Blogging about Re-routing has forced me to look at these past 9 weeks and look at myself in ways that have stretched me. It is so easy to go through the motions of this life. If you want to live this life as an intentional Christian, it is impossible to just go through the motions and be successful. The Christian life is hard. It involves a decision. My will makes it hard. Every day it is hard because of the world we live in. I was talking to someone after daily Mass last week and she said that when you follow Jesus your family tends to think you are crazy and that there is something wrong with you because you need Jesus so bad. I can totally relate. Honestly, it would be much easier to live the way the world wants me to live–to just soak up all the good times I can, to not worry about whether I am going to heaven or hell, to live for myself, to only worry about the next restaurant I am going to, or the next shopping trip. That would be easy to do in this world, but it is so unfulfilling to me. I know that the world could numb me with counterfeit relationships, and material pleasures, but I want so much more. There is not true happiness living this way. I often hear this in prayer–“You can do this the world’s way, or you can do it MY WAY.” Fr. Prentice challenged us in his homily to surrender to Jesus unconditionally “no fine print, no hidden clauses.” We were given cards to make a commitment to surrender our lives to Jesus. I get what Fr. Prentice said, “Love cannot be forced. We have free will-that’s the way love works.” No one will force us to turn in a card. No one can force us to love, just as no one can force us to be wicked. We can decide. Will I turn in my card? I will because I believe in the love of a heavenly Father that is pure and true. I believe He wants what is best for me, and, I believe He allows me to struggle so I might grow. I don’t want to go through the motions of life–I want to be intentional and I want to surrender.
At an Alpha course that we have for engaged couples in our parish, we talked this week about how God guides us. One thing I felt compelled to share with these couples is that there are actually 3 people in this relationship-the man, the woman, and God. When a couple can surrender to each other in goodness and surrender to God at the same time, life is good. There is peace. I know this from experience. Does it mean that there are no challenges in life? Of course not! It just means that there is Someone walking the path with me–always–who is loving and merciful, who knows all my pains and wounds and who wants me to be happy. That’s exciting and it is worth the struggles because when you desire what is real, and what it is pure, there is an interior freedom that comes from living in union with God.
Tonight I pray that we will all choose, even if it is for the first time, to make that U-turn and to give all of ourselves to God.
Another day with moments of grace and moments of weakness. Some days I wish I wasn’t so aware of Your Presence because I am so often convicted of my sin. But when I sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament and you take me as I am, with all of my sins and failings, I get rejuvenated with the love you have for me. Your Spirit fills me when I live in accord with you. Help me to always choose to live in union with you and when I don’t, help me to recover quickly, because I can’t bear to not be near you and close to you. My days go better when I am aware of you. I realize how often I can get lazy when life gets overwhelming or when I don’t start the day with you on my mind and heart.
Tonight, in a very special way, I ask for the intercession of Mary, our Mother, to pray for all of the engaged couples in our Alpha group. May Mary show them the way to your Son as the reason for hope in marriages in this world. May they receive courage to withstand the temptations of the culture. I ask all of this your great name. Amen