Give us JOY to balance our affliction for the years when we knew misfortune…
Let the favor of the Lord be upon us:
Give success to the works of our hands,
Give success to the works of our hands.
–from Psalm 90
Just as the timing and tenor of each marital relationship is unique and varied, so goes the conversion to the Heart of our Savior in each believer. Because of our tendency to sin, most of us want what we want as fast as possible: that’s what we call “timing.” God, as Father, is perfect in His Time and knows what we need when we need it. While we know that God the Son came in a specific moment in time to save us, we also know that the miracle of the Incarnation is enacted in every Mass; so, God is coming to us daily ever ready to work miracles in our lives.
As an adult convert to Catholicism, my general experience of living with Christ has taken many twists and turns. There has been so very much waiting. Often, I am a cross to myself. How could God possibly expect “big things” from such a mess as me? How can He put up with what often seems the two-steps-forward-four-steps-back nature of my walk of faith?
To reflect on these things is to go deep in to the mystery of God’s healing work in our lives as believers. We do have faith, and praise the Lord for this faith! We also waver. We also grow weary of ourselves and others as time tends to stand still – is it all a big fantasy that God will really heal us of our sins and defects? Will He ever heal us and those in our lives seemingly stuck in patterns of addiction, or even just plain ole’ petty fault? Then, there are those “quick sand” lives that really seem beyond help.
I was in the last category in my early twenties. Here I sit at nearly fifty wanting so much for everyone to know that God heals. He works miracles, some fast, others slow. God is perfect in what we might call His “parenting style,” so He does not undo some people too fast, as that would be unwise.
A while back, my friend Julie told me that “J-O-Y” stands for “Jesus-Others-You.” Praise the Lord in His infinite goodness that this moving from selfish love to God’s merciful and other-oriented LOVE is often gradual, even imperceptible.
Maybe we protest, “But I want to see! I need change now!”
This protest makes a good prayer too. I also have seen amazing changes in my life come “fast and furious.” I really like it when that happens: praise Him for these whammo changes too! It is hard because I am such an extraverted sanguine, one who wants what she wants when she wants it. I am beginning to see that He made me that way for good reasons, all of which He understands; and, it is my job to make the effort to understand more, so that I can really be a blessing to those He puts in my life.
Let’s praise God and thank Him and his mother that we can grow into people who notice and enjoy even the softest, gentlest manifestations of change in ourselves and others. Our eyeglasses of faith help us to see with the eyes of our hearts when repentance really does its work—all due to God’s graces, of course.
In Eastertide, it can be depressing to see the lack of resurrected realities in our lives, in our loves. Patience is surely a sort of springtime grace. Like the tiny, paper-thin luminous leaves unfurling on the great oak trees, we so often start to change in a small and fragile way.
Let’s see the fragility in ourselves and others. Seeing this way helps bring patience to our prayers and works. For the Lord is truly risen! Alleluia!