A Little Sunday Morning Reflection
© Marlicia Fernandez 8-25-19
It has been a stressful and frustrating summer. Circumstances and people conspired to make it so, from the middle of May, through the middle of August. Without minimizing what was going on at that time, I’m sure there were ways I could have eased the challenges that came up for myself and for others. Hindsight really is 20-20.
Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry…
The first thing I could have done was to deepen my prayer life. This appears to be obvious, but it is also superficial. How many times have I confused deepening my prayer life with adding more prayers and spiritual readings instead of taking my time and really giving myself and my challenges over to God? I’ve been told over and over again that it isn’t the number of prayers said, but the quality of the prayers offered and my internal disposition.
My internal disposition. That’s tricky. Do I really want God to answer my prayers the way He knows is best, or do I want to direct Him to act the way I think He should? More often than not, it’s the latter and instead of gaining comfort, peace and strength, I add anxiety to the mix. Often I’m afraid of how God will respond and what He will require of me, instead of trusting that He always desires what is best for me and will give me the strength to work through whatever He allows to occur. What if I have to give up such-and-such, or do X-Y-Z? That’s scary. So my prayers are superficial. I am holding back and my lack of trust ties His hands, so to speak.
Do I doubt God’s great love for me? Not at all. So why is it so hard to pray with total abandonment to His most Holy and Divine Will…to “Let Go and Let God”? I want to keep hold of the end of the string, just in case.
I had thought I’d gotten past this stage, but apparently not. Point one to work on—be sincere (and humble) in prayer.
Abandonment to Divine Providence…
This makes it sound like the summer been full of major difficulties, and while there were some rather frightening and frustrating aspects to our experiences, we were blessed in that they were not worse. Granted, we still have a circuitous road to follow, but some of the challenges have resolved and that is a blessing. It would have been a great deal easier to weather the circumstances if I could “roll with the punches” more. It seemed like every time I thought I was abandoning myself to God’s will, even going so far as to verbalize that abandonment to Him, something would come up and I’d realize that wasn’t really the case. Acceptance was easy as long as it didn’t put me out too much.
Another point to work on. Let God take control. He’s already in charge. Things will go a lot smoother and easier if I don’t fight Him—and I’ll be surprised at how well everything works out.
Engage in the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy…
It is said that misery loves company. Maybe, but I think only if the saying is turned on its head. Misery only loves company when that company sets out to help ease the suffering it sees. It’s hard to be miserable when focus is on someone else who needs prayers or material assistance more than I do. I wish I had practiced more of this during the summer. Taking myself out of myself can help push my own concerns into the background and make me realize how truly blessed I am.
Practice and Attitude of Gratitude…
A writer friend of mine used to say this all the time and it is so important. Whatever the trials and challenges I have, there are always others who have greater trials and challenges. I should be grateful for the difficulties that God shunts away from me, and pray for those who suffer more greatly than I. I should be grateful for the challenges and trials God allows because they are for my benefit. I may not know how, or want to believe it at the time, but if I look closely I will most likely see that any given cross is tailored to a specific defect in my character…this cross to foster humility, that one to foster charity, etc. They are painful to be sure, but necessary and He will help me with them if I turn to Him sincerely. I should be grateful for this gift.
I definitely need to work on that aspect of gratitude.
It is easier to remember to be grateful for all the good things God has given me, but even then I sometimes forget. There is sooo much to be thankful for, everything, in fact. If I take the time to give thanks for the many gifts I have received, I will discover that the good outweighs the bad and my circumstances aren’t quite as difficult as I first thought. I might not be able to handle them on my own, but that’s okay. By myself I know I can do nothing, but with God I can do everything.
Now, if only I can remember that. Jesus, my Divine Master, help me to remember that.