Time to Surrender to God's Will



Thanks to the wonderful Cecilia channel at Aleteia, I found this wonderful song. Vince Scheureman has quite the story - on the brink of hitting it big with his band, he lost his voice. And his band, And his career.

And it's all good. Really.
The visual of a white flag invokes the idea of surrender. I once heard someone say, if something is being ripped out of your hands, it hurts a lot more to hold on, than to let go. The idea of this song is that with surrender comes peace. The war stops.
I have no idea what this young man's faith life is like, but he clearly gets the part of spirituality where you have to give up. You realize you are fighting God, the Universe, an eternal plan. And you just have to lay down the weapons you've amassed to fend off enemies, real and imagined, and allow God to do His thing.

And that "thing" is always, always good.

Even if you have to drag that damn white flag behind you for awhile, and it gets dingy and stepped on. Even if you have to have someone else carry it for you (or carry you.) Even if you want to run back and pick up those weapons. Even if, even if.

Surrender to peace. Surrender to God. Fly the white flag, and let everyone know it's all good.

Politics Is Driving Me To My Knees

I had to get off social media on Saturday. I'd like to get off for an extended period but my job requires that I'm on social media.

I felt (like many women) that Saturday's marches were only for pro-abortion, liberal women. (And judging by the speakers in DC, rich ones). Women dressed as female body parts chanting ancient abortion slogans were not speaking for me or millions of pro-life feminists. And no, that's not an oxymoron.

I turn, as I often do, to the writings of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. As a female and a Jew in early 20th century Germany, she knew a thing or two about being discriminated against. She also knew, as a teacher of young women, how incredibly gifted women are. Never for a moment did she suggest that we are the weaker sex.

Just so, woman’s soul is designed to be subordinate to man in obedience and support; it is also fashioned to be shelter in which other souls may unfold.
The soul of woman must therefore be expansive and open to all human beings; it must bequiet so that no small weak flame will be extinguished by stormy winds; warm so as to not benumb fragile buds; clear, so that no vermin will settle in dark corners and recesses; self-contained, so that no invasions from without can imperil the inner life; empty of itself, in order that extraneous life may have room in it; finally, mistress of itself and also of its body, so that the entire person is readily at the disposal of every call. 
-Edith Stein, Fundamental Principles of Women’s Education
My only thought at this point is to pray. I'll pray for our elected officials (even if I didn't elect them with my vote.) I'll pray that any woman facing a crisis pregnancy has the support and help she needs to make a decision for life for her child. I'll pray for those in the abortion industry that they may have a change of mind and heart.

I'm trying really hard at this point to keep my mouth shut on social media because I know it is just adding to the noise. Pray for me.

Stripping Away Vanity

Caravvagio's St. Francis of Assisi
God has asked our family to strip away much lately. And it is difficult. And it is good.

St. Francis of Assisi certainly knew about this. As a young man, when he had decided to follow Christ, he ran into the stern disapproval of his own father. Francis (never one to do things part-way) met with his father and the bishop. Francis renounced his claim to his father's money, and - in the public square - stripped off his fine clothes, declaring that they were no longer his. A tattered garment replaced the luxurious fabrics.

Like many of his time, Francis was afraid of lepers. Little was known of this dreaded disease, but those who contracted were destined for a life of poverty, outside of any town, village or city. Their only sustenance was gained by begging. In a moment of clarity, Francis saw Christ in a leper. He embraced the man. That gesture required Francis to strip away his prejudice, his fear, his lack of faith.

Francis also received the stigmata - the wounds of Christ. This is a great gift, but a heavy one. Anyone who bears the stigmata is joined with Christ in pain and suffering. It means one's own body is stripped away, and now belongs to Christ. Francis knew that, for him, the only way to holiness was by leaving himself - all of himself - behind, and to follow Christ.

Author Ilia Delio, speaking of Francis:
The person who desires friendship with God must strive to be free from all attachments and from all commitments that are exclusively human or in relation to earthly realities. This does not mean that we are to give up our friends or sacrifice our desire for a better job or position. Rather, we may understand attachment here as possessiveness. We are called to be dispossessed of earthly things so as to possess God. To possess means to “cling to,” to hold on to something so tightly that other possibilities are “squeezed out.” Each of us is called to be poor, to empty ourselves of all that we cling to so that we may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Thus, Dear Husband and I have spent the past month or so stripping away. We had to move from our rather large house of 19 years to a 2 bedroom apartment. It was not our choice. For whatever reason, God called us to this. So we stripped away. And stripped some more.

Now that we are in our new home, we may have to strip away even more. (Not a lot of closet space. And a bathroom that is hardly big enough to change your mind in.)

Yet we know that all this is good. God is calling us to be less attached. Our possessions cannot make decisions for us - that is a crazy way to live. Instead (and Francis knew this!) we must strip away all that is not God so that God can direct our lives. If we allow our "stuff" to direct us, we become of this world, not of Christ. The only possession we can truly keep is the cross we choose to pick up and follow Him.

It's not fun. It's not easy. But knowing that God directs us, that we are truly trying to hear His voice over any stuff we may have, brings peace.

Now, if I could just find my blowdryer....
 

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, "Told you so." And I'd blush furiously, knowing I looked like a fool.

In 2015, I left a job that had become unbearable due to office politics. I began a new job ... and was promptly fired four days later. "Uh??? How did that happen?" I couldn't figure out why God would lead me out into the desert, only to find myself stranded on a hunk of wood in the ocean. That's not how this is supposed to work, I told God. I did what you wanted!!!

Then my mom got really sick, and I was able to be with her full-time for the last weeks of her life. "Thanks, God," I said, a wee bit sheepishly.

Right now, I'm on a tear because someone didn't do their job, prolonging my wait for a surgery that will alleviate the bone-crunching, on-the-floor-weeping, unrelenting pain I've been in for most of the past year. Everything was on schedule - MY schedule. And then, yesterday, I found out that some necessary paperwork that should have been taken care of WEEKS ago - eh, never happened. There was a lot of finger-pointing and dodging of responsibility.

(The nurse from the insurance company asked me yesterday, "Do you have adequate pain meds for the time being?" I said, "If I had adequate pain meds, I wouldn't need the damn surgery!")

So, I'm waiting. Maybe it's not such a bad thing. I don't know what God knows. There may be a perfectly good reason that only He is privy to that makes waiting a good idea. I may never know, this side of Heaven. I guess I'll have to figure out the stairs instead of launching myself into the bushes. No end runs. Patience.

And I didn't even pray for patience. Isn't God good?

Always Faithful

We went to Mass last night, and had an older priest. In his homily, he exhorted us to "semper paratus:" Be prepared. The Gospel,...