Monday, March 23, 2015

I Always Do What Is Pleasing to Him

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

By Melanie Rigney

… Their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” (Numbers 21:4-5)

O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you. (Psalms 102:2)

(Jesus said to the Pharisees:) “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but that I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” (John 8:28-29)

Lord, I pray that You never leave me alone.

There is a chapter in Little Women, that gorgeous family classic and allegory of spiritual journey a la Pilgrim’s Progress, in which the sisters take a break from their responsibilities for a week and their mother leaves them to their own devices. Meg, the oldest, freed of her governess duties, sleeps in and shops and ruins some of the clothes she has by trying to alter them. Jo, modeled after author Louisa May Alcott, released from caring for a crotchety aunt, reads till her eyes give out and fights with a friend. The younger two, Beth and Amy, take time off from their lessons; Amy is bored silly, and the family bird dies because the usually faithful Beth forgets to feed him. The experiments end with a disastrous dinner party and lessons learned. “Let me advise you to take up your little burdens again, for though they seem heavy sometimes, they are good for us as we learn to carry them,” Marmee advises.

It’s a simple lesson, yet one we seem to need to learn over and over again. God is always with us, as John tells us in today’s Gospel. He asks only that we do what is pleasing to Him, and what is pleasing to Him is made pretty clear in those two greatest commandments. But like the March sisters and the Israelites, we get tired of following the rules, of being good, of submitting. And each and every time, we learn that while whining may feel good for a bit and playing hooky from God’s desires may be fun and exciting for a while, they only hurt us and those around us.

May we have the faith the Israelites lacked that we will be delivered. May we have the wisdom the March sisters learned that our “little burdens,” carried faithfully, draw us closer to the Lord.

Resist the urge to complain about anything today. Journal about how you feel at the day’s end.

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