Sunday, August 28, 2011

But for the Joy Set Before Me

Have you ever had one of those days, weeks, months or years where there are those few glorious moments of sunshine in between the torrential downpours? It is said Mother Teresa had a clear calling, almost audible, from the Lord to serve the impoverished and broken of India. After that, however, she felt very little of His presence the rest of her life. She struggled and agonized truly working out her salvation with fear and trembling such as most of us will never know. She said in a letter "Jesus has a very special love for you. [But] as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see,—Listen and do not hear—the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak ... I want you to pray for me—that I let Him have [a] free hand."

I am going through very tiny trials compared to huge ones many many face every day. But I am very simple and the tiny trials can feel very heavy. Although Mother Teresa struggled the rest of her life with the silence and emptiness she experienced she pressed on and ran the race even though she felt like she was running in the fog with the finish line out of sight. Trials do not mean hope is lost, it means a lot of changing and dying to self and surrendering of ones will. As we endeavor to "be transformed by the renewing of our minds" we may experience a sort of grief.  Our minds and bodies have held certain patterns for so long they feel lost without the worry, despair and anxiety they're used to. 

But how do we endure the crosses we are given to carry?  How do we take each step down that narrow path to our own Golgotha?  We are to be "therefore" imitators or Christ. We can pray as He prayed, surrender our will as He surrendered His and take each step we are called to take in His name.  And when we feel we can not go on, and even before we reach that point, we can accept the help of others walking the same narrow path as we are.  We, the Church, are striving for salvation individually, yes, but also corporately.  Let us not forget that.  And, like Mother Theresa, let us keep giving, dieing to ourselves daily and carrying the crosses Christ has allowed for the salvation of our souls.

Let us not lose hope, but trust in the Way.  Let us not grow weary but find strength in Christ.  Amen.

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