When I was first drawn into the spirituality of communion of life with Christ through Mary I was given an abundance of easy and effective graces. I was easily motivated, single-minded, and didn’t understand when others weren’t as enthusiastic about spreading the spirituality as I was. Oh, those were the days! I was very serious about this business of doing all that I could to be of use. Little did I know I was subconsciously building the business of my pride!
It was hard to see my pride when I was being fed intravenously with positive feelings. It wasn’t until years later that I now see the tower of ME I was building. How did I finally get to know? It was in describing to my spiritual director my lack of feelings and the response of slothfulness it was leading to. For more than 10 years I had been faithful in small things regarding a job that I have.** However, over the last few months, I have started to push everything to the edge. I choose playing on my smart phone or a TV show over work. I've starting letting things go…not for a day, or a week, like I could justify in the past, but now a month, or even a year. Deadlines don’t have the power they once had in my life. I push the deadline. I accept the late fees. I “file” the paper on top of the pile that never goes away. Not only do I see this in my work, but also at home. When company comes, less gets cleaned. The words “I’m sorry, I forgot” are more commonly used.
After sharing with my spiritual director just how bad it was getting, he simply asked me, “Are you surprised by this inability to do a good job?” I had to answer truthfully – “YES! I am surprised it can get this bad!” Then he laughed at me, in that all-knowing, empathetic way that has been his custom when I reveal to myself who I really am. He helped me understand that it is a trap to think that “I am faithful.” I know I was given adequate warning through the materials, conferences, and retreats, but I inevitably have to live it before it hits home.
Yes, I thought I could be faithful in small things. I thought I could entrust to Blessed Mother in all things. But, my current slothfulness is helping me to see that even the desire to entrust to Mary is a grace and I cannot posses it. What now? I am called to more contrition and gratitude, more begging, and a deeper awareness of God’s mercy. It can be so easy to believe I am loved when I am successful, but as the failure, it is only in and through faith that WE (Mary and I) believe it. This is an opportunity for me. WE can choose to see this event through the eyes of faith or I can try to whitewash it by reading more articles on organization and how to do better in life. WE (Mary and I) choose to live with “High Hopes!” WE choose to believe that this is who God has loved all along, and if He desires, He will allow MOM to animate me once again – but when it happens this time, maybe (I have to be honest – it is only a maybe) I will join Blessed Mother and be full of gratitude for that special grace and give God the glory for faithfulness in small things.
The first chapter of the book The Two Pillars by S.C. Biela is titled “Human Pedestals.” WE just reread it in amazement on how it applies to my current situation. I’d have included the whole chapter in this blog if I could, but it will just have to suffice to share this paragraph:
Gratitude to God is born on the foundation of the truth about God’s forgiving love. It is also born on the truth about humility, which is the truth about us. Humility is the truth that tries to remove from our hearts the poisonous influences of the faith that we have in ourselves. The conviction that everything is “given” to us, that everything is a gift, can be born on the foundation of the truth about God’s unceasingly bestowing love and the truth about ourselves as people who need everything from this bestowing love. A cry of gratitude comes forth from the depth of a heart that is full of awe before the reality of God’s bestowal. (S.C. Biela, The Two Pillars, [Ft.Collins, CO: IAMF, 2006], 7.)
**Even though during these years I used the phrase WE (Mary and I) were faithful together, internally, deep within, I must have believed it was “I” – alone. It was so subtle. It is still thanks to my communion of life with Christ through Mary that WE can see this truth today. She never abandons me. She is always faithful to “small” things – such as helping me to live in truth and bringing me closer and closer to Her Son!