THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Third Sunday After The Epiphany
23 January 2022
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God gave His fiat at the beginning of creation, and it was done. He said: "Let there be light," and there was light. The Will of God brought all things into existence. In the Blessed Virgin Mary, we see at the Annunciation that God asked her will as well.
God can do all things with the simple act of His Will, but He desires that we unite our wills with His. He has given us free wills, and He desires to respect our choices. God does not force Heaven upon us, but He freely gives Heaven to those who genuinely want or will to enter into Heaven. In the Blessed Mother, God asked her to become the Mother of God. He did not force this upon her. Her will is sacred to God, and He would not force His Will upon her.
With Mary's fiat (the expression of her will in complete uniformity with the Will of God), then and only then did God become Man. The power of her will united to the Will of God allowed the Holy Ghost to form the Sacred Humanity of Jesus from her blood.
In the public life of Jesus, we see Him perform many miracles. If we are paying close attention, we soon discover that in addition to the Will of Jesus, He also required conformity of the wills of people.
In today's Gospel, we see two miracles. The first is a leper approaching Jesus as He descended from the mountain. The Leper says to Jesus: "If You Will, you can make me clean." The leper expressed his will or desire to Jesus to be cleaned, but he expressed it in such a manner that we understand that he only wants to be cured if that is God's Will for him. The moment that Jesus expressed God's Will that the man be made clean, he was. There were no longer any obstacles in the way of his cure. God willed his cure, and the leper united his will with the Will of God, and the miracle was accomplished.
The second miracle that Jesus performed in the Gospel passage we read today is of the Centurion who came to obtain the cure of his servant who was at home paralyzed with palsy. When Jesus says that He will accompany the Centurion home to cure his servant, the Centurion protests his unworthiness as well as his faith in the Word of Jesus (the expression of the Will of Jesus). "Lord, only say the word, and my servant will be healed."
The will of the Centurion was clear, and as soon as Jesus expressed the same Will or desire, the servant of the Centurion was healed. In the Gospel, it appears that the Centurion's will was first, and then God formed His Will to the will of the Centurion. This is far from reality. It was God who inspired the Centurion with the necessary desire for the cure of his servant as well as the faith that was necessary to go and seek this from Jesus. God already Willed to heal the Centurion's servant before the Centurion even knew his servant needed help. God formed the prayer in the Centurion's heart because He desired to work this miracle for him. God does not wish to impose upon us but asks each of us to formulate our own fiat.
Perhaps the most significant obstacle in the way of our obtaining so many graces from God is the lack of our own fiat. Many of God's gifts are dependent upon our willing or desiring them. He is waiting for us to ask. He says: "Ask that your joy may be made full. The reason you have not received it is that you have not asked." In effect, the expression of our petitions is the expression of our wills. When our intentions are entirely in line with God's Will, then we are sure to obtain what we desire.
As we advance in the way of perfection, we find we are uncertain what we should petition God for, so the saints show us that we only need to place ourselves completely in the hands of God. We form our will to do whatever God wills us to do. "Lord, not my will, but Thine be done." "I am Yours, O Lord, do with me what You will." Again, in the words of Mary, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy Word."
It is not wrong for us to seek things from God in our prayers of petition. We often do not truly know what we want or what is good or best for us. Hence in all our petitions, we must will that we only receive this gift if it is God's Will that we receive it. Then, if God refuses our entreaties, we are at peace with that because that is, in turn, exactly what we want. This is the conformity to God's Holy Will that we need to strive for. We are at peace when God gives and when He takes away. It is all for the best, and we are grateful for this. This is true faith and genuine love of God. If we consider today's Gospel well, we will see this in both the Leper and the Centurion. Now, let us produce this faith and love of God's Holy Will in our own hearts and souls.
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