July 1, 2011
Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
By Melanie Rigney
Moses said to the people: “You are a people sacred to the Lord, your God; he has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own.” (Deuteronomy 7:6)
He redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion. (Psalms 103:4)
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)
At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones.” (Matthew 11:25)
Father, may everything I do begin with Your Inspiration, continue with Your Help, and reach perfection under Your Guidance. With Your loving care guide me in my daily actions. Help me to persevere with love and sincerity. Teach me to judge wisely the things of earth and to love the things of Heaven. Keep me in Your presence and never let me be separated from You. Make Your Love the foundation of my life. Teach me to long for Heaven. May its promise and hope guide my way on earth until I reach eternal life with You. (From Catholiconline.org)
I was among the presenters at a Christian writers’ conference last week. It’s always a little tough to see some writers leave the sessions overwhelmed and discouraged. They arrive on top of the world, sure they’ve written the Great American Novel or memoir… and find out from their peers and instructors that there’s still writing and rewriting to be done and that few publishers are interested in working with even a good unknown writer.
Maybe it’s the same in your profession. I heard recently about attorneys with new degrees working for a third of what they would have earned five years ago in positions they could have handled in their undergraduate days. Teachers and civil servants are being laid off due to severe budget cuts. Or maybe your kids ran into problems and aren’t living the lives you’d hoped.
It’s easy to get discouraged and think we’re losers. It’s hard to believe that we all are indeed sacred to and loved by God.
Let me tell you a story I shared with the writers. In her book “Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope,” Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun, tells the story of how, as a member of a Benedictine monastery, she earned an undergraduate degree in English and began teaching school. Then the prioress told Joan to apply to get a master’s in creative writing at Iowa State. Joan, who loved to write fiction, did so. She was accepted in January, to begin coursework in June. But two weeks before classes were to begin, the prioress called again. It had been decided it would be better for Joan to be third cook at a summer camp. She would not be going to Iowa State.
Now, where’s God’s love in that? Where’s His kindness and compassion?
As you may know, Chittister’s gone on to write more than three dozen nonfiction books, including a phrase-by-phrase explanation of the Creed… a 40-day devotional… and a book on aging with grace. Here’s a truncated version of what she wrote about leaving fiction behind:
After the writing career I had hoped to pursue had been made impossible, but still desperate to write, to work with words, to find an outlet for the ideas that plagued me from morning to night, I began to find fiction in reality rather than reality in fiction. I ceased to make up stories and began to understand the stories of people I saw every day. I began to write about inequality. I began to write about racism. I began to write about social justice issues. I began to understand that I wasn’t called to write fiction; I was called to speak the pain of reality.
You see, God doesn’t always show His love in the ways we or the world can easily understand. But when we have faith and soldier on and accept His will, we often find the love that was there all along.
How is God showing His love to you today? Write down ten examples. Keep them in a safe place so you can revisit the list when the going gets tough.