Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Friday, July 25, 2014

Entrustment to Mary = Living with the Weeds

After a week away on vacation, and lots of watering and rain, I came home to weeds, weeds, and more weeds!!  I can’t help but be frustrated. This is the second year we’ve had this particular garden and it was so beautiful last year.  I don’t have a natural green thumb, so extra work in the garden isn’t on the top of my to-do list. However, last year, with the fresh start, we kept up. We weeded and even enjoyed it. We took great satisfaction in keeping the yard looking pretty and eating the delicious bounty.

So how has it gone this year? It just overwhelms me. I want all the beauty and deliciousness without being in charge. What are the weeds in my garden helping me to see?  I’m getting a big dose of “the truth” about my spiritual life.

I sort of thought living a spiritual life would be like a beautiful and tasty garden. Having received many drawing graces at the start of my conversion, it was easy for me to do all the spiritual practices that are taught to be good for growing in the spiritual life. Meditation, daily Eucharist, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Confession, spiritual reading…my “garden”was getting lots of watering, fertilizing, and pruning. From the outside, it looked quite nice! I thought it would just stay that way – as if frozen in time.

I didn’t want to focus on the fact I had to keep persevering. Like in my garden, when I pull weeds without getting to the roots, I find that my spiritual problems resurface over and over again. It just overwhelms me.

But, thanks to my Entrustment, when I see the same “weeds” growing up again (for example anxiety over my spiritual laziness) I am reminded that I am NOT in charge – that I am in Blessed Mother’s arms exactly for this reason. It is because I wasn’t born with a natural “green thumb” that I was entrusted to Her care by Jesus Himself.

I really don’t like looking at the messy garden in my backyard, but I have to accept the facts – if I don’t work on it, it is going to look ugly.  I can choose to work on it or not, but I have to remember I am not alone when I garden - I can garden with Blessed Mother! I can remember I am in Her Arms and beg for graces to get the job done.

When I see the mess of my spiritual life, however, I get to look at it a different way. This situation isn’t mine to fix. Because of my entrustment, I'm learning to allow Blessed Mother to take control! She shows me my weakness and helps me live in the truth – to see who I am and who God loves. My spiritual mess is an opportunity to give God the glory for He already redeemed me from it through the blood of His Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ! My ugly spiritual life helps me continue to desire a deeper communion with Christ through Mary. Maybe one day my spiritual life won’t look as bad as today – maybe one day WE (Blessed Mother and me) will get to the root of my “weeds” … but by then I will know it is only because of Mary’s humility and perseverance for my soul. Right now, I want to keep my focus on Mary’s faithfulness and to remain in gratitude for God's amazing love!

“When you entrust yourself to her, [Mary] can obtain everything from God. She can even ask for a miracle, such that you will begin to be poor in spirit, as someone who lives with the hunger for God and His holy will.” (S.C. Biela, Open Wide the Door to Christ, [Ft.Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005], 132.)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Entrustment To Mary = Jesus, I Trust In You!

