We just celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday, and I am so very grateful to St. John Paul II for establishing this great feast! What a rescue for us all, especially me!
In my last blogpost I wrote about discovering God’s mercy. It seems I need to get the message a little more loudly and clearly. I had shared about my struggles with high expectations and perfectionism. And as a control freak, I am now obsessed with getting rid of these weaknesses. But there lies the rub. I will not. Ever. This is who I am. I have struggled with a distorted image of God for so many, many years and I am so grateful for the gradual discovery of Who God really is. I know in my head that He is not judging me the way I so harshly judge myself. He does not love me for how well I avoid weakness. He does not love me for the good deeds I do. He does not love me best when I see myself in the most flattering (albeit, disillusioned) light. But my heart asks how God could possibly love me, especially as I see how wretched I really am (and I am only seeing a tiny sliver of that misery!).
As I was preparing this blogpost, I saw this repeated theme of struggling with controlling – my behavior, my loved ones, my God.
I am more of a Control Freak than I had even thought. This is deep-rooted. And God wants me to realize that I will not get “better.” I have only been made aware recently that the saints were sinners who knew their need for God. They were not strong on their own. They did not love on their own. They did not do courageous and generous acts of love on their own. They saw their weakness, were open to true contrition and gratitude, grew in humility, and made room for God to love and live through them, for them, with them, all for His greater glory (pretty much all of them with the assistance of our Blessed Mother at one point or another).
As I am so obviously not a saint, I see that whenever I get a glimpse of the truth about myself, I am horrified and want to make it go away. I want to be good. I want to be loving. I want to be someone God would be “proud of” (going back to my distorted image of how God loves). But I am going about it all the wrong way, because I will only love when God loves through me. I will only be a saint when God lives and dwells within me. I am so busy relying on myself and pushing Him away until I fix myself that I fall deeper and deeper in this miserable pit. Lately I have been so unhappy because I see my ugliness. But I need to look at it in the arms of my Blessed Mama, because on my own, I become so very, very discouraged. I am so tempted to turn away from God in shame. I doubt His love for me. I see that in the past (before entrusted to the Blessed Mother) that my life could’ve been viewed as one very blessed and easy. I now see how little faith I have, and God must have preserved me from difficult trials because I would’ve run away from him for good. I can choose to look at the truth about myself now, because Blessed Mama won’t allow me to run very far or for very long. I praise God for that. Truly. I would be a complete mess without Her.
You must not forget that Mary suffers with great pain the torment that your sin causes Christ. For her, it is excruciatingly painful when you despise His love, when you abuse your own dignity and show contempt to God who loves you extremely and without end. In spite of this great suffering, she does not let you go from her embrace. If in this moment she would abandon you to your own possibilities – you would perish. (S.C. Biela, In the Arms of Mary, 2nd. Ed, rev [Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005], 175.