Give It Up for God

Latest Content

The number of Dominican vocations continues to increase, and fervor for Dominican formation is growing in both the laity and religion.

Get content directly in
your inbox
Post Subscribe

Share this Article

Give It Up for God

"What is the most important thing in your life? What would you do if God asked you to give it up?"

What is the most important thing in your life? What would you do if God asked you to give it up? For some it might mean surrendering a talent: a beautiful voice or the world’s most accurate free-throw. For others it might be a loved one. For still others it might be their freedom. Imagine there’s no limit to the thing God asks of you—could you do it?

Mother Teresa, in her book Come Be My Light, writes of an experience that occurred at the beginning of a long period of darkness in her life. Expressing her dismay at how much God has asked from her, she writes:

“I just can’t express anything. I don’t know why [it] is like this—I want to tell, and yet I find no words to express my pain. Don’t let me deceive you. Leave me alone. God must be wanting this ‘aloneness’ from me. Pray for me. In spite of everything, I want to love God for what He takes. He has destroyed everything in me.”

Despite this darkness, by God’s grace, she continued giving up her life to God, little by little until there was nothing left. She surrendered quite literally everything. She even gave up her freedom, for after many years as superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, she asked Pope John Paul II to allow her to step down and let another sister run the congregation. He simply replied to her, “Do not refuse Jesus.” It was Jesus who asked her—through her congregation and then through the Pope—to give everything for the sake of his will. 

Yet, this request of God is not just for the exceptional saint. It sometimes happens that even we ordinary people lose something important, even the one thing that defines who we are—that most important thing. Beethoven, one of the greatest composers ever, lost his sense of hearing. The French impressionist, Claude Monet, was blind for the last decade of his life. Even in our own Dominican family, Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, one of the brightest modern minds of classical Thomism, lost much of his ability to think before he died. 

The reality is that even after you’ve given everything, there is still one thing that God desires. He will call your soul home, for even that belongs to him. It is a stark reminder that we are not made for this world, but for the next. Those little “asks” of God—surrender your money, surrender your time, surrender your freedom—prepare us to surrender our whole lives. That is why it is important to take those less profound sacrifices and make them intentional. “God, I give this to you because I love you, and I know you love me.” In this way, we may grow to realize that God is the source of every good that we have (ST I, q. 6, a. 4). And when he calls us home, it is nothing to fear. He is the greatest good for which we could ever hope. 

When we finally recognize our smallness, our nothingness, our emptiness, it is then that God can fill us up with himself.  “When we become full of God then we can give God to others, for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mother Teresa). God gave us the most precious gift of life and, one day, he will ask it back from us. Let us pray that, at that moment, we might be emptied of everything, and our heart filled with his love.  

Image: Quandary by Michael Belk from Journeys with the Messiah (used with permission)

Originally posted on Dominicana Journal

The Dominican House of Studies

Forming Preachers of Truth in Charity.

Catholic theology in the Thomistic tradition for Dominican students and all who are interested in serving the Church, evangelizing the world, and growing in virtue, wisdom, and holiness.

from 2024

from 2024 Latest