On a Hard Day

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.

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The Expert

So writing on this blog is admittedly long overdue and part of that is due to the weird place I am in life. Lately I’ve been full of fear which is unlike me. And part of it is because in my soul I’m an introverted person who prefers to remain in the background but as an adult I find myself given more authority and bigger challenges which are really a blessing but which leave me wondering how to walk the littler way.

I think I often get caught up in the grand things I want to do for God. So caught up in fact that I forget that the goal of my faith is not to grow out of my need for God but to deepen it with loving trust. To surrender even more, to become even smaller and need Him even more than I have in the past. Sometimes I think that God loves me profoundly not because I am worthy but because I am so needy, so utterly helpless on my own. And He just can’t resist doing great things for me.

Such love and strength and power fill up every wound, every struggle even when I don’t feel it, even when it’s hard to be grateful and hard to believe. But when I get to heaven I hope I can say with the Blessed Mother that even in the sufferings even in the trials I’m blessed because I have the love that is everlasting living deep within my soul.

Doubting Thomas

So recently I’ve found myself having a sincere affinity for the disciple St. Thomas or “doubting Thomas” as he’s more commonly referred to in Christian circles. He is always brought up as an example of what not to do in the spiritual life and gets sort of rebuked by Jesus who tells him “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed” (John 20:29).

Today possibly for the first time I’m really sympathizing with Thomas. I took a minute to imagine the larger context and what he might have been feeling. Jesus who he loved more than anything, who he had sacrificed everything to follow, had been tortured and killed in an agonizing and humiliating crucifixion.  And I imagine that as Jesus died so many of Thomas’ hopes and dreams died with Him.

Thomas must not only have been afraid, thinking of his own uncertain future, but also heartbroken and feeling like everything he’d ever worked for and wanted had come to naught. Then in the midst of this nothingness, of totally black despair, he hears that Jesus is alive. I imagine he must have had so many emotions. If it was true, what joy. If it was false, he’d have to go through the emotional rollercoaster all over again. Maybe he sensed that Jesus was asking him to have faith, but maybe there was a larger part of him, of his own will and own thoughts, that reminded him of the pain he’d just endured. Maybe he could hear in his interior that broken voice of bitterness and disappointment warning him that he needed to protect himself from further hurt because God hadn’t, look where he’d ended up by following God. I imagine it must have been from this place that he uttered his line recorded in the Bible, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).

I imagine I would have done the same thing. I am struggling with the same thing now. With disappointments, with expectations that weren’t met and dreams which I felt God has called me to but which haven’t come true. The little voice in my soul telling me to keep moving forward in faith, hope and love is being drowned out by the emotional barrage of doubt, pain and an unwillingness to endure more which I imagine St. Thomas was also wrestling with.  And from that place I find myself wanting to say the same thing he said.

Thomas would find out a week later with the appearance of Jesus that God keeps His promises. He would see Jesus and touch his pierced hands and side. He would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah who had conquered death for all and ushered in the Kingdom of God.

In the midst of the battle of life do we know this also? Will we choose to cling to the words of Jesus? To hope in what we do not see but which we hope with all our hearts to see? If Jesus were to come back tomorrow would he find us living in that love and in that hope which we are called to live as His disciples?

These are dark times in which we live I won’t deny it. There are struggles that affect the world and struggles that affect our own individual spheres. I personally can’t promise Jesus that I can do this perfectly but I do promise to try and have faith in the dark, to believe without seeing and to live in the hope that one day like Thomas I too will see Jesus and at last come home to that place beyond the light which I have longed to see.