“Lord I come, I confess, bowing here, I find my rest.
Without You, I fall apart.
You’re the one that guides my heart.”
I have a hard time accepting the help of others. I have a hard time accepting correction from others. I have a hard time accepting advice from others. I have a hard time accepting love from others. I have a hard time accepting lessons from others. I am a prideful man.
These things do not stop at the border of my spiritual life. Many people think that because I am a seminarian I have everything figured out but my dear brothers and sisters I have to be honest with you, I have less figured out than most. The Lord has used my pride to teach me a lesson though. Abandon.
If I have a project I will do anything, anything, to prove that my way is right. For example, I am the baby of the family and I decided that I was going to get rid of the swing set in my back yard at home. This swing set was a beast though, heavy duty wooden swing set put together with bolts that have long since rusted making the swing set even harder to get apart. I started this project at about 2 in the afternoon, my mom was due back from work at about 330 and I figured I’d be done by then. I wasn’t . I didn’t bring any tools with me to take this swing set apart, I was going to man handle it. My plan was going to tear it apart piece by piece because danggit I am Big Bad Blood and this sucker is going down. However, as I said it still wasn’t all the way taken down when my mom got home. She saw me in the yard and came back to see what I was up to. I was struggling, covered in dirt, soaking in sweat, my hands were sore and red from breaking boards. She asked me if I wanted to get a hammer for the nails and the wrench for the bolts. Nahhh, I’ll pass. After 5 more minutes of her watching me struggle she asked me again if I wanted her to bring me some tools. No Mom, it’s really okay I got this. 10 more minutes and I’m getting visibly frustrated, at this point she brings the tools from the garage and tosses them on the ground near me. I still didn’t use them. I had this mentality that I needed to finish this project with the plan I had originally come up with. It didn’t work. I was tired, angry, and defeated. At that point I picked up the tools and my mom noticed so she came back outside and she helped me take it apart. It took about 10 minutes once I gave up on my plan and trusted in another’s.
My spiritual life is the same way. I will sit in the chapel for hours upon hours in a month with no true prayer before I will admit to the Lord that I can’t pray. I’ve had that experience many a time where I will do everything I can think of to improve my spiritual life and there is no improvement or visible growth. Then when I get frustrated I will go into the chapel and plop down in my pew and let out a deep sigh. At that point I let the Lord in on my secret, Lord I don’t even know what I’m doing. I need you. The Lord constantly gives me hints to what will make life, especially my spiritual life, easier not much unlike my mother with the tools and it takes me being broken to recognize that the Lord knows best.
All of us have aspects of our lives that we have a hard time accepting help with and I ask you to take some time with the Lord and ask him to show you what you need to let go of.
This could apply to you in many different ways, for instance, when I was in high school I had sins that I seemed to commit over and over and I would go to confession but never gave those to the Lord. I would tell myself that, hey I got a handle on this no worries. I didn’t have a handle on them; I needed to give them completely to the Lord in order for those to be purified.
When you ask the Lord to show you what you need to give up, be ready for him to break you in order to get you comfortable enough with giving things to Him. This summer I learned many things and that got me in the right frame of mind to pray this prayer when I got to the seminary, “Lord, this year is Yours. Make of me what You want me to be. I give You every aspect of my life. Use it.”
I warn you, when you pray this, be ready for Him to take your thoughts and plans and turn them on their head. God is so big and when you let Him flex that God muscle He is going to flex you.
It wasn’t to long ago that I had a dear friend bring to my attention that I needed to learn to love our Mother Mary more than I have in the past. I’ll be honest, quickly I shut my heart and began to run in the opposite direction because the Lord was asking me to take a part of my life and admit that it could be better, as well as admit that others can teach me how to love more. I tried my way of shutting off all advice from the people I care about because I know how to pray. That didn’t work. I had to abandon myself and learn from those around me, and ultimately, learn from our Lord how to love in a more pure way. Do I understand the plan in which the Lord showed me that I needed to love Mary more? Not really. Do I understand that the Lord showed me that I needed to love Mary more? Yes. To be honest, that is all that matters. Since I have given up my will for the Lord’s in this matter I have had the strength to say my rosary first thing every morning and I found an image of the Immaculate heart of Mary that I have put above my bed. Every time I go to bed and every time I get up I remember that I am loved by Mary as well as her Son. The Lord isn’t asking us to analyze His plans; He’s asking us to abandon ourselves to them. This is a lesson that the Lord is teaching me in a menagerie of ways as of late. Pray for me that I may abandon my life daily to our Lord through the hands of our Mother Mary, and I promise to pray for you that you may give everything, your plans, your sins, your questions to the God and Father who loves us.
“Lord, I need you.”