During my Lenten devotions, I have stumbled across several ideas that I have been mulling over.
I was watching Fr. Mike Schmitz’s live-streamed Sunday Mass and was taken aback by his observations. People are living perhaps the hardest times they have ever lived, and death is all around us. He said that death is one of the most difficult things to get through, to watch a loved one die, to grieve the death of a family member, or even face our own impending death. It is heartbreaking and heart wrenching. But there is something even worse than death, and that is to lose heart.
Our hearts can break from sadness and sorrow, they can be ripped from our very chest, but much worse than that is to be discouraged. To despair is worse than death because we have lost our hope in God.
In the same vein, I have been reflecting on the difference between concern and worry. Obviously, we are all concerned about the outbreak, how it has yanked us out of our routines, and made a horrible illness way too close for comfort. Many of us are also worried. Worried about our finances, our health, our children… Will normalcy ever return?
The difference is that concern moves us to action. We put on our rubber gloves, avoid going out of the house, and wash our hands. On the other hand, worry drives us to anxiety, and eventually, despair.
In today’s First Reading, God poured out blessings upon Abram. He made him the father of a host of nations, made him exceedingly fertile, promised to maintain His covenant with him, and gave him the whole land of Canaan. This new reality was so great that God even gave him a new name.
But let us recall that God did not give him these gifts instantaneously. He waited. Abram endured many hardships and suffered seemingly endless infertility before this great moment. God waited and chose His moment to act.
We are in this time of waiting right now. We are concerned, yes. But let us not fall into worry because Jesus is right here. He is right beside us, ready to raise us up, but He is choosing to wait.
And here’s the clincher. After God showered Abraham with abundance, He said: “On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”
Could it be that God is waiting for us to turn our hearts back to Him and keep His covenant once again? I recently saw on social media this phrase: “In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.” Hmmmm…
Fr. Schmitz encourages that even if God does not deliver us, may our hearts be like His. No conditions. If He saves us, we are His, and even if He doesn’t, we are still His. “Our hearts can be broken without being lost.” We want the miracle. We see others who were miraculously cured, but whether we are cured or not, we are still his. Daniel was spared the lion’s den, but Stephen was not spared stoning. Jesus begged that this cup would pass, yet was not spared crucifixion. May we say as Jesus did, may our hearts be like His and proclaim “not my will, but yours be done.”
Tami grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.