Today we honour the memory of one of the four Dominican popes: Pius V who consolidated the Church during the difficult years following the Protestant Reformation. Pope Pius worked to preserve the unity and the integrity of the Catholic Faith and he eliminated many abuses. These efforts resulted in several attempts on his life – not from Protestants, but from Catholics. It was Pius V who excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I in 1570.
Pope Pius V died on the 1st May 1572 and was canonized by Pope Clement XI in 1712.
Every day we make hundreds of decisions, both major and minor, both life-changing and inconsequential. Given the vast array of choices we face—and the wide variety of consequences that flow from our choices—is it possible that the Scriptures can teach us how to make good decisions? Do they show us the difference between a good idea and a “God” idea?
In the Acts of the Apostles we read how the leaders of the Early Church were guided in their decision-making by the drawing of lots. For those in favour of proportional representation this may sound strange to us today, but this was a sincere attempt to discern God’s will in a difficult situation.
In today’s reading, we see God’s guidance at work again. When members of the churches in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of Timothy, it’s very likely that Paul took that as a sign that God may have been singling out this young man as a travelling companion for him. Then, as Paul and Timothy continued on their apostolic journeys, they encountered some kind of spiritual roadblock that kept them from evangelizing in various cities in Asia, and they were led—against their expectations—to press on into Europe, ending up in the city of Philippi.
God has given us a mind and the capability to reason. We should put these human faculties to good use whenever we face decisions. And yet, we should also remember that God wants to guide our decision-making so that we can become more like his Son. We need to have faith that God really can reveal his will to us. He may use the Scriptures or the words of trusted friends, but he may also use surprising ways. And so, we need to be open and trusting, learning the right mix between using our intellects and listening to the Holy Spirit.