Friday, August 1, 2014

Pray, Hope, and Don't Worry

Fear rules my life more than I'd like to admit. This gripping terror is the unwanted companion of love. When you love someone, you give yourself completely to them. You take every little bit of yourself, and you plant it deep within them, and it grows. This is love. Your whole self is in this love. There is no you anymore, except the you that lives within the one you love.

The fear that comes from this is such that you feel, if anything should ever happen to the one you love, if your spouse or your child dies, then you would die with them, because there is no you without them. This death is a death of paralyzing fear. This is what happens when you rely on this person as the source of your love. What we are really called to do is to put this love in God's hands. He is the fulfillment of this love and it is through Him and with Him that this love has its being. 

The problem is, can I really do this? Can I give myself completely in love to another person and yet completely let go of the desire for control? Although, intellectually, I know there is nothing I can do to stop God from calling His child home, emotionally, I have to try. So I turn to my own power, and I find that all I have is worry, anxiety, and fear. As if any of these things ever have or ever could change a single thing. Still, it's all we have, and we are human, so we worry. 

Jesus tells us, "Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your lifespan? If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest?" (Luke 12:25-26) He's calling us to let go of our ridiculously false feelings of control. He reminds us of nature, and how God cares for all of His creation. We know that nature is one of the ways God reveals Himself to us. Regardless, it's hard to tell ourselves that God cares for the birds and the flowers without also thinking of how fragile nature is. The life of a bird could be ended in an instant. A flower could wither in a day. How difficult it is to accept God's ways. My life is just as fragile as the life of any living thing. My family could be gone tomorrow, and there's nothing I can do to change it. I just have to place it all in God's hands. 

This is one of my biggest struggles because it is one thing that I'm scared to do. I don't know how to let go. I don't know how my heart can withstand losing someone I love. Even though it has happened in the past, and I know it will happen again, I can't accept it. The thought rips me apart and I turn to myself again and again, relying on my own strength because of the fear that keeps me from giving up the fight. I struggle against the arms of my Father when he is calling me to breathe and simply be held. The only real power I have is the power of prayer. In the words of Mother Theresa, "I used to believe that prayer changed things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things." I like to think of this quote to remind myself of the greatest power of prayer- the power to transform ourselves. We can become what God wants us to be through prayer. We can live without fear. He will give us every grace if we simply ask.

From the mouth of one of the most inspiring saints, Padre Pio:

Pray! Pray without ceasing. Make every moment of your life a prayer. Offer it all to Jesus. Every dish you wash, every tear you cry, every minute spent at work- offer it up as a prayer. Let every breath be an affirmation of God's presence in your life. Talk to Him. Ask for His help when you're angry. Ask for His help when you can't get the lid off a jar. Thank Him for all your blessings- wealth, health, happiness, a fun trip to the playground, two hours alone while your kids sleep, or a good joke that really makes you laugh. See God in all of it and offer it all to Him. The more you talk to God, the more He will live in you, and you in Him. He will remove every worry from your heart and He will fill you with His peace. 

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