Today we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension….God talks to me in many different ways. Sometimes its rapid fire. This long weekend is one of those times. I suspect that he does that because of my age. I’m in my early 60’s and was away from the church from 1965 to 2015. That’s a really long time to be AWOL. Now that I am back I’m on the fast track to whatever God’s plan is for me. I don’t have another 50 years to tra-la-la through life trying to find God; trying to find my purpose. I have to make every minute, every day count. I know that with my head. But my faith life is wobbly. Hit and miss. Inconsistent. Full of whining and complaining because things are hard, I don’t have enough money, time, energy –whatever—just fill in the blank. Meanwhile the clock of my life just keeps on ticking. Without an action plan. All you have are desires and dreams that never come to fruition. You are actually lying to yourself. “Someday, I’m going to do great things for the Lord” Someday is always tomorrow instead of today. God did not ask me for great things–he simply said to follow him faithfully.
I know that I am weak. Each night I resolve to do better tomorrow. PATHETIC.
Who am I fooling? So my beautiful Lord and Savior talks to me rapid fire, allowing me to connect the dots between events to decipher the message he is writing just for me. It’s best to decode the message quickly on my own because I have learned that:
- God does not give up. He just gets louder and louder. Sometimes he’s like Cher in Moonstruck and he simply says’ “Snap out of it” Other times when I’m particularly stubborn or rebel by moving slowly and continuously whining, he gets out his 2×4 to get my attention. Trust me, you want to get the message on your own and become the object of the lesson. It’s never pleasant, but for sure you’ll be paying attention.
- If you think that might be a tad mean. It’s not. His love for us will not allow us to just do whatever we want like a spoiled toddler throwing a tantrum. After all, I’m the one that came back to him on his terms. I surrendered to him. He didn’t surrender to me. He doesn’t need anything from me.
So here are the facts or clues if you will: It’s memorial day weekend. It’s the feast of the Ascension. My favorite priest is leaving and we are having a good-bye luncheon with many bittersweet moments. Saturday I attended the ordination of the deacon who will now take my beloved Fr. C’s place. I watched the biography of St. John Paul II. It’s God code and I have to decipher it. The quote from St. Joan of Arc “I was sent by God, the King of Heaven” was printed on beautiful bookmarks given to everyone in honor of Fr. C.
Let’s start with the Ascension. Where is Jesus? Seriously where is he? He’s not in the tomb and we read he’s not on earth because he is taken up by a cloud. Here’s where he can be found:
- He’s in heaven, (too high and far away)
- He’s in the Eucharist (this limits me to seeking him only through communion. (It would take a lot of communion to fix my issues).
- He’s in the sanctuary (still, I have to go to the sanctuary to talk to him–kinda hard when you work all week).
BUT because he sent the Holy Spirit, he is able to reside in my heart always. He is never not there. He’s knows everything that is going on with me -he is available 24/7. “Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age” More importantly, whether you believe in Jesus or not, he’s never not with you either. His sacrifice is for everyone. It’s a gift. It’s there whether you accept it or not.
Well if he’s in my heart then that shoots all my excuses down as to why I don’t have a consistent prayer life, or offer myself in service because of… (insert excuse) . He knows I’m slacking. Slacking is a slippery slope. It can lead to sloth or acedia (google it–you google everything else) and they are considered one of the seven deadly sins. NOT GOOD for me or for you.
Now, that we got that important clue. Let’s move on to St. John Paul II, Fr. C, newly ordained Fr. J and Joan of Arc. What message do they bring for me to decode?
- All accepted the call of the Lord and lived a life of obedience and discipline
- All cultivate a serious prayer life and spend time with God daily
- All are human and faced the same challenges and limitations that most humans experience.
- All gave of themselves completely, unconditionally out of love for God and for us.
Each one received and accepted a calling to be a part of God’s Army. ( I was sent by God, the King of Heaven). Each one executes their mission with love, humility, dedication, whether they good or not’ whether they are tired or not; whether its convenient or not; whether they agree or not–regardless of their lack of courage or the daunting task– simply because they love God enough to say yes, I will do what you ask Lord.
Are you connecting the dots with me? Deciphering the code? It’s like a puzzle coming together.
Now, obviously I’m not called into the priesthood or to lead an army or become Pope. We can and should aspire to become saints.
I am called to pray, to use the weapons of the sacraments and the rosary to further his kingdom. To let the light of Christ shine through me. To love others because Jesus is dwelling in their hearts too. To report to duty in service to him. To sacrifice.
I am called to do these things (all within my reach). C-O-N-S-I-S-T-E-N-T-L-Y. Not when I’m in trouble or when my busy schedule allows. The tasks may vary for each of us but what’s required of us is the same. Doesn’t matter if you are a Pope, Saint or Priest. The degree of sacrifice may vary but they all require the same level of commitment.
Final Message and Action Plan
I got the message Lord. First I ask your forgiveness. Second, I will pray to the Holy Spirit, my helper to show me how to order my day every day. I will begin by spending more time with you. Less internet, TV, all the distractions that enemy cleverly sends my way that fritters away my time which is finite. Thank you for loving me enough to send me the message.
I saved the best for last
At Father C’s luncheon today I formally met the formation director. I’ve tried meeting her on three separate occasions and was unsuccessful. I want to teach RCIA classes although I am hardly qualified. She asked if I was interested in helping her with kindergartener and first graders. I told her that I never had children of my own and don’t relate to them well. But even if I did, I just recently returned to the church and there are huge gaps of knowledge in catechism. She suggested that I attend RCIA classes as a refresher starting August 13 (God does not waste time) and when I’m done or feel ready, then perhaps I can work with children or the adults. It’s through formation that we secure future workers, seminarians, and sisters.
Today when we asked Fr. C if there was anything he could do to stay. He lovingly told us that this was not an option. He took a vow of obedience and he submits to the authority of the church and goes and does what’s asked of him.
I hear you Lord–loud and clear. Thank you for all the beautiful messengers you sent. How much you must love me to send two saints, 2 priest’s and one formation director on this long holiday weekend where we honor those that gave up their very lives so that I may have freedom to worship and serve without fear.