21 Mar Have Faith
Life is an adventure. The weather is constantly changing with many twists, turns, ups and downs. Storms come and storms go, breaking off dry branches, forcing roots to go deeper. Trees with deep roots weather the storms. Same goes for us. We are not in control, though we often think we are. We need something bigger than ourselves to anchor us, give us hope, know that someone is looking after us and will make all things work unto good. Life’s problems challenge us to grow and become stronger. Faith matters. Every moment becomes an opportunity to grow in faith.
I recently read a daily reflection from Stop Worrying and Start Living by Gary Zimak where he wrote,
“As an anxious child, I developed many ways to deal with stress. For the most part I sought relief by doing “fun” activities–spending time with my friends, watching TV, playing with toys, and reading comic books. By doing these things I would temporarily forget about my worries. As I grew into an anxious adult, I pursued different activities (hanging out in bars, listening to music, spending money), but my goal was the same. Instead of dealing with the stressors in my life, I tried to run away from them. It didn’t work.
After becoming frustrated with living in a perpetual state of anxiety, I finally tried turning to Jesus. And I’m not just talking about turning to him in theory, but really turning to him every day. It took me a long time, but I have finally discovered that it is impossible to find lasting peace without having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. All the diversions and activities in the world won’t make your anxiety disappear. He will not only save you from your sins, but he can help you stop worrying.”
And in another part of the book, he says:
“One of my biggest challenges is remembering just how much Jesus wants to help me. As someone who likes to get things done, I have a tendency to forget to ask for his help. For years I struggled to become more patient, love my enemies, pray when I didn’t feel like it, and have a greater trust in God. I was not very successful. Eventually I realized I was trying to do it all on my own and neglecting to ask for God’s help. …. If you’re struggling to overcome a habitual sin or be kind to an annoying coworker, ask Him to help you. If you want to stop worrying or grow closer to Jesus, don’t try to do it on your own. God is right beside you, and He wants to help you.”
Maybe God is asking us to take the theory of our beliefs and to live them at a more deeper and real level. Our hearts are restless until they rest in Him, says Augustine of Hippo. Previously, Augustine sought his happiness in people, events and things — as so many of us do. Yet his thirst was quenched and satiated when he finally opened the door fully to God in his life. How about you? Whether this has never been a consideration, or you are already along the journey, are you seeking Him out? Is your life shaking you up and do you need to lean on something more solid? Maybe this is the moment to seek the truth that sustains. Know God exists. Lift your heart to Him. Let Him touch you. Bring Him your concerns, your doubts, your fears. Talk to Him. Ask Him questions. You don’t have to carry your burdens alone. God is with you, around you, in you, yours to discover.
Matthew Kelly wrote a prayer process that is simple yet so effective. Anyone can use it. He asks you to start 2 minutes a day and daily add a minute. Simple and powerful. I also found this other “exercise” a great help in going deeper in my prayer. The Holy Bible contains God’s love letters to us. He wants us to know He has a plan for us. Open scripture and read His words to you. Some like to journal, others like to walk and talk to God, some prefer to be in the quiet of their room or in nature, others in church. There will be many approaches. Don’t worry about the right one. Just begin with something that feels comfortable to you. “To pray is to talk with God. But about what?’ About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions. In a word: to get to know him and to get to know yourself: ‘to get acquainted!'”( Josemaria Escriva) It’s quite simple. Just begin. Talk, listen, be silent, let go, learn to rest in God. Begin and keep at it. Tone your spiritual muscles. We need faith. We need religion. Transform your life and become more than you dream. God is all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful. He made you. He knows you. He loves you. He desires to your friendship. He respects your freedom and will not impose Himself. He waits patiently. Open the door. Let Him in. Let Him help you become all you are meant to be.
I myself am a practicing Catholic and would like to share some excellent resources for those interested. Note that Formed.org and Magnificat are providing free resources right now. Worth checking out.
I Pray With the Gospel is a free app that provides a short written daily gospel reading and commentary that makes your faith come alive. I find it addictive.
10 Minutes with Jesus is a free podcast that is both simple and practical, desiring to spark your prayer life and friendship with Christ.
Many people are wondering about the Catholic Church and want answers to questions they have. CatholicAnswers offers the world’s largest data base of answers, logically, thoroughly and well resourced.
Dynamic Catholic meets people where they are and leads people to where God wants them to be by offering videos, articles, books and more. Very engaging and attractive to many.
Formed.org offers the best in Catholic movies, e-books, audios, children’s programming, documentaries and sacramental prep.
Catholic Video Project was recently set up to provide free videos of talks, movies, animations and more. Worth checking out.
Magnificat is a monthly publication designed for daily use, to encourage both liturgical and personal prayer. It can be used to follow daily Mass and can also be read at home or wherever you find yourself for personal or family prayer.
Word on Fire . Watch daily Mass in Bishop Barron’s chapel and enjoy a wide range of videos, articles and support in living the faith in today’s culture.
Scott Hahn, a renowned scripture scholar, and former Lutheran minister, offers much biblical insight.
OpusDei offers videos, articles and podcasts for those wanting to find God in family life and ordinary work.
For those who enjoy learning how science, reason and faith are interconnected, Magis Centre offers amazing articles for your consideration as well as other topics related to faith.
zenit.org is an international news agency that helps you have daily and weekly updates on what the Holy Father is saying, alongwith videos and great articles.
There are so many more amazing resources available on-line, but for the purpose of brevity leave these to spark your curiosity. Seek God and you will find Him. Knock at His door and He will open. Begin and you will arrive. Be the protagonist. Let life’s challenges only make you better and stronger. Have faith! Find the Light of lights that dispels all darkness.