Direct quote from Matthew Kelly’s Rediscovering Catholicism (which just happened to be on the bookshelf in the chapel during my Holy Hourandahalf last week):
The reason prayer and contemplation are so integral to the Christian life is because thought determines action. Thought determines action, and so the actions of your life are determined by your most dominant thoughts.
Certain thoughts give birth to certain actions. With each passion day God invites you to change, to grow, and to become a better version of yourself. God loves you as you are, but he loves you too much to let you stay that way.
Kelly continues in this vein for a while, and I didn’t write down page numbers so I can’t properly cite the passages (librarian fail) but his conclusion to this line of thinking rests in the discernment of a vocation. As such, he says that there is but one question that, when actively and earnestly sought, can lead one to actual happiness in this earthly world: “God, what do you think I should do?”
Ah, a reminder unlike any other – the best part of this question is that it’s never old, or tired, or cliche. It’s the timeless question. Sure, there are times of the day where I don’t need to ask it – for example, the answer to “should I make coffee this morning” is always yes, because I believe in a loving God – but there’s never really a time in life where I can say “by George, I’ve got it! I understand everything now and know exactly how it’s all going to go down!”
With that out of the way, there have been a number of times in life where I’ve said “repeat the quote that concludes the paragraph above”. Apparently I don’t always get the memo the first time around. But isn’t that the beauty? Every time I’ve figured out that I’ve gotten it wrong because I’ve stopped, looked, and listened, and realized to start asking “God, what do you think I should do?” Is it sad that it sometimes takes me trying to be in complete control and failing miserably at it to remember this? Sure, it’s sad. But it’s also the beauty of redemption – one failing does not a failure make, whatsoever.
Simple thoughts? Perhaps, but if our thoughts determine our actions, then perhaps thinking more about remembering to cede control of those aspects of life I can’t control to the God who wants to be a guiding force will lead me to act more in ways that recognize this truth. And based on previous experience, that would definitely be a positive change.