Another picture that our Lord loves to use is that of the shepherd who goes out to look for the sheep that is lost. So long as we imagine that it is we who look for God, then we must often lose heart. But it is the other way about: he is looking for us. And so we can afford to recognize that very often we are not looking for God; far from it, we are in full flight from him, in high rebellion against him. And he knows that and has taken it into account. He has followed us into our own darkness; there where we thought finally to escape from him, we run straight into his arms.
So we do not have to erect a false piety for ourselves, to give us hope of salvation. Our hope is in his determination to save us. And he will not give in!
This should free us from that crippling anxiety which prevents any real growth, giving us room to do whatever we can do, to accept the small but genuine responsibilities that we do have. Our part is not to shoulder the whole burden of salvation, the initiative and the program are not in our hands: our part is to consent, to learn how to love him in return whose love came to us so freely while we were quite uninterested in him. (Simon Tugwell, O.P.)
Sometimes we just get fixated on the wrong things during Lent. Or perhaps a better way to say it is: distracted by things different than God wants us to focus on. Or we just get discouraged. I found this advice by Marge Fenelon to be excellent and very helpful for me. Hopefully for you as well.
Relaxing into Lent
As a little girl, I was extremely melancholic, to the point of finding myself every so often sinking into bouts of sadness or loneliness. Sometimes, I’d just feel “lost” for seemingly no reason at all. Nothing was ever truly wrong but at the same time, nothing was ever truly right, either.
Sure, there were things that could have had me down – my dad’s heart condition, the occasions of family discord, or the solitariness of being the youngest child who trails her siblings by several years. Our house certainly could get quiet and lonely at times. Yet, there was never anything I could directly relate it to. In fact, all these years later, I still can’t figure out the cause of those sensations. They were sudden, and they were strong. That’s all I know.
Read the rest here.
Written for a Jewish wedding, but still true for every one of us.
Sung at a Jewish wedding, this song is not a typical wedding song. It gives you a new perspective on the holiness of marriage according to Judaism. Jewish tradition teaches that when a man and a woman unite in matrimony, G-d Himself joins them and that the union is holy. The words to this song, a bit melancholy for a joyous Jewish wedding, are truly meaningful and embody the soul of a Jewish marriage – faith.
“..Even on the days when I “forgot” you You were always in my life In all the ways that I went You have been a guiding light. I was blind. I could not see beyond what my eyes were focused on
Chorus: King, the King of all Kings – Thank you for life For happiness for tears and Laughter
Even when it’s hard sometimes, even then, you are my G-d.
You are never far.”
This is a story of hope for each one of us.
Armando is an amazing eight-year-old boy . . . .
Armando cannot walk or talk and is very small for his age. He came to us from an orphanage where he had been abandoned. He no longer wanted to eat because he no longer wanted to live cast off from his mother. He was desperately thin and was dying of lack of food. After a while in our community where he found people who held him, loved him, and wanted him to live, he gradually began to eat again and to develop in a remarkable way. He still cannot walk or talk or eat by himself, his body is twisted and broken, and he has a severe mental disability, but when you pick him up, his eyes and his whole body quiver with joy and excitement and say: “I love you.” He has a deep therapeutic influence on people. . . .
What [many people] do not always know is that they have a well deep inside of them. If that well is tapped, springs of life and of tenderness flow forth. It has to be revealed to each person that these waters are there and that they can rise up from each one of us and flow over people, giving them life and a new hope.
That is the power of Armando. In some mysterious way, in all his brokenness, he reveals to us our own brokenness, our difficulties in loving, our barriers and hardness of heart. If he is so broken and so hurt and yet is still such a source of life, then I too am allowed to look at my own brokenness, and to trust that I too can give life to others. I do not have to pretend that I am better than others and that I have to win in all the competitions. It’s O.K. to be myself, just as I am, in my uniqueness. That, of course, is a very healing and liberating experience. I am allowed to be myself, with all my psychological and physical wounds, with all my limitations but with all my gifts too. And I can trust that I am loved just as I am, and that I too can love and grow.
This is for all of you who struggle with a positive image of yourselves, finding it hard to believe that God could love you.
When you have an inferiority complex–and who of us hasn’t–you say things like, “I just don’t believe that what God made is good. Look at me. I’m a louse.” Don’t dare to challenge God like this. Everything he made is good, including yourself. Don’t listen to that serpent who is giving you apples that look red on the outside and are full of inferiority complexes on the inside. Don’t eat that apple, or else you are going to go down into a pit prepared by Satan for you for your whole life.
How can you have a wrong image of something or someone that God touched? God touched you and he created you. You passed through his mind and you were begotten. Anyone of us that passes through God’s mind, anyone of us that God touched, cannot be this horrible person we think we are. No! Each one of us is beautiful–we’re beautiful because he touched us.
Sometimes this is very difficult for us to accept. We look at ourselves and say, “He made us in his image, equal to himself in a manner of speaking, heir to his Son? This just can’t be. He hasn’t looked into my heart. he doesn’t know what I’m made of!” We say those silly things because our evaluation of ourselves is very poor. We haven’t looked at ourselves with the merciful, tender, compassionate eyes of God. So we walk in despair half the time. As a result, the ability to realize that God is both in our midst and in us–a realization that is the fruit of faith–fades and disappears.
This is the main reason, it seems to me, why the Father sent his Son to us, why the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us as one of us. The Father, having given us the fantastic gift of faith, wanted to help us accept this awesome gift. He sent his Son Jesus Christ so that we, unbelieving, might believe. We are like children; we need to touch.
Every human being is a mystery. The mystery of man enters into the mystery of God, and bursting forth with great joy, comes faith and understanding. When faith is there, all is clear, and a love relation with God enters into your heart. When you have faith, it is such a simple thing to accept his love, even if you do not understand why he loves you. (Catherine de Hueck Doherty)
Praying for you that you have faith in His love for you.