~Blessed Julian of Norwich
As I send the kids back to school after a long summer, I see that they are not the only ones who have lessons to learn. The kids got into plenty of mischief during the dog days of the season but so did I. Like a spoiled child I spent the summer fighting with God and His will for me. I know that all I ever have to do is "let go and let God," to trust in His love and His wisdom, but I found that I was often unable or unwilling to do that and the result of my tight clinging only brought me unnecessary pain. A friend of mine used to say that the longest journey is the one we take from our head to our heart, meaning that our mind might be telling us the right path to follow, but getting our heart to follow suit is another matter entirely, in other words, it's not easy to do that which we know is right. In the past few weeks I have shared several examples of the lessons God has patiently been sending me to help me learn to let go of my deathly grip on my own will and to teach me to relax in His love with the ultimate result of a joy-filled life. Recently He gave me another such lesson.
"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us." ~Joseph Campbell
In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee the Legion of Mary holds All-Night Eucharistic Vigils on the first Friday of every month and I had planned to attend the most recent vigil. I was looking forward to hearing my dear friend, Fr. Jim Kubicki from the Apostleship of Prayer give a talk on humility. But as life sometimes happens, it turned out to be one of those days where my tight clinging to my own will left me unable to get my act together and get out the door so I missed the Mass and talks. I was disappointed, but I found that it was really a blessing in disguise that I didn't go after all.
"Go on blindly, forget yourself, let Him act in you, for He loves you. If you try to do too much you will only prevent Him from furthering the work of your perfection." ~St. Margaret Mary
My son invited a friend to sleep over at our house that night and his family is new to Catholicism, having just entered the Church last Easter. In the morning I decided that I needed to make a trip to church for Mass and confession that I missed the night before and I brought my daughter Mary, my son Jack and his friend with me. Not only did St. John the Evangelist Parish offer Mass and confession, but the congregation also prayed the Mother of Perpetual Help Devotions and the Rosary during Eucharistic Adoration after Mass. We got the whole shebang! Jack's friend mentioned that this had only been his second time to confession since he entered the Church. It was such a blessing to have the opportunity to bring a sheep ever more closely into the fold through the Sacraments of the Church and had I gone to Mass and confession the night before, I probably wouldn't have gone in the morning. And what's more, Fr. Jim very kindly posted his wonderful homily about humility on his blog, Offer it Up, so I didn't miss so much after all!
Things didn't turn out quite the way I had planned, but God's plan was better than anything I could have worked out on my own, and that seems to be my number one lesson these days. I'm not sure how many more lessons God needs to send my way before I finally "get it" but I'm so grateful that He never gives up and that His lessons are always sweetly gentle on this weak and fragile girl.
"Letting go doesn't mean we don't care. Letting go doesn't mean we shut down. Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave. It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment. It means we stop trying to do the impossible--controlling that which we cannot--and instead, focus on what is possible--which usually means taking care of ourselves. And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible." ~Melody Beattie