Linking up with Grace of Camp Patton for Sunday Best!
What I’m Wearing:
- Dress from Old Navy. Not on sale when I got it, but on sale now!
- Belt off of some jeans I bought a while ago.
- Shoes from Target ($15!!!)
A few good things happened at mass on Sunday. First, the homily was, like, not awesome, buuuut some of the things the deacon said really hit home:
“We live in too much fear of God, trusting too little that God understands and accepts us as we are […] If we, with our limits, can see beyond wounds and struggles to see the goodness that lies still deeper within a human heart, how much more does God see our goodness, understand our struggles, and forgive our weaknesses? […] It is precisely in those times when we have fallen, when we are morally impotent, bankrupt, struggling, and stand unclean with our own sin in our hands, that we most need, like the wounded child, we need the embrace of a mother or father. Unfortunately, all too often, that is when we quit praying, quit going to church, quit receiving the sacraments, quit putting ourselves in God’s arms. Why? Because we feel first, by our own efforts… get our lives in order before we can approach God’s arms, as if to approach God first requires a basic, minimum moral passing grade.”
It’s crazy, because I had discussed this feeling with my counselor on Friday… Sometimes, I feel like prayer is a job interview. I’m afraid to go into a conversation with the Lord without having prepared myself. I want to have a steady heart and mind, to be rid of too many emotions, lest they distract me. Which is cray cray, because God knows my heart anyway. I literally cannot hide my heart from Him, and to think I can is ridiculous. The deacon said “you don’t clean your house before you call the cleaner.” My imperfections, hopes, dreams, fears, anxieties, joys, sufferings, etc… They are all intrinsically known by God. He knows that I am a sinner. He knows that I am afraid. He understands. It is not surprising to Him. I’m in a period of intense desolation and even though it’s the hardest thing, the best thing is to continue to pray, go to church, and receive the sacraments, like the deacon said.
It was during this homily that a second good thing happened. I realized that my depression is not a punishment, it is a cross. My suffering is designed to pull me closer to Jesus, not to punish me for my transgressions. Yes, I am a sinner and there are things that I do that perpetuate my desolation. But I am not being punished. I am enduring suffering now so that I might avoid suffering in eternity. It’s still something I need to work on, but recognizing this is huge! Each day that I choose to unite my suffering to Christ, to get out of bed and force myself to truly live, despite the pain, despite how exhausted I am, despite the attacks that I may feel, each day that I offer my life and heart to Jesus, I am rejecting eternal suffering. St. Therese of Lisieux said (I have to paraphrase here whoops) that she cannot change who she is, and she (and the Lord) must accept who she is and work with it. I am depressed. But that’s not an excuse to avoid living or to hide from Jesus.
All this being said, it is going to take a lot of work. But I can’t focus on that. I need to remember that each day is it’s own day. I don’t have tomorrow’s grace today. I might not have tomorrow at all. God is outside of time- He cares only for what I am doing right now. He cares about my heart in the present moment. What am I doing to please the Lord in each instance of my day? Of course, this is super overwhelming because there are many things that I do presently that are bad for me, and so many things that are good for me that I don’t do. I have to take this day by day. Today, I can cut out one bad thing and do one good thing. And if I wake up tomorrow, I can praise God for another day, cut out one bad thing and do one good thing. And each day I just need to continue like that- doing at least one thing and cutting one bad thing. That’s the way virtue is built. By constantly and consistently choosing to do what we ought.
Anyway. Yay for fashion, yay for homilies that help us realize that we aren’t terrible people, yay for waking up another day.
Check out the other Sunday Best posts at Camp Patton!