From intention and words to deeds

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

“Not everyone that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 7,21)

With these words of Christ, we are clearly reminded that we should not only have good intentions and beautiful words of promise, but rather the strong conviction to bring those intentions and words into action. What is important is that we do the will of God, and not just wish and promise to do it. This is what to be a true Christian is, and not just a Christian in name.

Let’s remember also that parable Christ said about the two sons who were asked their father to work in the vineyard. (cfr. Mt 21,28-32) One said ‘yes’ but did not go, while the other said ‘no’ but actually went. The conclusion of that parable, of course, was that the one who initially said ‘no’ but went to the vineyard was the one who did the will of his father.

Obviously, the ideal is that what we intend, what we say and promise, should be carried out into deeds. St. Paul has something very relevant to say about this. “Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” (Rom 2,13) St. James says something similar: “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (1,22)

Christ himself lived by this principle, even at the expense of his own life. “I do nothing of myself, but as the Father has taught me…” (Jn 8,28) And in the agony in the garden, he expressed that most eloquent submission to his Father’s will, “Not my will but yours be done.” (Lk 22,42)

We need to understand that our whole life is a matter of conforming ourselves to God’s will, the very seat of our ultimate identity as persons and children of God. This would involve the stages of knowing that will, believing it, then professing it and putting it into action. In short, receiving our faith, then turning it into life itself.

All saints and the parade of holy men and women all through the ages have done nothing other than this. They had their ups and downs, their wins and losses, but they always stood up after each fall or loss, they repented, and went back to action again.

Of course, the epitome among the saints is Our Lady, who was praised by Christ himself to high heavens. When someone in the crowd told him his mother was around, he said: “Behold my mother and my brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Mt 12, 29-50)

We should see to it that we are good not only in words and in intentions, but also and most especially in deeds. Our usual problem, given our human nature and the current condition of our woundedness, is that we tend precisely to be very good in words and in intentions but really poor in performance and consistency.

We have to remember that what is truly important is that we always live by God’s will. This is how we become truly human and Christian, image and likeness of God as he wants us to be.

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