As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Me! Me! Look at Me!

I don’t think it would come to anyone’s great surprise to know that there are a lot of things competing for my attention at any given time. And that makes daily life fairly intense for me most of the time. On the whole I can usually manage, but every now and again there comes a period of time in which it seems everything is coming at me at once, and I get bowled over.

That was the case for me this past month. April is always a busy month, and so we anticipate and plan for it in our school year, but nothing can ever quite prepare me for it.  I end up doing a lot of running, a lot of bending the rules and making things work, and a lot of just trying to survive.

And then, once we had made it through our busiest two weeks, the promise of normalcy on the horizon, the Saint John River swelled and overtook the bottom of our road. Our home was well out of harm’s way, but we were forced to move our brood out of our home for more than a week until we could safely drive across the road and back up to our house.  During this time we also said goodbye to my husband’s Grandmother quite suddenly.  It made for an emotional time.

When we were finally back in our house, a friend said jokingly to me, “hey, remember that time when you had to evacuate your house and your husband’s grandmother died?” And I said to her, “It’s crazy right?  Who could plan this? Only Jesus, because He wants to teach me something in it.”

We joked a little more about how demanding Jesus is, and I kidded that He needs to be with me, because my life is too crazy for Him to be able to reach me otherwise!  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is indeed the case.  Left to my own devices, I’d likely never even notice the gentle hand of Jesus stretched out to walk with me, I have too much going on.  So what else can He do but penetrate the noise? He reaches into the mess that is my daily life and says, sometimes gently and sometimes forcefully,



Look at me.

I’m over here.


Give me your attention!”

St. John of the Cross in his book, “The Living Flame of Love,” writes that, “if a soul is to be the recipient of His grace passively, in the natural way of God, and not in the supernatural way of the soul, it follows that, in order to be such a recipient, it must be perfectly detached, calm, peaceful and serene, as God is…thus the soul must be attached to nothing, not even to meditation.”  And I wonder if maybe the constant demands of my life are in fact a way of detaching me from my own will, and preparing me to be more attentive to Jesus in my life.

St. John continues, “God requires a spirit free and annihilated, for every act of the soul, even of thought, of liking or disliking, will hinder and disturb it, and break the profound silence of sense and spirit necessary for hearing the deep and soft word of God.”  And I wonder if it’s possible that the chaos I live actually makes me more free to see Jesus, when He breaks in and becomes so demanding?

How can silence exist in the midst of such a noisy life? Because the chaos helps me search for silence, not just something of my own making that allows me to feel good about myself, but the true silence that is a balm for one who desperately desires peace.  If it were not so, I think it would be much easier for me to construct something that I thought was a fruitful prayer time and be happy with my own efforts. But the way things are now I don’t have the opportunity to make it anything pretty, I just show up because I NEED to.  Because without it, I would surely succumb to hopelessness and despair.  And when I come thus, with my heart and my will bare – ah! This is when Christ is truly able to work in me.

Because my life is so demanding, Christ is even more demanding, such that I must respond. Sometimes He is tender and serene, but not always.  Often for me He is loud, deliberate, and authoritative.  It puts a lot on me, to be sure.  But He never asked me to carry it on my own.

“Me! Me!  Look at Me,” He says.  And when I do, I find in Him all grace I need to continue in His love.

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