Desire To Please

St Mark's Cathedral

Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Venice, Italy, 2012

“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, … Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.”  Luke 24:13-16

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Catholic, Trappist Monk.  He penned many books, prayers, and thoughts on spirituality, many of which became a life-line to lost souls.

Most of us desire to be good and do good.  We wish life could be that simple.  Instead, we are presented with life situations that cause us to make choices.  Sometimes those choices are not exactly clear.  We may find ourselves confused and not knowing which way to turn.

There have been times in my life when I was not sure I was going in the right direction.  I desired to follow God’s will, to live out His plan for my life, but I honestly couldn’t say what that was.  Basically, I was loping along, reacting to life as it came my way.  Enjoying it, but not completely sure I was on the right path.

One of those time periods came when I was a very young, married woman.  My husband and I had returned to college for his Master’s Degree.  I was working at the university to support us.  We were in a kind of limbo, waiting for the new beginning that would come after graduation.  Every Sunday we attended Mass at the Catholic Church across the street from campus.  I remember a special prayer on the back of the Missal.  It was a prayer written by Thomas Merton, a prayer of abandonment and trust.  This prayer brought me great comfort, and hope.  It relieved some of the pressure of not knowing, of not having all the answers.  I realized that the desire to do His will may be more important than actually knowing I am doing His will.  I have never forgotten how this prayer made me feel.

I would like to share this beautiful prayer with you.  My hope, my prayer, for those of you in need, is that you will find the same kind of solace in its words as I did.  And, may God bless you on your faith journey as you desire to please Him.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.  I do not see the road ahead of me.  I cannot know for certain where it will end.  Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually do so.  But I believe that that the desire to please you does in fact please you.  And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.  I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.  And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.  Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.  I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.    (Thomas Merton)

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