This has been a very difficult week, more difficult than I had anticipated. There were moments, I confess, when I looked down and was frightened by the depths to which I could have possibly tumbled. I began to act out of my fear and was impatient towards others. My heart was sinking and the result, as it always is, was sin.
When fear clasps our hands, it isn’t long before it has us by the throat. When I realized what was happening, I did a very sensible thing – I went to bed early. Sleep, while giving to God all that is fretting us, is a great spiritual weapon. In fact, it is sometimes more appropriate than prayer. I had become overwrought and no matter what, I could not think about anything clearly.
The next morning, I began assessing where I had gone awry. I recalled the main lessons God had been imparting to me recently:
1. No matter the circumstance, God is beside me and He wants, above all things, my good. He wills me to be free, to fully trust in Him and to live a life that is completely based not on sight but on hope in Him alone! In other words, do not look at the waves that are threatening to swamp me, but rather keep my eyes fixed on Him. Look at His beautiful Face. He is staring back at me with a gaze that is totally earnest and faithful.
2. Recall the truth that stems from #1 – this trial, no matter what it may be or how severe the pain, comes through God’s loving hands. God is never the instigator of evil, and evil will never touch me before God changes it into something potentially life giving. Realizing this, I can embrace the pain, joyfully confident that God is directing the flames of this suffering so that it will have maximum effect and so that it will produce something more beautiful than I can even imagine.
#3. Do not attempt to wrestle from God the answers to certain mysteries. It really is enough to say, “Jesus, I trust in You!”
By the time I went to morning Mass, my peace had been restored and I felt the loving presence of Jesus beside me in the pew. I looked up into His beaming countenance as I slipped my fingers into His hand, saying, “Forgive me. I had forgotten! What do you want to do today?”
People may think this very childish but this simple realization – that Jesus wants to spend the day with me, to walk with me, talk with me, laugh with me, console me and be consoled by me – this is the whole foundation of my serenity. If God is with me, who can be against me? (cf. Romans 8:31)
“The passion for simply abiding in the company of Jesus, the need continually to be with Him in every sense of the verb, is the very heart of discipleship.” Erasmo-Leiva Merikakis