Bishop Ricken

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The Most Rev. David L. Ricken is the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay.

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The will of God

By | May 6, 2009

I realized that I often get in the way of God’s will, thinking that I am doing the best thing. This is something that is easy for all those in leadership to do.

Sometimes I realized that I and others tried to do more than God wanted and at times even to force something to be done. It was more than he wanted in the situation. Sometimes I noticed that I and others did far less than God was asking because of fear or for some other reason, like doing things from consideration of human respect, how others might view us. And so I added the words to the prayer “nothing more and nothing less.”

The prayer became “Lord, help me to do your will, nothing more and nothing less.”

I lived with that prayer and began to pray it often throughout the day. I had been reading some of the writings of a well known Italian mystic, Luisa Piccaretta, a contemporary of Padre Pio in Italy, who has voluminous writings on the “divine will.”

As I observed myself and others in action, I realized that I often want to rush the will of God. He does not seem to answer my prayers nearly as quickly as I think he ought.

As I observed so many answered prayers, it dawned on me that God answered the prayers far better than I had asked or imagined and far more completely, and right on time.

As a dear friend often reminds me, “God is seldom on time but he is never late.” A moment sooner would not have been nearly as suited to the situation as when the answer to the prayer came. Sometimes people were not healed for a long time, but in the meantime, the whole family had returned to the church and then the person was healed. Often, projects that need financial support were not supported until the very last minute.

The result was that I grew in faith along with others and we learned to trust Divine Providence a great deal more. It was time to add another pair of phrases to the prayer. “Lord help me to do your will, nothing more and nothing less. Help me to do your will, not a moment sooner nor a moment later than you will it.”

I offer this prayer to you as so many have asked for it and I hope it is helpful to your journey of faith:

Lord, help me to do your will,
nothing more and nothing less.
Help me to do your will,
not a moment sooner nor a moment later
than you will it. Amen.

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