To make bread or love, to dig in the earth, to feed an animal or cook for a stranger—these activities require no extensive commentary, no lucid theology. All they require is someone willing to bend, reach, chop, stir. Most of these tasks are so full of pleasure that there is no need to complicate things by calling them holy. And yet these are the same activities that change lives, sometimes all at once and sometimes more slowly, the way dripping water changes stone. In a world where faith is often construed as a way of thinking, bodily practices remind the willing that faith is a way of life.
But a look at our tradition will show that faith is really the opposite of certitude. Rather, it is being willing to move into darkness, into not being sure. It means taking risks, allowing ourselves to be taken advantage of, having the grace to move through chancy, uncertain waters, letting go of control and trusting that God will always be there. It means living with the mystery of things, not knowing for sure what’s going to happen or that it’ll turn out okay.
The essence of Christian spiritual combat is, with the strength of faith, to maintain a hopeful outlook on every situation, on ourselves, on other people, on the Church and the world. Such an outlook enables us to react to every situation by loving.
There is a paradoxical kind of power in being willing to sweep away the idols we make of our plans. When Saint Paul writes that “for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10), he is telling us when he surrenders the notion that he could accomplish anything on his own, he discovers that God, working through him, does wonders beyond his own meager imaginings. It is precisely the same with our plans. When we stop insisting upon them and permit God to throw us a curve, and answer it with trust, wonders come our way.
We need to really believe what we say we believe. Then we need to prove it by the witness of our lives. We need to be so convinced of the truths of the Creed that we are on fire to live by these truths, to love by these truths, and to defend these truths, even to the point of our own discomfort and suffering. We are ambassadors of the living God to a world that is on the verge of forgetting him. Our work is to make God real; to be the face of his love.
~ Archbishop Chaput via OH……….. FRANCESCO
Many of us, myself included, seem to think we know what we need but the fact of the matter is, we might not know what we really need, or when something should happen. We must have faith that Jesus has the right answers and the right timing. As scary as it is, we need to trust that our loving God will take care of us, because He knows what’s best for us. As the song lyric goes, some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.
“I am not in control.”
Granted, God gave me dignity, free will and an understanding of the value of self-discipline to achieve certain ends. But, repeatedly, I credit myself too much, rely on myself too much, and aimlessly follow myself too much when I should me more aware that my God is present, active and infinitely invested in my life. How do I miss Him? Perhaps if I were simply a little more quiet, a little more content and a little more humble, I would hear the inner voice, understand the call, feel the glorious draw of the fishing line and once again find the Golden Thread. Perhaps. Yes. Perhaps that’s what I will do. May God help me.
~ Tod Worner, “God’s Call: Of Golden Strings & Fisherman’s Lines”
God’s word is unpredictable in its power. The Gospel speaks of a seed which, once sown, grows by itself, even as the farmer sleeps (Mk 4:26-29). The Church has to accept this unruly freedom of the word, which accomplishes what it wills in ways that surpass our calculations and ways of thinking.
~ Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium via a minor friar blog: Evangelii Gaudium: My Favorite Parts.