God's Extraordinary Plan for You
Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them
if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and
if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.
~ Saint Ignatius of Loyola
God has something extraordinary planned for your life.
Let me say that again slowly because it's really important.
God has something extraordinary planned for your life!
In our fast-paced, highly technological world, this statement might sound a bit lofty, but the lives of millions of souls who have come before us attest to this simple truth:
God has a wonderful plan in store for you.
God wants you to be happy. He wants you to experience His unfailing compassion. He wants you to feel the warmth of mercy and to share His love with others. God wants you to know that you exist for a reason. Discovering God's plan for your life is rather easy, yet, to be honest, somewhat difﬁcult, too. It starts with saying yes to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to guide you. Living a God-afﬁrming life is ultimately a decision that each of us needs to make. Sometimes it can be a tough decision. Does saying yes to God mean saying no to the secular world? To an extent it does, but let me tell you, the exchange rate is in your favor when you trade in your old life for a new life in Christ! The chaos, noise, and distractions of secular society lure millions of souls away from God. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are heroic role models who exist or have existed in the din of all this craziness, yet have still lived deeply spiritual lives. In fact, their heroic mission in life was to make the lives of those around them more, well, humane.
Let's look at Mother Teresa as one such heroic example. Mother thrived spiritually even in the squalor and uncertainty of a country where thousands died from malnutrition and hardship every day! She took what some would call the throwaways of life, people few thought of as human, and helped them to regain their human dignity. With trustful surrender to God's Divine providence, Mother Teresa left the security of the Loreto Sisters convent in India with ﬁ ve rupees and wearing a sari to accept a life of poverty, living among the poorest Indians. She took up her mission in the slums of Calcutta not knowing where she would make a home or how she would survive. She put total trust in God that since He gave her the mission, He would take care of her. Interestingly, as recent books have indicated, even Mother Teresa struggled with her faith. But you know what? She knew her purpose in life and trusted the Holy Spirit to lead the way. This isn't to say she didn't have moments when she may have struggled or doubted, yet she consistently maintained a clear vision of what she had to do: love and serve God and others. Each of us, not just Mother Teresa, is also called to love and serve. It is God's will for His children.
YOU CAN BECOME A HERO OF THE FAITH
Mother Teresa, granted, is an extreme example of sacriﬁcial love and service in a vocational calling. You probably know more people unlike her than you do people like her. You probably know people who are indifferent to the spiritual life, who have generally forgotten God and devoted themselves entirely to the pursuit of what they believe to be success and happiness. This is why I wrote this book-to share with you and the people around you proven ways to enter into a deeper relationship with God and His Church, and to help bring your relatives and neighbors home to our universal Catholic family as well.
The fundamental core mission of this book is to help you become a lay witness of the New Evangelization. What does this mean? Being a lay witness of the New Evangelization is about breaking out of your nine- to- ﬁve routine in order to live a more heroic Catholic life, a destiny designed not just for priests and nuns, nor intended just for deacons and monks, but for you and me, the ordinary folks in the pews. We must be witnesses who attest to the wonders of being in a covenant relationship with the resurrected Christ, and who live as active members of His family, the Holy Catholic Church. By learning and sharing your Catholic faith, you too can experience the greatest adventure of your life as you give yourself more completely, more passionately, to the will of God and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It all boils down to doing one thing: surrendering yourself to Divine Providence, trusting that God will provide you with everything you need.
In order to begin on this path, ﬁrst learn your faith; after all, you cannot give what you do not have. The Most Reverend David L. Ricken, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, said, "In order to evangelize, a person must ﬁrst be evangelized. This is really at the heart of the New Evangelization."
There is more: You must be receptive to being ﬁ lled with Christ's mercy, grace, and love. Once you are immersed in the love of Christ, you can better share His love with others.
The time for us to act is now, since the world keeps moving faster, and more and more of our loved ones are being drawn away from the Catholic faith. Many drift away from God altogether. Atheism and agnosticism are growing at alarming rates. The Church and the world are in dire need of true Christian witnesses, authentic and dedicated heroes of the faith, modern- day saints who will help lead more souls to heaven. You have been called to be one of these hero-saints!
Leon Bloy, a French novelist and fervent convert to Catholicism, once wrote, "There is only one tragedy in the end . . . not to have been a saint." Our Lord's greatest desire for you is to become a saint, to be holy. In 2 Timothy 1:9 Saint Paul says, "[God] saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago."