Misery. Such a miserable word. Avoiding misery was the program of my life. Many want to continue to support me in this program – “Oh, what an awful day! You deserve a glass of wine.” Or “That stinks, let me treat you to a Starbucks!” or “You’re such a good person, don’t feel bad. You didn’t mean it.” Even worse, some “friends” try to convince me that I am “right” when I share how I treated my child, or friend, or co-worker the way I did. They can be so convincing that I can fall right into the trap of it all again – AVOID MISERY!
Is it any wonder Jesus told us “How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life” (Mt 7:14)? Right before this he said “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many” (Mt 7:13). Not only do I see that on my own I’d be on the broad road to destruction– but sometimes, I see that without Blessed Mother, I push my dear ones onto this road with my criticism and nagging.
A priest recently shared with me that the devil spends enough time making people feel guilty and emphasizing their sins that we Christians don’t have to do this for one another. It wasn’t soon after this that I began to realize how critical I am with my dearest ones. Every sentence out of my mouth at home seems to be a dagger ready to plunge into the nearest victim. I try to hide it (sometimes) by making a joke about what a kid or my husband hasn’t done, only to hear the response “why are you being so sarcastic?” My “holy” motivation? I don’t want my kids or my husband to be miserable of course! I want them to see their huge pride so that they will be weak and rely on Mary. Ha! What a crazy twist in logic. The real truth, however, is that I don’t want their misery to affect me!
So – what am I getting at? Well, it was my misconception that I would “get better” through my entrustment to Mary. I thought it meant I would always be “good.” No. Entrustment to Mary means I will get to see the truth of who I am…more and more. But, this is not for nothing! The more I see how miserable I am, the more real God’s love is becoming for me. His love encompasses my misery with His mercy when WE (Mary and me) give it over to Him in confession or at the Holy Eucharist. Each layer of truth Blessed Mother helps me see uncovers a new layer of God’s unconditional love. This is amazing and worth the challenge!
My spiritual friends are the ones who listen to my discovery of misery and then remind me that I am loved as such. Interestingly enough, through the process I see I am not always a friend to myself! I can see my misery and fall to discouragement and lack of trust in God’s mercy. But, over the years, and thanks to the grace of a wise spiritual director, I am starting to be a true friend to myself. I attribute that to Blessed Mother’s work. She, in me and for me, reminds me of God’s love and mercy. Thanks MOM! Now, with Her grace, I pray that WE will follow this lead and WE will love my dear ones as they are...miserable, like me.
“I believe that I am deeply and personally loved by the Triune God with the whole truth about me, and
that, because I am a person of a little faith and weak love, Jesus entrusted me to His Mother at the hour of His death in the person of Saint John the Apostle, who represents all of us, thus showing His particular fondness for me, His most beloved child.” – Paragraph 1. of the Creed of the Families of Nazareth Movement, USA