This week I have been a little scared. My time off is drawing to a close, and I am afraid that without my concentrated daily dose of Jesus, I will lose sight of what’s important. In my head, I am Peter walking on water, looking down and falling in.
So off to church I go. I will capture this time. Keep it tight. Make it special. I will cling to it like a young girl with her first boyfriend. (Yes, speaking from experience here.) The time is mine.
Yesterday, I thought perhaps I should listen for a while. But by the end of Mass I was praying over and over and over for the ability to surrender. It was less of a ‘Your will be done’ sort of plea, and more of a ‘please, please, please’ approach. Subtle. I mean, life would be a whole lot easier if I could just surrender. God’s will would be second nature. I wouldn’t have to worry about looking down and drowning.
So after about 20 minutes, I leave with newfound determination. By God, I am going to follow God’s Will today and every day if it kills me. I will succeed!
And about 20 seconds later, I realized what an absolute ass I am.
Our priest mentioned that the Church needed some volunteers to stuff envelopes. When Mass was over, I walked straight to the room to help. That’s God’s Will right? I have the free time. I am going to help everyone in need. Envelopes! Hell, that’s getting off easy.
I get to the door, and look in. Way in the back corner of the empty, echoing room there is a collection of tables and a couple of dozen of people — all 20 years my senior — at the task at hand. I freeze. They are already settled in. They are old. They know each other. How embarrassing would it be to cross that empty room. How awkward to sit at a table. I would be so out of place.
So I turned and left. Up to my neck in water.
Fortunately, there is more to the story of Peter walking on water, and it’s the good part. . . .
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Matthew 14:25 – 32
First, lesson one. Peter asks if he should come to Jesus, he doesn’t tell him. But that goes without saying.
Second, God doesn’t give up. Despite my thrashing God lent me a hand in the form of Father Michael Schmitz of the UMD Catholic Ministry.
About three days ago I downloaded some of his podcasts. You can find them here. Truth be told, I initially downloaded them because of his picture — he’s a hottie :). But really, I am still in the stage of my faith where I am consuming Catholic books and talks with sinful glutton. It’s an addiction, which I will reflect on later as I am not prepared to confront it just yet. Anyway, I downloaded Father Mike’s sermons, Larry Richards, iPadre, and Father Bob Barron, boy genius.
Two things from Father Mike really hit home.
- You can accept the Eucharist for someone else. Your family, a friend, anyone you want to pray for. I never really thought of doing that before but it is so wonderful and perfect. That singular act alone — taking the Eucharist for someone else — may just be the distinctly most perfect way to share God’s Love. It is the ultimate gift. It is redemption. It is Christ crucified. It is love.
- It’s important to go the distance with God. (See: 12/09/12 Finishing the Race.) Basically, he reminds us that many people get swept up in their strive to become a saint and try to do more than God wants them to do (or, conversely, less than God wants them to do) and get burned out pretty quickly through discouragement. So they start of strong, but don’t end well. And that is the one true tragedy in life – not ending well. To me, that was a reminder to meet God where I am. It’s not about trying to do as much as others. It’s not comparing. That’s envy, pride and vanity. It’s about taking God to work with me. To the store. And giving him away because it is right and just.
I wish the most basic lesson of Christ didn’t keep escaping me. But it does. It’s all about giving God away. Letting him live through you. Not keeping Him all for yourself. The upside of losing my way are these small moments of grace when He turns me back around.
I have been given an amazing gift the past month or so to spend time with God, the Blessed Sacrament, Mary and the Church. I pray that I can use that time not for me but to share it with others. That I can give back. I have to understand that is will be just as right for me to go back to work as it was to go to Church. He will always be with me.