I read Fr. Allen Morris’s blog Living Eucharist last night and it touched me in a deep way. Check out Fr Allen Morris: Living Eucharist 01/09/2016
In sharing this Sunday’s responsorial, Psalm 103, Fr. Morris says, “The responsorial Psalm for Sunday, the Baptism of the Lord, reminds of the glory and wonder of God. It also reminds of our dependence and contingency.”
At the end of the post, Fr. Morris asks questions that are difficult for me.
- Where do you find yourself now?
- What is moving/changing?
- What is remaining the same?
I find myself in a very emotional state in which my faith is being tested. Major life changes are happening with those I know and love. My kidney recipient died last month. Several other friends, family members and acquaintances are facing serious health challenges or dealing with the raw grief of a recent loss. My husband’s Parkinson’s disease is worsening as his balance fails him more regularly. He has had two recent falls requiring medical attention, including an ambulance ride to the hospital. He loses countless hours to foggy thinking and confusion and sleeping late because he hasn’t the energy to wake up.
Listening to the news (I can no longer watch) reveals unthinkable horrors in a world held hostage with threats of terrorism and with caustic rhetoric from all sides.Have we lost our compassion and humanity?
Daily life seems to involve the same old challenges: to be patient; to accept the monotony of work; to live with greater joy; to pray for my enemies.
Once again, I am wrestling with the age-old questions:
- Why does a good and gracious God allow suffering?
- If my loved ones have moved onto the promise of eternal life, why can’t I go now, too?
The answer to the first hinges on Emmanuel, God with us, who entered fully into our humanity to suffer and die. He came into our messy and misguided world to model a different way to live, while respecting our free will.
The answer to the second is that it is not yet my time. God’s plan for me must include more work here, more ways to be His hands and feet on earth and more opportunities to grow in holiness. As a gospel song I love puts it, “God’s not through workin’ on you.”
Isaiah 55:9-13 is the truth that explains so beautifully why we must live in the questions and trust God.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
My spiritual struggle is to recognize that everything does not depend on me. I need to let go of my desire to control. . . my temptation to be God.
As Fr. Morris says, “In the turning of seasons we are often more aware than usual of the vastness of creation, and the enormity of the changes in the natural world. The changes in our emotional, more, intellectual lives are often great too. Sometimes they can lead us closer to God, sometimes they seem to lead us away from him.”
My prayer is this:
Lord, use these troubled times and my sadness to lead me closer to you. Help me to remember that I am not in control. Help me to see your hand at work. You who made the wonders of the natural world without any help from me, are more than capable of transforming sorrow, struggles and evil to help me grow in holiness. . . to lead me closer to you. Amen.