When we talk about the will of God, we enter uncharted territory. The discourse about God’s will is problematic because it deeply touches the dimension of human freedom. Around this issue, we tend to live a certain kind of schizophrenia, many times unconsciously. As Michel Rondet (Jesuit) observes: on one hand it would be ideal – and perhaps we also would prefer – that in those moments of life where we face darkness and doubt, we come to know the will of God. Like that, we won’t face the difficulty of making choices, and it would also be very convenient for us.
On the other hand, it is clear that the image of a God who knows everything because as an omnipotent being he should foresee the whole design of human history without causing him any surprise creates a problem. Over the centuries, this has been the subject of big philosophical debates. The final result of such a conception is an image of a monstrous God. This image of God is unacceptable as it takes away the beauty of the person’s ability to be the creator of his own life and determine his own choices. Therefore, it is clear that something is not quite right. If man decides to turn to God, it is because he believes in his heart that this God can respond to a desire for happiness and a full life. This can only occur in the person’s space of freedom. Those who are not free, are not happy.
In this regard Simone Weil, a French thinker and philosopher of Jewish origin who lived in the early twentieth century, came very close to Catholic thought (albeit non converting to Catholicism) in her work “Waiting on God”. This book talks about how, in her own spiritual experience, there was a moment where she conceived “vocation” as a fundamentally predetermined existence in each single event. This can be profoundly liberating observes Weil, as it frees one from the risk of making wrong and unauthentic choices about one’s own life.
In a sense, it takes away the worry of making choices. But it also takes away the freedom, and in my opinion, it shows the fear of committing mistakes. How can such a life be truly happy?
In the history of salvation, the concept of covenant between God and man is fundamental. We can mention the covenant of the first fathers, that of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and finally the New Covenant of Jesus. The covenant can only come about thanks to the conversion of two free wills. Undeniably, God has a will or a desire in our respect, and it is one whereby as unique and free beings, we come to realize ourselves. God couldn’t have created us if not to be who we are and to realize our full potential. Otherwise, it would be a contradiction in terms! The Will of God also deeply respects what is our will to respond to His Love, a Love which is total and unconditional. This means that true perfection and omnipotence of God is in love. If this Love is authentic, it gives itself completely, but leaves the other free to respond accordingly (it is, infact, unconditional). If one really loves, then one does not love with hidden interests.
Using a metaphor, we can say that the Lord gives us the colors, but leaves it to us to colour-in our life. We can decide: whether we want to do it by ourselves or together with Him. God leaves us free.
If we draw out our life with Him, it will be a drawing of love, of full freedom and the full realization of our personhood, as ultimately, God has no other will than this.