Each day, especially when I've been as stressed as I have been lately, I find my way to the chapel, to the only source of strength and comfort that I really have in all this mess. And as I open the tome, each day's readings are speaking to me so profoundly that I want only to remain and pray silently in the presence of Christ.
Today I opened to Morning prayer and read, "Surrender yourself to God, and he will do everything for you."
I think I stared at that simple phrase for five full minutes before I moved on.
Commit your life to the Lord,
trust in him and he will act,
so that your justice breaks forth like the light,
your cause like the noon-day sun
Surrender to God, and he will do everything for you.
But that wasn't all:
Wait for the Lord to lead, then follow in his way.
Psalm after psalm, reading after reading; it was as though I was the only person in the world, and God was speaking ONLY to me today. Every single word. Never mind that throughout the entire population of the Church, thousands and thousands of people are reading the exact same prayers; and yet, they were the very words I needed the most. Without them, today, I would have been completely lost.
Even the Office of Readings was among my favorite; from a letter to the Romans from St. Ignatius of Antioch as he approached his martyrdom:
My earthly desires have been crucified, and there no longer burns in me the love of perishable things, but a living water speaks within me, saying: "Come to the Father"
I take no delight in corruptible food or in the pleasures of this life.
I want the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of David's
seed, and for drink I want his blood, the sign of his imperishable love.
I certainly cannot live up to that last, for I am so attached to things of the earth. And yet I aspire to be like St. Ignatius of Antioch in his incredible humility and faith. And in his own words, he also speaks to me, saying, "Come to the Father."
Currently I am only at the beginning of an immense project at work, far beyond my capability and each day brings new challenges even as I struggle to knock down the obstacles that have been in the way for months. I am blessed to have very gifted assistants, but they cannot do my job and I cannot step down to do theirs. I am and always have been a "worrier", which is so draining, but I can't seem to be able to let go and let God do the worrying! And so God continually calls to me to come to Him, to surrender, to let Him lead, and still I hold the reins, worrying, terrified.
Another part of the readings today spoke even to this, referencing Jame 2:24-26 and Hebrews 11:31:
A man pleases God by what he does and not by faith alone.
And so it's not enough to just let go...I have work to do, too. And I have to surrender and be willing to let God direct, but as long as I worry so much, I'm not listening. I can't listen in such a state of agitation. Prayer has done so much to help me calm down and see God's hand in all that we are doing, but I'm still not sure how to let go, or let go of how much?
And again I say...how did I survive before I began praying Liturgy of the Hours? It is such a blessing to me as I learn to let God speak so clearly through His directions, as though only to me. I love the prayers, I love the readings, I love building this relationship with God and knowing that Christ awaits me in the chapel whenever I need to retire in silence or to pour my heart out to Him. I could not survive my present trial if He was not there to hold me up.