“Go for it,” I responded.
“Is it hard to be ordained?” she asked.
Well, I must confess, I did not see that question coming so I replied, “Interesting question. Is there something in particular that you are wondering about?” She paused for a moment and then said, “It just seems like it would be really hard to always be holy all the time.” Oy! We are going into the deep water here, I thought to myself.
“Let me start by sharing one of my favorite prayers.”
“Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated to you; and then use us, we pray, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” AMEN. (BCP 832)
And then I offered, “It’s called the Prayer of Self Dedication and it’s one I pray most every day. Because the fact of the matter is, ordained or not, it can be a challenge to live a faithful life. I find this prayer a way to daily recommit myself to live life, I believe, as God calls us all to.”
After a moment or two of silence she said, “I really like the part about drawing our hearts, and guiding our minds and filling our imaginations, but controlling our wills… I am not too certain about that!” I could feel a big smile on my face and without reservation I replied, “Couldn’t agree more!” The shock on her face made me smile all the more. “What? That surprises you that I would be challenged by that as well?” I asked. “Seriously,” I continued. “It’s hard for all of us.”
We walked on a little further and then I suggested to her, “How about this, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done’… I’ve heard you pray that with the rest of the group countless times…”
“Right…” she said slowly. “So…are we not asking God every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer that we are about God’s will, not ours?” We walked for a while in silence and then she said, “Well… when you put it like that… it makes more sense.”
I gave her (and me) a moment to reflect, and then I jumped into the deep water again. “So, your question about being holy is a challenge for all of us. Because holiness, in the end, is about not our will, but ‘Your will be done’. The more we can let go of our will and praying for God’s will, the more we can live as God’s holy people.”
May our Lenten journey continue to be an opportunity for us to move away from our will and to move closer to God’s will.