Discerning the Will of God

January 13, 2024
Saturday of the First Week of Ordinary Time

Saint Hilary of Poitiers, Bishop and Doctor—Optional Memorial

As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed Jesus. Mark 2:14

How do you know the will of God for your life? In his spiritual classic, The Spiritual Exercises, Saint Ignatius of Loyola presented three ways in which we come to know the will of God. (See mycatholic.life/ignatius for more.) The first way is the clearest and most definitive way. It is a time in which the person experiences a “clarity beyond doubting” as a result of a special grace of God. In describing this experience, Saint Ignatius mentions the passage quoted above as an illustration of this experience.

There is little said about this call of Levi in the Gospel of Mark, which is also recorded in Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 9:9). Levi, who is also known as Matthew, was going about his occupation of collecting taxes at his customs post. It appears that Jesus spoke only these two simple words to Levi: “Follow me.” As a result of these two words, Levi abandons his former life and becomes a follower of Jesus. Why would Levi do such a thing? What was it that convinced him to follow Jesus? Clearly there was much more than just a two-word invitation from Jesus that convinced him to respond.

That which convinced Levi was a special grace of God which produced within his soul a “clarity beyond doubting.” Somehow Levi just knew that God was calling him to abandon his former life and embrace this new life. There was no long discussion, no weighing of the pros and cons, no prolonged thinking about it. Levi just knew, and he responded.

Though this form of clarity in life is rare, it’s important to be aware of the fact that sometimes God does act this way. This is a great gift when it happens! And though this depth of instant clarity is not always the way God speaks to us, it’s important to acknowledge that God does speak to us this way at times.

Reflect, today, upon this call of Levi. Ponder this inner certitude he was given in that moment. Try to imagine what he experienced and what others may have thought of his choice to follow Jesus. Be open to this same grace; and if you ever feel as if God speaks to you with such clarity, be ready and willing to respond without hesitation.

My dear Lord, thank You for calling us all to follow You without hesitation. Thank You for the joy of being Your disciple. Give me the grace to always know Your will for my life and help me to respond to You with total abandonment and trust. Jesus, I trust in You.