Each of our four daughters has a major event happening this summer. In June our oldest delivered our second grandchild. Our second oldest is getting married this next weekend. Our third is entering the convent at the end of August. And our baby just celebrated her 21st birthday. A lot of wonderful graces abound, but as is my usual response I am an emotional wreck.
The secular world would consider me a “head” person, for I do a lot of thinking. In fact I over analyze, and create many trials in my imagination. So instead of just taking everything in stride, I create different scenarios of each event, some good, some bad, and some just utterly ridiculous. I can really get myself into a tizzy. When I started to feel a burning in my stomach I realized I was NOT trusting God. I was in Church and noticed the Divine Mercy painting and decided I need to use the “Jesus, I trust in You!” phrase as my prayer mantra, especially when I start to feel anxiety, stress, or sadness, for I am not good with change or major events. With change, I get melancholy looking back on the way things used to be. With major events I enjoy the preparations and the event, but afterward become overwhelmed with mourning that it is over.
So when my daughter is travelling the 7 hour car ride to the wedding by herself with the newborn and toddler, instead of fretting I will repeat = "Jesus, I trust in You!"
When we pack for the wedding which is in a town ~5 hours away and I want to worry about not forgetting anything = “Jesus, I trust in You!”
When we gather all of our daughter’s items needed for her entrance day and we say our goodbyes = “Jesus, I trust in You!”
When my baby heads to the bars for some fun = “Jesus, I trust in You!”
There is such comfort in these words. I want to give all of my worries, anxieties, and emotions over to Him but I have spent too many years repeating my mantra “Scaredy Cat I trust in you,” that I cannot depend on myself to repeat this prayer. I must stay in my Blessed Mother’s embrace and have Her speak the words for me. For as a mother, She had major events that went way beyond those happening in my life, and through it all She trusted in her Son and in God, as well as being an open vessel to the Holy Spirit. There is no better solution for my human weaknesses and no better rescue from being crushed by my human emotions than living in Communion with Her!
All human systems of security cannot be perfect since they are based solely on our plans or calculations; that is why they have to fail, and then a crisis comes. If you trust in yourself, in your abilities, in your possessions, or in people with whom you are connected, sooner or later you will have to be disappointed.
In order for our faith to be reliance on Christ and entrustment of ourselves to Him, we have to accept Him as our only sure security. Flowing from faith in Christ’s Word, complete abandonment to Him is the only adequate response to His unfathomable love for us.
Tadeusz Dajczer, TheGift of Faith, 3rd. ed. (Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2012), 30-31.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Entrustment to Mary = Freedom Via Insomnia

The last few days have been ridiculous in terms of my sleeping patterns.  I am not sure if it is related to the fact that my kids are off for the summer with a more relaxed schedule, but I have been experiencing horrible insomnia.  I try to go to sleep, but end up tossing and turning for over an hour or two.  I try to pray, but my thoughts distract me.  All of the days’ events, Facebook postings, email correspondence, conversations, weaknesses, examination of conscience, failures…etc flood my brain.  I get up and have a snack, try to watch a TV program.  I am awake for a few more hours and finally get to sleep around 2:30 or 3:00 in the morning. 


Because of this pattern, I am reminded of the 3:00 Divine Mercy hour.  Not sure if it applies to the wee early morning hours of 3:00 as opposed to the 3:00 in the afternoon, but I can’t help but think of an invitation to pray a chaplet or spend some time praying for an unknown intention.  I end up falling asleep reflecting on Jesus’ mercy. 


The good news is that I brought out my copy of the Divine Mercy in My Soul:  Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska.  Every time I read the bold print lines (indicating the words of Christ Jesus Himself to St. Faustina), I am touched with a great awareness of how Christ is inviting me to know Him.  And it seems that unless I spend more time making an effort to know Him, I won’t really grow in love for Him and with Him.


As we celebrate our nation’s independence this weekend, I hope and pray that you and I can also spend some time in celebration of the freedom we find in our Redeemer.  Instead of beating myself up at night reliving my miseries of the day, in the arms of my Blessed Mama I can grow in contrition, and most especially, in gratitude for God’s MERCY.  In paragraph 1588 of the Diary, Christ speaks to St. Faustina: 


In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people.  Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world.  I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart….[1]


And paragraph 1572:


I remind you, My daughter, that as often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul.  In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world – mercy triumphed over justice.[2] 

I invite us all to take up Jesus’ invitation to open ourselves to His mercy – for ourselves, for our country, for our world.  As He says, mercy is opened wide for every soul.  With it, we can obtain everything.  It is there for the asking.  Happy Independence Day!   


[1] St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 3rd ed.. (Stockbridge, MA:  Marian Press, 2007) 563-564 (parafraph 1588).
[2] Ibid 558 (paragraph 1572)