You would think that a person who has tried to follow the teachings of The Master for all these years (80, to be exact), would have mastery over his mind and body to be able to reach a state where he did not struggle each and every time he attempted Lectio Divina, Eucharist, Eucharistic Adoration, Liturgy of the Hours, Reading Scripture, and praying Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict each and every day. I wish.
In my most recent Lectio Divina meditation (Philippians 2:5), I asked the question of Christ, “Why is it that all my prayers don’t seem to be doing anything and that I keep struggling each and every time to renounce myself to follow you?” What follows are some of the thoughts from the Holy Spirit to guide me in the right direction.
“Michael, don’t be afraid. I know what you are talking about since I took on the imperfections of human nature so that you could learn from me. I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest from all the chaos of life under my protection. You did not choose me but I chose you, just you, from the beginning of time to be with me as an adopted son of my Father. Through my mystical body, I have given you all that you need to survive the minefield of your journey to be with me. Remember, just because your journey is rocky, doesn’t mean you are on the wrong road. My road, to free all humanity from its dependence on the world for its purpose and meaning, was filled with obstacles. My purpose in coming to earth was to restore the relationship humanity once had with the Father and to prepare you to live with us forever. Knowing what we know about human nature, we wanted you to have the grace that is sufficient to overcome those doubts and temptations from Satan to disregard your human feeling to do your own will instead of that of the Father. We knew it would not be easy for you so that is why I had to become one of you to show you how to fulfill your original destiny as a human being, made in the image and likeness of God, capable of discovering what it means to love others as I have loved you. I did not leave you an orphan when I ascended to the right hand of the Father. Your Baptism on September 29, 1940 did not give you a free ride to heaven. We gave you reason for a reason and the ability to choose. Baptism means you have what you need through Eucharist, my very own body and blood to nourish you on your way, plus forgiveness of sins and imperfections so that you can make all things new, just like I did for all humanity. You live in the world but not use its values and meaning to help you find fulfillment. Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, where I am, and everything will be just find. Embrace your humanity as I did and transform it by denying yourself each and every day so that you can seek God wherever that day takes you. Some days are better than others and you must begin each and every day like it was your first. I had a tough time trying to do the will of my Father. Remember, in the Garden of Gethsemani where I ask the Father to free me from my mission? Michael, the struggle you experience in your Lectio Divina is the same struggle Adam and Eve faced, that Moses experienced, that David confronted, that the prophets all wailed and lamented. Just as the Father would not take the struggle away from me and made me face my mission, so too, I can’t take away the struggle from your prayer, only to tell you that my grace is sufficient. It is your rising up over your human feelings that is taking up your cross daily to follow me. What you do with that struggle that is a part of the glory that you give to me as your friend, then together we take it to the Father to tell him that we give praise and glory that He is God and we ask His mercy on us and our fellow humans. It is the struggle that you experience, Michael, that is your opportunity to renounce yourself and follow in my footsteps. I am there, sitting on a park bench in the dead of winter with you, waiting for you to open your mind and heart to my heart. Life is a struggle, Michael, but one that we can share together. Peace be with you.”
10 Renounce yourself in order to follow Christ (Matt 16:24; Luke 9:23);
11 discipline your body (1 Cor 9:27);