when hope seems to be lost.
Who would have predicted that St. Benedict’s retreat with a few friends would soon lead to the foundation of thousands of monasteries throughout Europe? Who could have foreseen St. Francis of Assisi leading thousands to follow Christ in poverty? Who saw the Jesuits coming in the 16th century? And who can fathom the new ecclesial movements since the Second Vatican Council?
God. And hopefully you, who try to discern his will.
Deacon Andrew Jaspers is in formation for the priesthood at St. Paul Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His home parish is the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, and his teaching parish is Epiphany in Coon Rapids.
Sunday, Jan. 20, Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
- Isaiah 62:1-5
- 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
- John 2:1-11
What has helped you to discern God’s will for your life?