This week, we have had what seems like a break from the gospel narrative. The prayers seen are what are sometimes called “election” prayers, prayers that can help us as we make a decision– where to go to school, a new job, marriage, etc. First, in the Two Standards, St. Ignatius has us pray over the “playing field,” to understand the two sides that struggle for our hearts, the methods of each side, and what they ultimately offer us. Then, we look at what attachments we have to things of this world that keep us from choosing God, and pray to God that He help us to be free of them. All of this culminates in praying over Jesus’s baptism, that moment where He stands shoulder to shoulder with sinners as He takes on the baptism that will mark the beginning of His public ministry. Our own baptism is both the starting point and end goal of our response to God’s call. From the moment of our baptism, God says “you are my beloved son (or daughter), in whom I am well pleased,” and calls us to Himself. From then on, with the help of God’s grace we try and grow more fully into this role of being a child of God. But we can only do so by looking at the example of Jesus. Without the living example of the Son, we would have a hard time imagining what it means to be a child of God, and a hard time knowing how to make choices that express the fact that we are God’s children. So we pray about choices that we must make in the context of praying over the life of Jesus, to help us better see how the choice fits into our vocation as children of God.
If you have a major choice that you are making, you may find it helpful to go back to one of the prayers from this week (or even go back to the Call of Christ the King), renew that desire to live out your baptismal call to be a child of God, and take a look at what is keeping you from living out your call. That alone will go a long way in laying the foundation for making a good choice in Christ. If you aren’t faced with a major choice right now, you can still renew that desire to live out your baptism, and resolve to follow God in all the smaller choices that we all face in our day-to-day lives.