“God gives only to the extent that we efficaciously desire, that is, not merely wish something to happen, but take concrete means to fit ourselves to receive it”
“….to fit ourselves to receive it.” HMMMMM….. You mean I can’t just tell God what I want, and expect him to give it to me? Kinda like a Coke machine where I put the money (PRAYER) in, and tell the machine what I want (I’ll have a 7-UP today!). So, He doesn’t work that way….really??
We live today in a world of immediacy, a world of “I want what I want, when I want it, and how I want it….and I don’t care how I get it, and by the way, I want YOU to serve it to me because I deserve it!” kind of self-oriented attitude and demeanor. Unfortunately, the more turned inward we are upon ourselves and how wonderful we are, the less happy, content, and peaceful we are. The epidemic of depression and anxiety disorders viewed within the framework of the level of narcissism in our very secular/me-oriented society certainly seems to support this assertion. But, you don’t need to read peer-reviewed psychiatric literature to know this – just observe people, ponder what you see, and with a little old-fashioned common sense thrown in, I bet you’ll see what I and other like-minded people see. Look at the behavior, and look at the resultant fruit….
So, what to do? St. Teresa deftly and succinctly reminds us that we must seek out holiness to prepare our hearts to receive all that we are desiring of the Lord. He is our wise and loving Father, and as any good parent, will only give in the measure in which we are ready/capable/willing to receive. Sometimes, however, there may be a disconnect between what we think we want or need, and what God knows is best for us. For this very reason and others, our very wise spiritual mother St. Teresa of Avila is reminding us of our end of the bargain. (Wait….what? I have to DO something???) That is, we must ready ourselves through prayer, virtuous living, and uniting our minds and hearts with the mind and heart of Christ before we can expect to receive from the Lord the greatest measure of the good that we are asking for. And…indeed, many times, what we are asking may come in a very unexpected form that what our limited mind is expecting. We must be ready embrace our crosses as they come, for the hone us into the image of our Lord, remembering that He is about the greatest good for us and for the whole world.
Underlying the wisdom contained within this beautiful quote from St. Teresa of Avila is the need for unbridled trust in the love and mercy of God – in times of good and plenty, and in times of darkness and struggle. The more we grow in holiness, the more our desires and intentions are purified and aligned with the will of the Lord. Then – and only then – do we find true joy, authentic happiness, and magnificent peace that surpasses all understanding, no matter what our life situation is at any given moment.
Gotta love the wisdom of the saints!