I just had a birthday yesterday and now I’m 28. My sainted mother decided it would be fun to throw me a surprise party. I had absolutely no idea it was coming so it was a very successful surprise. I came home to a house full of loved ones and ample embarrassment. It was a great day.
And it has been a gift that keeps on giving because the party that evening shed my day in a whole new light. My mom going to get groceries. My sister insisting she take me out to get our nails done. What were relatively ordinary things were actually part of a larger plan to do something lovely for me. While I was at the party I found out more about the plan how there had been a secret Facebook group and how just that afternoon my brothers had cleaned the house from top to bottom. Everyone was thrilled with themselves for going about business as usual for weeks while all the while knowing this was in store for me. And I can’t help but think that that’s what heaven is going to be like. The moment we get there it will all make sense. We’ll finally understand all the pieces of the plan and how it all came together for our good, the sorrows as well as the joys.
But until that marvelous day comes here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Lately I feel like I lose my spirituality the moment I walk in the door at work. I go to daily mass and love the silence, intimacy and contemplation that comes with receiving the Eucharist and then praying the rosary. I wish I could hold on to that peace all day but when I walked into work this morning I was bombarded with a passive aggressive note from the boss, a phone ringing off the hook, difficult personalities barging in to start their day, and I wanted my silence back. I was even resentful that I didn’t get it. I worked really hard in one area only to be reprimanded for not working in another. And my pride doesn’t bounce back from that sort of thing the way I wish it would. It lingers in the frustration. And I’m left blogging at the end of the day wondering how I find Jesus in these moments that are stressful. In these moments that fly by so fast. In these moments where I am impatient with everything and everyone who doesn’t see things my way. In these moments where I am so unlike Jesus who is still within me, still communing with me.
I’m hoping that His love will make all the difference. I’m hoping I’ll learn how to find Him even in the midst of an ordinary life with its ordinary stresses. I’m hoping that His love will be worth it not just in the end but here in my neediness while I’m begging for it in the middle.
I read a quote today from St. Catherine of Sienna that essentially said we cannot defeat evil with evil but must defeat evil with virtue. I was struck by how profound that is especially in our modern world where so few strive for holiness and virtue. Where it can feel like the only way to beat evil is with evil. It can be so tempting for me to want to be cruel in return when I have been treated cruelly because it feels like justice and is gratifying only for the faintest moment. Because instead of offering up my sorrows I’ve dragged another down into that mire and it doesn’t change anything except me, and it’s a change for the worse.
To fight evil with virtue is what I want to do in my heart but I confess it’s tempting to see that as ineffective. In a world of self sufficiency and control it can be tempting to believe that if you don’t play by the world’s rules you won’t get what you want in the end, you won’t achieve your goals. With virtue and walking the virtuous path you may face persecution and obstacles but you learn the lesson I am still learning to totally trust in God and where He leads you. To trust that even if you don’t see the fruits of your virtue and if others remain the same He still sees you and will reward you. But I confess to you also that I don’t want to become mercenary about receiving a reward I would like to be virtuous simply because I ought to be. It’s the way God designed me to be and it’s the only way I’ll experience not only true love but true life. Please pray for me!