The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.
We know that by turning everything to their good God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those that he has called according to his purpose. They are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers. He called those he intended for this; those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory.
Through towns and villages Jesus went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, “Sir, will there be only a few saved?” He said to them, “Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.
“Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us’ but he will answer, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will find yourself saying, ‘We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets’ but he will reply, ‘I do not know where you come from. Away from me, all you wicked men!’
“Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside. And men from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.
“Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.”
I was reading an article on Islam earlier today and found that the word ‘Islam’ means ‘total surrender of oneself to God’. This is exactly what St. Paul is talking about in his letter to the Romans.
In his letter, St. Paul tells the Romans, and us, that we are to surrender ourselves completely to God, so that the Spirit can work within us and through us, so that we can cooperate with God to allow his kingdom to come. It might seem stupid, illogical even, for God to require our cooperation so that His will can come about. But it makes sense when we realize that without our cooperation God’s will cannot come about simply because God’s will is to have our cooperation.
God wants us to work with Him in His work of creation. Creation is not something that was finished in Genesis, but is something that is continuously being done by God. To be made in His image and likeness is to share in His creativity. We do this best when we surrender ourselves completely to God and allow God to create through us. What does God create through us? One very obvious creation is that of more humans like us. That is why a couple that is open to life participates in God’s act of creation. Yes, God could create more humans without our help, but this is how He has chosen to create more humans – with our help!
What a joy it is then to be able to help God in His work of creation! Therefore all humans who surrender to God and allow themselves to cooperate with God in His work of creation have entered into the kingdom of God. After all, the kingdom of God simply means allowing God to rule completely over us, and surrendering ourselves to God.
It then becomes easy to see how Muslims who truly surrender themselves to God are also welcomed into the kingdom of God. Likewise for Christians, for Jews, and for anyone who surrenders himself or herself completely to God. These are the people who are invited to the banquet of God, not necessarily those who are at table with the Lord now. Being a Christian does not guarantee that we will be saved. Self-surrender to God, however, does.
Dear Lord, grant us the grace to surrender ourselves to you moment by moment. Amen.
Give Thanks to the Lord for: The Muslims who teach us Christians how to surrender ourselves to God.