Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Pondering in my Heart
Today has been a stressful day at work; a lot planned, our supervisor is on vacation, and I had to give a presentation, without knowing, really, what I was going to say. This same presentation was a bit awkward last year, and this year, too.
Much is my own fault...I didn't plan ahead, and I'm a "planner" and have learned, over and over again, that's how I work with God and vice versa. I have friends who can completely fly by the seat of their pants...but I don't have that gift. That's what God uses with them. He asks me to come to Him, to discuss the issue...and there He tells me what to say or what to do.
Thinking and acting on my feet is not my gift. That's not to say He hasn't been there to bail me out when that's what I've HAD to do, but in something that CAN be planned, I know that He wants me at His feet, listening. Telling Him my needs and lack of understanding.
Today, I fled to Jesus, first just basking in His Presence as I prayed Morning Prayer. Then, later in the afternoon, before everything happened, I went and sat in the Church near the tabernacle.
Some have asked me why I will pray in the Church when Christ is exposed in the monstrance in the Adoration chapel, and I always explain; He is just as present when He is hidden. But I like to be near Him, and often in that manner, our conversations are even more intimate, more mysterious. I know that I can't see Him...but He can see me. And he is just as present, maybe even more so because He is hidden.
This evening, when I went to Him, I went with all my faults and failings, wondering if that would hold back the blessings to be given to others.
He reminded me that the sin of the messenger doesn't stop God's work. I'd made my Act of Contrition, I intend to go to Confession as soon as I can to rid myself of the yuckiness of this week...my own failings can't hold back the flood of God's Grace. Especially for others.
But always, always, there is the discussion of my Calling. It never fails to come up. I can't possibly be in the Lord's presence without recognizing that it must be addressed.
That question is part of me now. It's automatic.
Today, on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, as I was reading the prayers from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I was struck by several passages. But overwhelmingly, it was HER...her presence, her prayers. The desire to be like her.
And the comparison to my own mysterious call. My big looming question...why me?
Echoes of the Old Testament, questions from women so much like me...but holier. Where I run away, they step up.
First, Mary, called out of eternity and purified at her very conception to bear Christ. The angel Gabriel appeared to her, and she, a poor teenager, was taken aback, shocked by the revelation. It is said that all of Heaven paused and held their breath, awaiting her answer, for she had free will; she could have denied Our Lord.
But she didn't. He asked...and she answered: "I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done unto me according to Thy word."
She didn't understand, not intellectually. But every part of her loved God, and recognized Him, in each moment of her life. Through her love, she gave her fiat, even without truly understanding what was being offered...the joy and the cup of suffering. The fact that her soul would be pierced, her Son murdered unjustly, in the most horrible way...for the salvation of us all.
I often find myself apologizing to Mary for killing her Son so brutally.
And all she does is embrace me and place me into His hands. In my life, Mary is silent, but her presence is undeniable.
For several months now, I've been trying to pray the Angelus at least ONCE daily, although often I fail. But it's amazing how often I'll look up and it's exactly noon, or exactly 6 pm, and I'll stop what I'm doing and pray the Angelus. Even if it doesn't "engage" me, I can't deny that the regular recitation of the prayer has brought me into further consideration of the mystery of the Incarnation.
Tonight was one of the fruits of that prayer.
As I spoke to Our Lord about everything I was trying to do, He reminded me of His Mother's fiat. He brought me into that mystery, and spoke to me of my own call...the very beginning.
I won't forget the moment; I ran away. I had come to Him in tears, drawn inexorably towards Him, and realized He was calling.
Me? I knew the life I'd lived. I wasn't like Mary...I was a terrible sinner. This wasn't possible. So I ran away, but that was only the beginning.
Because God doesn't give up. Our Lord pursues us.
Today the same question came to me, the same question of worthlessness (and unworthiness): Why me? Why would you want ME? Why would ANYONE desire me, especially GOD?
Questions Mary would have asked, questions that would have crossed her mind, and which she dashed away in an instant. She knew that "worthy" wasn't a part of the equation, and "worthless" was not in her vocabulary. And even though she didn't understand that God had favored her at her very conception...she said "yes" to Him. Without hesitation, other than her ejaculation of astonishment.
But I am not like Mary. I am nothing. I have nothing. And through my own sin, I have made myself worthless.
But not in God's eyes. His eyes include redemption. God is mercy.
Justice is the only proper response; justice is responding to what God calls us to do, even recognizing that we aren't worthy to do it.
Yet I could not let it go. I had to press the issue. Why me? How can you desire me? Why have you pursued me for so long, why did you never let me go? Why did you not wash your hands of me and dust the soles of your feet?
How can you call me, and continue to be patient with me? Why don't you let me go?
So as I prayed, taking a few moments from work to spend in the company of the One whom I am to serve, He asked me quite clearly,
"Would you prefer that I let you go? Would you prefer that I walk away? Would you prefer that I pursue you no longer?"
His question was not querulous; it was sincere, in response to my own, and I caught my breath.
What would happen to me if Jesus let me go? What would happen to me if He walked away?
What would happen to me if He did not pursue me so lovingly?
What would happen to me if my Lord, my Savior, my King...let me go?
It was a punch to my solar plexus. All of my breath left me.
His question was sincere; Our Lord operates on Free Will, the great gift he gave us, which we can use to accept or deny Him.
He has that gift, too...He created it. He won't infringe upon it. If I don't want Him to pursue me, all I have to do is say "no", and He'll go away.
Jesus will not force Himself upon me. The Holy Spirit will not overwhelm me against my will. God the Father will not call me "daughter" unless I will it also.
I have to say "yes". I have to give that fiat. I have to trust, but I cannot be forced into that.
My own fiat has to come from love, not coercion.
And no, I don't want Our Lord to leave me. I don't want Him to let go of me...ever. If He lets go of me, I'll be decimated. If He lets go of my hand..I'll be lost forever.
Do I want Him to stop pursuing me?
No. Dear Lord, don't EVER stop pursuing me. Because eventually I'll say "yes", eventually I'll realize what you're offering, eventually the pondering in my heart will make its way to my soul and I'll realize how badly I've been stringing you along.
Please, Jesus, don't ever let go of me...I can't live without you. Not now...not ever.