By Nimmi Candappa
Single people might often wonder in admiration at how married couples manage to live out their vocation of marriage. Two people, with separate upbringings, personalities, different views and ambitions, life goals and careers, trying to live one life. Add to that children, and the objective of living as a family within a united will can present many a challenge.
Last fortnight, we looked at the first point St Eugene identified in encouraging his community to “attain the perfection of your vocation” – consider only God. In this next fortnight of Lent, we consider the second point – being of “one will for the good”.
In looking to live with one will – whether in marriage, or friendships, or in work contexts, the key might be to focus on one will for the good. For the good of the other, the good of the marriage, the good of the overall task. That we allow ourselves, our needs, our views to be eclipsed by the overall good of whatever we are a part.
By seeking one will for the good, we are ultimately aligning our will to God’s. Yet it is not an easy task to achieve. What happens when we think we are right, that “the good” will be achieved when things are done our way, not the other’s. What do we do then? We still surrender the situation so God can draw the conversation along the right path. At the Plenary Council, I recently heard of something called the “Spirit’s Overflow”. The notion that, when two people with opposing views express their viewpoints, if they consciously invite the Holy Spirit into the debate, and try to listen to the truth in the other person’s argument as well, the Spirit is able to bring about an ‘overflow of insight’, or a constructive Divinely-centred outcome out of the differing views. That is, when we are seeking to be of one will, we are continuously looking for the good, regardless of whose idea it is. Leaving ego aside, we are listening for the truth in the conversation, not to the person behind it. With this mode of authentic listening, the Spirit is able to lead us towards a mutual will, to the ultimate good of a situation.
During this second fortnight of Lent, consider looking out for conversational opportunities to experience Spiritual Overflow. Engage in a topic that might include several viewpoints, and look sincerely to hear the other’s point of view. Mentally ask the Spirit to be part of the conversation, so that through the discussion, a more enlightened, Spirit-led outcome can result.