Today’s society promises you that true happiness is found only within you. It’s found in acting upon your own wants, wishes, lusts, and fetishes. The problem, however, is that human desires are whimsical. They’re here one day, and gone the next.

I remember when my desire to become a filmmaker solidified. About six years ago, I really wanted to go to UCLA Film School. For an international student, it was estimated to cost about $60,000 a year, so I prayed hard, and dreamed harder (yeah, prayer wasn’t the biggest thing for me back then). I even remember getting into an emotional argument with my parents about what I wanted to do after school, but I felt then that there was no better option than for me to go study in America and make it big in Hollywood, and never set foot in New Zealand again.

My prayers were never answered.

I’m quite lucky then, because right now, any career option that includes America is right at the bottom of my wish list. In fact, I’m very happy to be doing everything here in New Zealand, and don’t plan on doing business elsewhere any time soon.

Even though I’m happy, God’s Will comes above all. I’m not sure whether He desires me to work in New Zealand for the next ten months or the next ten years, but I hope He gives me the grace to happily accept whatever He asks of me.

“The wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it is also peaceable, kindly and considerate.”

Icon of James the Just, author of the Epistle of James.

The words from the Epistle of James tell us that faith in God is the essence of wisdom, of true knowledge. It’s what all human beings seek, even if we’re unaware of it. For faith in God is the desire for the Infinite, the Merciful, and the Charitable, and nothing else but God – through His Son, Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ – can quench this desire of every human being.

“Arrogant men are attacking me, bullies hounding me to death, no room in their thoughts for God.”

People will mock us for such an answer to truth of longing, but the non-believers themselves can provide no reasonable answer. In the 19th and 20th centuries, intellectual thinkers such as Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, Friedrich Niestzsche, and Sigmund Freud, attempted to understand humanity irreverent of, in opposition towards, or even in absence of God. Their intellectual discussions were so far removed from the past, so bold in self-reference and self-assurance, that they were considered the pioneers of the broad Modernist movement. They thought that in removing themselves from the shackles of traditional discussion involving God, they would find liberating truth. Unfortunately for them, it did not take long for Post-Modernism to swoop down and cripple Modernism’s blatant misdirections.

“You want something and you lack it; so you kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. It is because you do not pray that you do not receive.”

Is it so difficult for human beings to find true satisfaction? For Catholics, we know that Our Blessed Lord is the true desire of all men. But how do we allow ourselves to experience His Love for us?

“If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.”

If we want to be closer to God, we must be willing to completely submit ourselves to His Will. Christ even explains to his disciples the perfect submission: his humiliation, torture, and sentencing to death, not out of his own desire, but the desire to do what the Father asks of him. And as Jesus found true fulfillment in his redemptive suffering on the Cross, so too will we find fulfillment when we do what God wants us to do, even if it’s something our feeble hearts don’t desire at the time.

Please pray for me, that I continue to have the grace to do what the Lord asks, and I pray you too can help unleash his designs upon the world.

Wis 2:17-20, Ps 54: 3-4,5,6-8, Jas 3:16–4:3, Mk 9:30-37