Skip to main content

Hard Spiritual Lessons

My evening prayers included this:

God, our loving Father, you forgive our every ill.
You forgive our guilt; lead us to mend our ways.
You fill our life with good things; fill us with love and mercy toward one another.
You remember we are dust; raise us with all our beloved dead to life in Christ.

All good - all hard.  We are guilty of sin against God and others, and we need forgiveness.  We need to be merciful to others - even when we don't want to.  We have to face our mortality, and the mortality of those we love.

Sometimes, it seems that ALL our spiritual lessons are hard ones.  At least that's the way I've been feeling lately.  Life itself is burdensome, and God seems far away.  Faith is a quickly unraveling string, and my hold is tenuous.

What to do?  I don't know what others do when they are close to despair, but I go through the motions.  I pray when I don't feel like praying.  I sing when my throat is parched.  I praise when my heart is heavy.  I call upon the Lord, even when I am sure He is so far away He couldn't possibly hear me.

I don't do it for God's sake.  He doesn't need a thing from me.  I do it for my sake, to remind my head what my heart knows: that my God is not only near, He is united with me in my suffering, as I try to unite myself to His.  I stand at the foot of His cross, and He stands at the foot of mine.  Even when I cannot go another step in faith, He bears me up.

Hard spiritual lessons.  I beg for mercy in the smallness of my faith.  I hold tight to that unraveling thread of faith, knowing that He holds the other end, and will not let me go.

Hard spiritual lessons.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.

Be Transfigured

From today's readings: 

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the and his clothes became white as light.

...we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Today we celebrate the Transfiguration. For whatever reason, Jesus brought three of His disciples to Mount Tabor to witness this miracle. They weren't sure what they were seeing, but they knew enough to throw themselves to the ground in the presence of Almighty God. St. Peter (who never did anything halfway) excitedly declares that he will erect tents on the mountain as a way of memorializing the event. But Jesus tells him and the others that they are not to tell people what they witnessed - at least not yet.

In the second reading, the requirement to be quiet has bee…