June 30, 2015
Be Careful What You Ask For...
Praying for a heart of charity (LOVE) toward others? Expect someone to come along who is reeeeeeally difficult to love, but needs you to do it anyway.
Praying for JOY? Perhaps the gift of life, a new baby, is coming into your world! You know, that proverbial, "bundle of joy?" The kind that never sleeps through the night, spits up on everything, and has an ear-splitting scream that's piercing enough to shatter glass. In your ear.
Praying for PEACE? Expect the nightly news to show, well, more of same.
Praying for PATIENCE (forbearance)? Expect a situation to come along that quite tries your patience. Really.
Praying for KINDNESS? Expect anger to bubble to the surface the next time you struggle to summon up kindness instead.
Praying for GOODNESS? We can't all be angels, can we?
Praying for GENEROSITY? Expect to be asked to part with the person, place, or thing you hold most dear.
Praying for GENTLENESS? Expect someone to do something. That. REALLY. Ticks. You. Off.
Praying for FAITHFULNESS? Expect a possible dull, "dry," time in the way your heart used to soar during private prayer or at Mass.
Praying for MODESTY? Summer's here. Good luck finding a modest bathing suit or age-appropriate clothing for your young teenage daughter.
Praying for CHASTITY? Expect temptation to be thrust into your line of vision, even someplace as seemingly innocuous as the grocery store check-out line!
Praying for FORTITUDE? Expect a challenge to come along that tests your spiritual strength. A lot.
Praying for SELF-CONTROL? Well, now. That would be a little bit of, "All of the Above," wouldn't it?
But, wait a minute.
None of those answers were the FRUITS of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). None of those trials are the virtue for which I prayed, are they? Nooooo. But, as the old adage goes, the only way to learn patience is the hard way (which my children still don't understand).
When you pray for a virtue, just plan right away on the devil listening in and immediately throwing into your path every opposite vice he possibly can. He might not be able to divine your private thoughts and prayers to God. But, the devil's not stupid. And he is very, very observant.
The antidote, of course, to these challenges that are in direct contradiction to the virtue for which you are praying, is one word. Actually, He's "The Word." JESUS!
Oh, it's not that simple. As Mother Teresa wisely noted from experience, Jesus is not an easy spouse. He never said, "Take up your silver spoon and follow Me." Um, no. He said, "Take up your CROSS and follow Me," (Matthew 16:24).
Where are we following Him?
Ultimately, to Heaven, of course!
As Peter did (but failed to continue to do on the Sea of Galilee, Matthew 14:22-33) keep your eyes on the prize, and you'll be able to weather the storms of life. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Believe in Him, follow Him, live your life (yes, even your ole, mundane, run-'o-the-mill, boring, everyday, groundling life) for Him, and He will lead you to Heaven. 'Cause that's where God wants ALL of us to be welcome!
Remember your basic Catechism:
Who made you? God made you (that would be Jesus).
Why did God make you? God made you to know, love, and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.
Remember, heaven'll be worth it. But, God never promised it would be easy getting there.
So, the next time you're praying to be infused with some worthy virtue, brace yourself. Brace yourself against The Cross. Because the devil doesn't want you to get to heaven. But, in the end, and in your life, the Lord will triumph. In the end, as Our Lady promised at Fatima in 1917, "My Immaculate Heart will triumph."
Just as surely as you may expect storms in life, expect, too, for His blessings to follow!