We’ve all been in that place where trying times may test our very soul & shake our faith & belief in all that is good and of God. I myself have encountered those difficult moments that make me question God’s existence in a crazy & messed up world. Faith and fortitude are difficult virtues to keep in such an unforgiving & politicized world. We find alter egos of human imperfection running rampant that detract in our ability to trust in God during trying times. The gift of silence and hearing the whisper of the Holy Spirit (Elijah, 1 Kings:19) is a difficult feat to master in our 21st century global economy where everyone is “connected,” or disconnected for that matter. We oftentimes see apathy being the norm with much of society not caring about one’s condition. Mankind was meant to be in communion with our Father God, and our fellow human being, and not isolated.
For myself, the discernment of leaving Catholic seminary formation was a difficult choice. Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken” was a memory in which I tried to seek wisdom from such a decision being made. The choice one makes at the present moment does not come to fruition until later and must be viewed with a lens of retrospection and interior self-awareness. The spiritual test of discernment and choice I made brought about goodness in my life as a Christian disciple. In answering the call of service as a married man, I was blessed to have found my amazing wife, Angela. It was God’s grace that made finding my soulmate possible. It is through that spiritual choice that we make in communion with our God that allows our best self to shine. My daughter Abigail was a blessing for my wife & I. Abigail is a Hebrew name meaning “my father’s joy.” God definitely allows beauty & goodness to shine through trying times when being faced with making a choice under His guidance.
Another instance I can recall in my life’s spiritual journey is in having a major medical incident occur as a newlywed within a year of marriage. We also had a newborn child that made the timing inconvenient. I questioned why our Lord would take me away from my family with an illness that I didn’t think I deserved. Oddly enough and by some wondrous circumstance was a book by St. Josemaría Escrivá left in my hospital room entitled “The Way, Furrow & The Forge.” St. Josemaría also created the Opus Dei movement, or “Work of God.” This movement looks at the charism of the Spirit being present in all facets of our daily life. After all, the Creator truly works among all of us as we are all created in the image & likeness of God (Gen.)
While I am always trying to ward off those demons & encounters that seek to vanquish my soul & relationship with our loving God, I am reminded of the following image from scripture in Mark’s Gospel, chapter 4. Jesus calms the storm despite our own fears of facing chaos in troubled waters. His disciples, while in the actual presence of the Son of Man, still had great fear. No matter how bleak our situation may be, God’s outstretched arm, with the gift of peace & mercy are waiting for us.
As we await the Easter miracle & continue our spiritual battle to seek that which is good & pleasing to God; let us call to our Lord who seeks to be present on our journey to overcome those moments in which we turn away from His presence.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from evil, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.