Moments of decision
Jesus went up to the mountain to pray
and He spent the night in prayer to God.
He then comes down the mountain and chooses the Twelve Apostles. It was a very important moment, for it would be upon the foundation of the Apostles that the whole Church would be established, as we heard in today’s first reading.
These words also give us a great example, for we too have very important moments in our own lives: moments when we make (or fail to make) decisions that will have tremendous consequences for us and even for others.
Sometimes we try to ignore these moments of decision: thus choosing not to decide (but not being able to escape the consequences of our inaction).
Sometimes we decide haphazardly: going with our gut, going along with everybody else, or going where our feelings point us.
That is not what our Lord did for His great moments of decision; that is not what we should do for ours.
We should pray, as He did.
If at all possible we should physically go to a special place where we can be alone and feel closer to God: a mountain, a garden, a quiet chapel, or even an empty room.
If it is truly a momentous decision, we should take whatever time is available to be alone with the Lord and to pray: a night, a day, or even an hour (if that is all there is).
Once we have done this, we can go forward with the Lord.
If we do this, are we guaranteed to have a smooth outcome from our decision? Absolutely not!
Look at what followed from the decision our Lord made in today’s Gospel: Peter would deny Him; Judas would betray Him to his death; and one of the greatest Apostles, St. Paul, was not one of the Twelve seen on the mountainside that day.
Yet God’s purposes would be fulfilled in each of these twelve men according to His infinite wisdom and His mysterious, salvific will. Another would be chosen to take the place of Judas and the Twelve Apostles would become the foundation of a Church, made of imperfect humans, but ultimately undefeatable and an instrument of universal salvation.
In the end, what saves us are not the intrinsic benefits of the things we choose – although they are important. In the end, what saves us is the will and the power of God to which we conform ourselves in our prayer.
We should not flee or mishandle our great moments of decision.
We should – we MUST – pray: taking the time and finding the place to be alone with God, so that we can go forward with Him.