We often complain about living in troubled times. Indeed, these days are filled with challenges. Some have been around for a long time. Others are relatively new. Some are of our own making. Others are imposed upon us. The example of our Lord should give us courage.
As we read and reflect on the Gospels for Holy Week, we are struck by an overwhelming fact — our Lord obediently embraces the Will of the Father. This embrace is more than mere acceptance, as when we resign ourselves to some inconvenience or obstacle to our plans. Our Lord truly takes upon Himself the sufferings that the Father has willed for Him. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He will pray: “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!” (Matthew 26:42). What else can explain the openness of our Lord, when He says to Judas, “What you are going to do, do quickly” (John 13:27)?
“Your will be done” is a powerful admission of trust in the Divine Will. It means full confidence that what is happening is for a greater purpose, a greater good, and that no matter what suffering it involves there will be a meaningful accomplishment of a proper end. “Your will be done” also communicates freedom, because only someone truly free can submit in such a way. Our Lord said it the night before He died. We say it every time we pray the Our Father. Such an embrace of the Will of God saves us from being lukewarm.
Pope Pius XI, who lived to see the menacing rise of Nazism in Germany and Fascism in Italy, once said: “I thank God every day that He has allowed me to live in these times. Good and evil are ranged against each other in a gigantic struggle. We can be proud to take part in this battle. Now no one has a right to mediocrity.”