Monday, May 11, 2009

Fixin' a Hole

Yeah for another song reference title! This one is a classic, though, and not in an 80's-licious way, but a true classic- a Beatles' tune. Which, the Beatles are like a religion in my family!

It was the song that popped into my head as I was leaving the Shrine today after Adoration and Mass. God had just revealed to me something pretty convicting. Something that definitely has led to this little 'hole' that I'm stuck in currently.
But I trust that He is going to help me fix it. And the cure, the 'fix', my friends is Grace.

Another thing that I couldn't quite put my finger on of late, much like the absence of surrender, was this absence of awareness and trust in Grace in my life. Sure, I've been receiving the Sacraments, but I haven't been fully reliant on His Grace. Most likely because that comes with surrender!

So I'm gonna share a little part of this dark hole that God showed me today, only because I think it might help others too. I was pretty embarrassed and convicted, as I said, to see this inside of me. I had just gone to confession Sat, too! Guess it's time to go back...

ENTITLEMENT. It's an awful word that has infected our culture to no end. It's what I saw when I worked in youth ministry as the root to many parents' and teens' misunderstandings of the Church. It is what has made our culture looked down upon by many other nations and cultures.We think we are owed something. At all times.

And it's true, we should see ourselves as valuable creatures, but we go from one extreme to another. Entitlement does not necessarily mean we know our worth at all. It actually is only a cover for not believing that we've been given something (Grace!) freely. If we knew our worth, we wouldn't feel entitled to anything, as crazy as that sounds.

It's true, though. When we have accepted and are content with where we are, we don't feel like we need anything else. But our consumerist culture has convinced us that this is never, ever true. That we always are lacking something and have a right to have more. That we need more.

What are we really entitled to? I will argue basic human needs- Food, shelter, water,love. These are our rights. Am I entitled to know the future? No. Am I entitled to really anything else other than love and shelter and nourishment? I don't think so. And believing that this isn't the case just leads us to more heartache and a very vicious cycle.

So I spent years trying to get kids to realize this about our culture, and I still think I'd like to do that by pursuing ministry, a degree, and the like. But today God showed me I have been coming to Him in prayer with a sense of entitlement myself. Ouch! And there is a fine line between this and trust. He wants me to trust that He can give me anything I need or want. But not necessarily believe that I have to have earned or merited any of it.

This is where Grace comes in. Grace was/is given freely. That is the beauty of our faith. We don't deserve it, but He gives it freely. We receive Grace by His death and Resurrection and His instillation of the Sacraments.

And Grace is LOVE. And while we are entitled to Love, it is a free gift. No matter how much we pray and fight and plead, we will always get the same amount: which is endless.

God made me see today that I am putting conditions on His unconditional love! UGH! I'm trying to fit it into boxes: ie- "because I pray really hard, you will give me this. Because I gave a year of my life to a religious order, I deserve this." Ugh! Gross! Fix that darn hole!

But though there is that fine line that I am riding, I have the potential to come back to the side Jesus wants me on. Not by my own work, though. But by Grace.

I am trying to pray a novena for an answer to something and it has been a test for me in trust. Do I believe Jesus will really come through for me? Or do I feel entitled to the answer? To a degree, we have to believe that we have a right to know, that is why we pray novenas and the like. But I realized today it's not that we have a right to know, it's that God loves us and we should believe that Love as a free gift.

WOW. This is deep stuff for sure. I'm still not sure that I am 'fixin' a hole', but recognizing that the hole is there was good for me. And I am going to try and rely more on Grace for the cure.

"Take Lord, Receive...Give me only Your Love and Your Grace. That's Enough for me".

I think last week I was focused more on the surrender part of this prayer. Now I'm thinking of the acceptance of Grace and Love being all we need. All we are entitled to, but it's enough.

I'll close (I never know how to close things, I apologize. If I were giving this as a talk while on NET, my teammates would've been motioning frantically for me to have wrapped this up moments ago. Also, my conclusions to every paper I've ever written were always the suck) with this quote from 'Interior Freedom' by Jacques Phillipe:

"Taking our stand on grace leads to life, because it enables love to grow, expand and flourish. Grace is given freely, and this free giving is the only law under which love can exist. Jesus says: 'You received without pay, give without pay. (Matt 10:8)' God's love is absolutely free: we don't have to merit it or win it, we only have to receive and welcome it by faith...

Living according to grace is the remedy for pride. We realize that our works are not our own but are what God gives us the grace to do. This is also the remedy for despair, because no matter how terrible our failures, we are never doomed to inevitable damnation- we can always return to God's absolutely free and unconditional love" pgs 116-117

(So, yeah, I pretty much said what he said, but in far more words :)


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