Monday, January 24, 2011

We Must Go On

Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.

I apologize to any who may have read my recent words here. I do not write this blog to ramble on of my own anxieties, but in hope of relieving yours. (And yet, I honestly admit, we all have them at times, even me.) If I previously wrote about my anxieties it was to give an example of how they were unnecessary. And so relative to my concerns of recent days I now witness that my concerns were unnecessary. In my sorrows, I felt alone and wrote as such, but we are never alone.

These past days, days of sadness for me, I had many friends speak up, giving me words of encouragement. I chose to see these and other friends as ignoring me or my concerns. And so I felt alone.

But then I made another choice, I chose to accept the fact that God Himself was giving me encouragement, some through friends, some through strangers, and some through actions which I now accept as His work --- for me. It would have been easy to ignore all these things; I could have chosen to remain sad. Some people do in such circumstances. But I have faith in Him, and His words that I will never be alone, and His words that: if He cares for the birds of the sky, will He not care for me even more? I choose to believe those words. I choose not to be anxious.

There were some moments, honestly, when I chose to ignore this barrage of comfort and good will. “Leave me alone to be sad,” I was almost saying aloud --- certainly to myself, inwardly, I was. And to God’s comforts, some seemingly miraculous, I also turned away. They were not good enough. It’s as if I were like the Jews crying out: “Come down from that cross, and then I will believe You.” Then I’ll truly know You are with me, and all will be well. Prove it to me.

How arrogant of me, to think I am that important, to command that God prove something to me. But finally, my eyes have been opened.

I think we all have times of sadness, when we feel alone. Deaths, divorce, business failures or stress, rejection by family or friends, or even dryness in prayer--- all can be major challenges. These things make us feel rejected and alone. But as I was shown these days, and almost deliberately tried not to admit, we are not alone. If we would just be open to what we SAY we believe: “God loves me,” we will see His many consolations all around to us. We are not alone in our sorrows; and therefore we cannot stay in our worry and self-pity. We must go on.

There are things God has created us and only us for, things we must do, and in our sorrows we often stop. We are all called to be followers of Christ, and to live out His truth in our unique vocations and situations in life. Those things we are called to do, we cannot ignore in our sadness. Still, there are things not of our primary vocation that we must pay attention to, and we cannot confuse these smaller tasks with our larger one.

As I wrote recently, I saw pornography being spoken up for as a good thing in my community, and worse, I seemed to be the only one who cared. And so I stopped and stayed in sadness, debating what I should do, largely because I felt alone and none of my fellow Christians seemed willing to stand up for their faith in even the simplest way. Some friends said to me: “Forget it; it’s not important; you can’t make a difference.” Some said: “Sue them; I’ll help.” But neither advice is correct for me. I now realize that.

What I did, spoke up against a moral wrong, even if publicly ridiculed, was the right thing to do. It was a simple thing. Martyrs have died for things such as that, but no one will kill me. But now I must go on. God has shown me consolations, thanked me for doing as he taught, but I must go on. My talents, my abilities, my position in life dictate that I am not the one to rally this cause, to pursue it above all else, to right this wrong. I am not Don Miguel de Cervantes; I am not here to right every wrong; I am only the one who He made me to be. And although he expects me to speak up when necessary, and to feed the beggar I pass on the road, He has not gifted me to speak up on all the airwaves of the world nor eliminate world hunger. Perhaps He has challenged --- and gifted --- others to do those things. I will support them, but I will go on with the life and tasks he has given to me.

I read today, on the feast of St. Francis de Sales, some words he wrote on the subject of doing what we are called to do, while still doing devotion to God. He said it well:

I say that devotion must be practiced in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, and by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman. But even this distinction is not sufficient; for the practice of devotion must be adapted to the strength, to the occupation and to the duties of each one in particular.

Tell me whether it is proper for a bishop to want to lead a solitary life like a Carthusian; or for married people to be no more concerned than a Capuchin about increasing their income; or for a working man to spend his whole day in church like a religious; or on the other hand for a religious to be constantly exposed like a bishop to all the events and circumstances that bear on the needs of our neighbor. Is not this sort of devotion ridiculous, unorganized and intolerable? Yet this absurd error occurs very frequently, but in no way does true devotion destroy anything at all. On the contrary, it perfects and fulfills all things. In fact, if it ever works against, or is inimical to, anyone’s legitimate station and calling, then it is very definitely false devotion.

Introduction to the Devout Life


  1. I just heard about this. I am in Canton, also, and the mother of 10 children. We homeschool and have a limited budget but I buy books instead of using the library. As the kids got older I found too many offensive things at the library. This porn thing just makes it worse. I will promise to try and get a letter out (to the paper or the library or both?) Thank you for standing up for our community, our Faith, and our kids!! I find it especially wonderful that you are a man doing this. I often feel that people in stores (when I complain about offensive magazines) look at me like some overage, overweight, stay at home mom who is somehow threatened by these types of things. I always say that this will NEVER end until MEN stand up and say it has to stop!!! God bless you!

  2. Yes! THANK YOU for standing up and speaking out on this issue. Too few people, men or women, are willing to go against the grain and speak the truth. I live in a Red state and while we may have some things better, there are still plenty of problems here which need to be addressed as well. Sadly America is not the country of strong values it used to be. But we cannot allow trends to allow us to become discouraged or give way to despair; that would be to suffer defeat indeed.

  3. Yes Amy, I belong to that general grouping of insensitive men ---- but there are a few, you know, who have had the feelings of women like you actually rub off on them, and then they become more like God in their ability to love and care for others. I wish I were more so.

    I'm glad you live in a red state, Booklady. MI is a red-blue state, although you can readily see the many leanings to blue as I've discussed. We can't get discouraged, I agree, and we must all stand up in any way I can. I wish I were in Washington on Monday; perhaps some year in the future ---- but then, perhaps some day in the future there will be no need for the march. Who knows the will or actions of God?