I've been reading a lovely and old-fashioned book called "Saints are not Sad" which is a compilation of the lives of forty saints. I'm becoming acquainted with some familiar saints from a new perspective as well as some saints of whom I have never heard of before. One such saint, St. Bede, has a wonderful quote. He says, "The perfection of the Christian life lay not in renunciation but in acceptance."
I have spent so much time these past few years trying to surrender myself to God's will. I prayed day after day with the word "surrender" in my heart. Mostly, I have met with failure. The things I try to give up, to do without and to surrender remain deeply embedded within my heart and soul. My long-ingrained habits are so hard to renounce! Again and again, I meet with the disappointment of failure in my efforts to surrender to God.
Now failure isn't always such a bad thing. I've heard that Abraham Lincoln failed at many things before finally meeting with the success of the presidency. St. Francis Xavier was also one who failed many times. In fact, Alban Goodier, SJ has this to say about St. Francis Xavier in "Saints are not Sad"; "There is a greater greatness than the greatness of success;and that is the greatness of failure. For that is the greatness of being, without the encouragement of doing;the greatness of sacrifice, of which others less great may reap the fruits." Still, a little success along the spiritual path would do much to keep me ever moving forward in hope, rather than clinging to the past in regret.
I've been noticing a trend in the blogging world. Several bloggers have adopted a "word for the year" in which they will try to focus their days. Some have chosen "joy", others "yes" and still others will be focusing on "fortitude". I've decided to join in and choose the word "accept" as my word for 2010.
So to embrace my word for 2010, I will keep an acceptance list of all of the things that I will accept as gifts from God, things for which I will be grateful.
~much needed assistance from younger and savvier co-workers about computer issues
~sweet kisses from my daughter when I arrive home from work
~the lack of psalms prayed at daily Mass because Father believes they should be sung or omitted, never spoken
~the pain of arthritis in my neck
~words of love whispered in the dark by the man who has been by my side for all these years of marriage
~waking in the morning to the still dark sky
~rejection letters from publishers "it's not what we are looking for at this time"
~voiced raised in anger as teenage sons squabble and threaten each other
~the juice of a sweet, tasty orange as it sprays on my dress
~wrinkles around my eyes from much smiling and many tears
~the extra 5 pounds from Christmas cheer that doesn't want the party to end
Dear Lord, thank you for these simple gifts, both pleasant and not so pleasant, that you choose to bless me with today. I accept them in humble gratitude and submission to your will in all things. Amen.