How to Attain a True Union With God





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"Many people would like to attain union with God but they cannot bear the contradictions he sends them. They hate the sickness which strikes them, or the poverty they suffer, or the insults they receive. Since they cannot be resigned, they never succeed in reaching total union with God." -- St Alphonsus de Liguori


      This statement by St. Alphonsus de Liguori, one of the greatest saints of the Catholic Church, may seem confusing or troubling for some people. But if we truly try to understand (through prayer, penance, reflection, patience, and listening to the voice of God) the truth of what this means, God will teach us a lot more about life, ourselves, and His Person, than what we have understood thus far.  So what is this statement trying to tell us?


      The first point we must consider is that to unite with God means to be one with Him in thought, word, action, desire, and will.  Our will must be totally One with the Divine Will of God.  God's Will must be our will! What God desires should be what we desire.  What God wants should be what we want.  What He favors should be what we favor.  And what He permits should be what we accept without complaining or resisting, but with total openness.


      The second point we must consider is that "the contradictions He sends them" is referring to what God permits us to experience.  In this message, the word "contradictions" is also a synonym for the word "adversity." Adversity, as you know, is the opposite of the word prosperity.  God permits us to go through different adversities for the good of our salvation. It serves many purposes.  So many people would like to attain union with God, but that would mean accepting what He permits without complaining or resisting, but with total openness.  That would mean, thinking, saying, and acting, in every situation, "Lord, your Will be done.  How sweet and good is Your Holy Will!"


      The third point we must consider is that nothing can happen in the world unless God permits it.  Nothing!  So, in a certain sense, it is God who sends these "contradictions" or adversities.  If we believe that we can get sick without God allowing it, or permitting it, at that moment, then we fail to believe that God is the King of the Universe, and in total control of everything.  Many times, when someone is going through a trial, people start immediately "rebuking" the devil.  Don't get me wrong.  Many times that may be necessary at some point or another, especially when God indicates it.  But many times this is done as if someone believed that the devil is trying someone, while God has His hands tied as if it they were tied by the devil himself.  We sometimes forget that we cannot be tried unless God permits it.  So we forget to ask ourselves at times, or even ask the Lord, why we are going through such and such a trial.  


      This, many times, is a lack of trust and total surrender to the Will of God.  Our pride and lack of faith in the Divine Providence cannot bear to think that the Will of God can permit adversities to come to us, and that God has complete power to prevent it, and chooses not to for the good of our salvation.  So we blame the devil, or someone else for our adversities, instead of saying to our Father in Heaven, as did Jesus when He was being persecuted by many people, including Judas, one of His disciples, and the devil himself, "Not My [human] will however, but Your Will be done." (Luke 22:42)  And we do this because we do not believe 100% that "God works all things for the good of those who love Him." (Romans 8:28)    


      It takes the firm belief that God is in control of everything, the virtue of humility, the desire to will what God Wills, desire what God desires, and accept without resistance what God permits, to attain total union with God. And when we do this, there is nowhere in the world where someone can find the peace that is within us, because it is the highest form of peace. The perfect peace of living in total union with God, in conformity to His Will.- Alvin Peña



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