And they all prayed together, saying: You, Lord, know the hearts of men; make your choice known to us. You, not we. Appropriately they said that he knew the hearts of men, because the choice was to be made by him, not by others.
They spoke with such confidence, because someone had to be appointed. They did not say "choose" but make known to us the chosen one; the one you choose, they said, fully aware that everything was preordained by God.
~ From a homily on the Acts of the Apostles by St. John
Each one of us has been called from eternity, brought into being to fulfill a particular mission. We all have a place, we all are called. We have been created with specific gifts, to obtain specific knowledge, specific education, and even to undergo specific sufferings. (That's not to say that God wills the latter only that He brings a greater good out of that which He knows will occur.)
This reading got my attention today, for I can recognize in it the profound truth of the prayers offered, and the deep humility required in order to be removed from the "choice".
NONE of us chose to be born; we were chosen. We were called into being, from eternity to become a part of eternity.
But if we don't understand this, how can we understand what it means to make a choice? Can we really choose?
We as Catholics don't believe in predestination, for such a man-made dogma is contrary to free will. God has a plan for us, but He does not infringe upon our free will. We always have a choice...accept God's will, or reject it.
What the Apostles recognized was the importance of removing themselves and their preferences from the conversations. Not their will...but God's will be done. It was Jesus' prayer of agony in the garden of Gethsemane. A prayer of unity with God's own will.
We all need to adopt this prayer and make it our own. Jesus showed us how to do it. The Apostles followed suit as they sought to complete the Twelve (to replace Judas)...God's will, not theirs, be done.
We have to recognize that every moment is an opportunity for grace; every moment we can offer for sanctification, simply by asking God what HIS choice is, and then abandoning ourselves to His providence.
As we make big life decisions, it is critical that we take a step back, spend time in prayer, and ask not, "What should I choose," but rather, "What have YOU chosen for me?"
All of life is a revelation of God's Divine Love for us; but are we willing to accept that? Are we willing to allow God to reveal His will..and are we willing to follow where He is leading?