Faith has never been something that’s come easily for me. Perhaps it is better said, it’s trust -trust in God and in his help and mercy- that has never come easily. I’m not saying that as something of which I am particularly proud, nor am I ashamed. It’s just something that happens to be, well, “it is what it is”.
I’ve always admired (and stood in a little bit of wonder and bewilderment) at my friends who are so incredibly on fire in their faith and in their trust in God at every step….through good (which is understandable enough), bad (understandable, if perhaps in a slightly diminished sense), and even the horrible (this one astonishes me). Nothing and no one can shake them from their faith, from their trust in the love and mercy of God- even when it seems as though He isn’t listening or seems to have completely checked out of the scene. This level of faith and trust is something that amazes me, and leaves me wishing I could be so on fire- especially when dealing with the life-threatening illness of my child.
I have no clue as to how to achieve an unbreakable, unshakable faith / trust on the level that I see (and would love to attain). I just don’t get it. I do, however strive to reach that height, to make that manner of faith and trust my very own. I slowly chip away at the concrete with which I’ve managed to encase my heart and soul over the years- sometimes, I can see the progress. In other times, I realize I’m much farther back from where I started. The key is, I pick up again and start edging forward. And even in this, I am not perfect. I have spent recent months just mired in place, mostly angry at God for what’s come about than surrendering to any semblance of trust and being hopeful (in His even being there, let alone in His mercy and help)…..and forget any idea of being thankful. Thankful for what, my child’s suffering? The impossible situation in which my wife and I found ourselves? I became blind in my despair.
Things had become overwhelming, and even though I was still in touch with family and friends, I was starting to feel rather isolated in matters. Out of the blue, a monk with whom I’m friends on social media reached out and offered a simple reminder that he was there (along with his brethren) and praying for my child and family. Suddenly, the seeds of faith and trust I had unwittingly planted over the years before crisis struck began to offer up shoots. Some of the shadows that had me wallowing in despondency and self-pity lifted, and I was able to slowly regain a bit of my lost footing. I began to pray again, and to find myself trusting (however minimally) in God’s mercy.
It has been and continues to be a long road….but on reflection, I can see the progress I’ve made (as well as the setbacks) along the way, in building up a faith and trust of the sort I see in my unshakable friends. Will I ever get to their level or anywhere close to it? I honestly don’t know. But I do know that I *never* will if I stop trying to reach that goal. Even if I just inch along and have to restart from a few feet or miles previously walked, I know I need to keep moving forward as best as I can- in so doing, faith and trust becomes increasingly made manifest within me, and the concrete shell around my heart and soul slowly cracks and sheds its flakes, pebbles, and sometimes bricks.
(By Pope St. Pius X)
Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my many sins, to work with thankfulness and joy, considering it an honor to employ and develop, by means of labor, the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, prudence, and patience, never surrendering to weariness or difficulties; to work, above all, with purity of intention, and with detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account which I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good onitted, of vain complacency in success so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all after thine example, o Patriarch Joseph. Such shall be my motto in life and death. Amen.