The Chaplain's Notebook


“…that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” — Colossians 1:9

People think different things when they hear the words “God’s will.” Some think we are locked into a predetermined movie script we have been given. Our roles are spelled out before we are born — to either be religious or not, deputy or teacher and so on. As if our roles are played by actors forced to memorize and deliver lines. We are not at liberty to like them or not. Seen in this light, we are not free.

Experience shows us that this way of seeing the world can fall short. It brings us no joy. Nor do I believe it is accurate! We are not robotic machines. Our lives are an unfolding collaboration in which God is the creative and, yes, joyful screenwriter. And if we are the actors, we are working together to make the show a success.

God does not limit our creativity or freedom. God loves it when we improvise and try to move the story forward.

So what is one way that we can work together with our divine Author? According to St. Paul, it happens as we develop “spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Colossians 1:9). Does that sound like some big, academic concept? Paul does not mean it that way. He believed spiritual wisdom and understanding go hand in hand with learning to love ourselves, others and our world. Not so intimidating, right?

We become wiser when we allow ourselves a few moments in prayer or meditation to review our day and ask ourselves where we saw God at work in and around us. Maybe we were prompted to enjoy a beautiful sunrise. Maybe we were moved to reach out to a family in crisis. Maybe God helped us to respond to an incident, not out of anger, but with a calm eye toward the spirit of the law.

These are just a few examples, of course. I am sure you have many of your own. And if you can treat yourself to the habit of reviewing your day, I hope you will slowly begin to see how God is leading and guiding you. I hope you can begin to understand what is asked of you and what God’s will is for you on a daily basis to freely accept or not.

You do not have to have all the answers right away. This is not a test, not a cause for worry or stress. No one knows the whole script. And no one says this is always easy or that bad things do not happen in our world.

But if we work with our Author one day at a time and trust that our Author is working with us, then…
In some mysterious, slow, almost whispered, way, we can sense that our divine Author loves us more than we can ever know … and wants us to be happy.
“Father, help me be more attentive to your presence every day.” — Psalm 98:2-6; Luke 5:1-11
Credit to “Meditation: Colossians 1:9-14.” The Word Among Us. September 7, 2017.

How can I contact a chaplain? Chaplains are available at their unit of assignment, or by calling the Psychological Services Bureau at (213) 738-3500. Ichaplain? Chaplains are available at their unit of assignment, or by calling the Psychological Services Bureau at (213) 738-3500.