Advent day 9

God was speaking to me today of fear and trust.

The first reading for mass today was from Isaiah. The verse that particularly struck me was “Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, fear not!'” (35. 4). I think my anxiety boils down to having a fearful heart. I fear that I’m not teaching my children well enough, that my confirmation class won’t learn what they need to, that I won’t touch their hearts. And why do I fear? Because I’m relying on my own strength, not God’s. I have to empty myself of self, stop relying on myself and my abilities, and completely surrender to God.

Then in The Noonday Devil I read that “Holiness consists of such a state of poverty that at every moment one is obliged to ask everything of the Holy Spirit, one is dependent on him, convinced that without his grace one can do nothing” (p.177). In my mind I know this to be true, but I seldom put it in to practice. It’s not me who is going to get anything done or teach anyone or plant any seeds. It’s God.

This brings me back to the spiritual childhood that I’ve studied and tried to implement. Since I am human and not divine, I’ll never “graduate” in love or perfection. I’ll never “attain” in this life. I have to remember, every moment beginning again. Conversion of heart, day after day, minute after minute. Even in heaven, Bl. Newman says, we will be in this state of spiritual childhood: “and so on for eternity I shall ever be a little child beginning to be taught the rudiments of Thy infinite divine nature” (Lead, Kindly Light p.120).

Lord, remind me that I am Your child. That I always will be. I’ll never graduate or complete a level. Remind me to begin again each day, each moment. Help me to trust Your strength, Your knowledge, Your power.

 

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Thankful Thursday

I’m attempting to start a recurring theme–Thankful Thursday–to cultivate more of a life of gratitude. In a book by Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, the author speaks of the connection between gratitude and joy. Gratitude leads to joy, and the opposite of joy is not sadness, but fear. Replacing fear with gratitude produces joy.

Many of the circumstances in my life have brought about fear and anxiety, so I’m going to combat them with gratitude.

I’m particularly grateful this week for a friend who asked me to coffee when I was feeling completely overwhelmed with a family situation. She was not aware of the stress. God sent her to me to bring relief and empathy.