Welcome to the 6 Week Trust Challenge!
Week 6 Theme: The Trust that Leads to Freedom
Goal of Week 6: To discover that even in the most unfavorable outward circumstances we possess within ourselves a space of freedom that nobody can take away, because God is its source and guarantee. Without this discovery we will always be restricted in some way, and will never taste true happiness. (Jacques Philippe)
Day 36: The most fruitful acts of our freedom are not those by which we transform the outside world as those by which we change our inner attitude in light of the faith that God can bring good out of everything without exception. Even when externally there is nothing to be done, we still have inner freedom to continue to love. Jacques Philippe
Daily Challenge: Revisit and renew previously suggested spiritual practices. Also, bring these topics with you to spiritual direction to go deeper into these themes. If you don’t have a spiritual director, contact your local diocese to help you find one.
Day 37: It’s important to understand that trials in life offer us incredible opportunities for holiness. When you make the choice to surrender more deeply to God because of some suffering you are enduring, there is great value in that choice because you are invited to radically overcome self-pity, selfishness and pain.
Daily Challenge: Think of a person you do not see eye to eye with - ask Jesus to build good will in your heart toward them even if you do not see or have a conversation with them any time soon.
Day 38: One of the essential conditions in interior freedom is the ability to live in the present moment. The only free act we can make in regard to the past is to accept it just as it was and leave it trustingly in God’s hands. God is in the eternal present, every moment, whatever it brings, is filled with God’s presence. We should learn to live each moment as sufficient to itself for God isthere, and if God is there, we lack nothing. Jacques Philippe
Daily Challenge: Try to remember or set an hourly alarm on your phone just for the day - and each hour tell Jesus in your heart "I choose to believe in your presence in this moment", as a reminder of his free-flowing grace available not in the past or future but the present moment.
Day 39: Discipline turns into habits - In a life of trusting surrender, there is no substitute for daily prayer with God, lived day after day, year after year, decade after decade. as the years go by and the person continues to pray deeply every day, this life of prayer, based in mutual love, will enable the soul to begin to understand God and His ways more easily
Daily Challenge: Reflection Questions: How difficult is it for me to believe deep down in my core that no matter how much good or bad I do, how many souls I bring to Christ, or how many sacrifices I make, God’s love for me never changes? God is desperately in love with me because He chose to love me, and God “never forgets His own.” (Psalm 49)
Day 40: Habits become joy. Once God and His will are encountered in prayer, you must then allow the rest of your daily living to be transformed by these encounters. Prayer alone must become the source of all you choose in life because prayer will be your lifeline to the will of God.
Daily Challenge: Enjoy a “Spiritual Smoothie” from www.RCspirituality.org. Click on https://rcspirituality.org/spiritual_smoothie/are-you-a-row-boat-or-a-sail-boat/
Day 41: The choice present within falling in love is simple: will I choose to surrender to the mystery of this beauty and let the one who loves me actually do so? – Keating
Daily Challenge: Take a moment to watch the Fr. Mike Schmitz video - Do we deserve God's Love?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j-P5E9kZkI&list=PLeXS0cAkuTPpJ6j3eH59WudJhJ4q1tpwH&index=118
FINAL Day 42! Jesus reminds me time and time again that I will still be subjected to the same normal feelings and experiences of everyday life. I shall still have my moments of spontaneous of annoyance or anger, unintentional impatience or unkindness, unexpected doubts or fears, unmanageable desires or dislikes, intense concern for myself and an occasional sense of failure. They are normal experiences that don't make me bad. Jesus knows my limitations and sees my good will. He is utterly reasonable in his expectations and infinitely sympathetic with me in my unintended failure. Some people fall into the error of judging their spiritual growth by their sentiments. They think that if they feel the nearness of God or their own sincerity they're advancing spiritually. I must trust in his love and rely on his assistance as much as when I feel undeserving or abandoned as when my emotions and enthusiasm overflow. I must not believe that my spiritual growth is to be measured by my direct control over myself in every situation. My lack of control only proves that I'm a human being. It does not necessarily prove that I have rejected a grace. I have a good will, I must believe that my spiritual growth is proceeding according to God's plan. Lord, help me to live everyday with the intention of pleasing you, and leave my spiritual growth in your hands. My Life with Christ by Fr Anthony Paone
Daily Challenge: Make or print yourself a picture or a choose quote that has struck you in these past weeks to reminder yourself of God's presence in your life. Place it somewhere that you can see it to remind and uplift your heart each day.
FINAL TIP: Give thanks to God for all His Blessings because GRATITUDE INCREASES TRUST!
Resources for Going Deeper:
Bring any themes or topics that have come up these week with you to spiritual direction to go deeper into these themes. If you don’t have a spiritual director, contact your local diocese to help you find one.
Attend a monthly mini-retreat www.ourladyofbethesda.org or find a retreat guide online atwww.rcspirituality.org
Interior Freedom by Jacques Philippe plus study guide @ https://rcspirituality.org/wp-content/uploads/SCG-Interior-Freedom1.pdf
Fr. Mike Schmitz Video – Getting a Spiritual Director https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGXoi9vIY9o
Fr. Mike Schmitz Video - Do We Deserve God's Love?
Week 5 Theme: Trusting His Voice in Our Difficulties and Suffering
As CS Lewis says, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains.”
Goal of week 5: To trust the voice of God amidst the difficulties and sorrows of life. As I trust God, even in my heartache, I let my life speak of a hope that extends well beyond what we can see or touch. As our pain shouts to a hurting world, may our lives always sing of the fact that God is glorious even when our circumstances are not.
Day 29: An active faith becomes a response to God in moments of hardships and transforms hardships into glorious blessings. Therefore, when you experience hardships in your life, open your ears to listen to the gentle voice of God, let Him speak to you, call you to surrender, and invite you to let your struggle be transformed by His grace.
Daily Challenge: Renew your efforts in one of the spiritual disciplines previously suggested (meditation, examination of conscience)and/or begin to pray a daily decade of the Rosary and lean on the heart of Mary our Blessed Mother who understands our sufferings and comforts us in our trials.
Resources for Going Deeper: River of Wisdom: A Retreat Guide On the Rosary https://rcspirituality.org/retreat_guide/river-of-wisdoma-retreat-guide-on-the-rosary-guide/
Day 30: It’s important to understand that trials in life offer us incredible opportunities for holiness. When you make the choice to surrender more deeply to God because of some suffering you are enduring, there is great value in that choice because you are invited to radically overcome self-pity, selfishness and pain.
Daily Challenge: Do you have an area in your life that brings you worry? (When was the last time, you truly turned that worry over to Christ and trusted in his ability to handle it for you?). Jesus literally commands us directly in the Gospels: Do Not Worry! Write down your worry/worries at present in your journal or somewhere safe. Set a calendar reminder 3 months from now to return and look at those worries. At that time, see how God has changed you or is taking care of them.
Day 31: Prayer changes you, because in prayer, God takes over your life. This forms trust and surrender.
His voice always sounds like both consolation and challenge. The consolation is aimed at alleviating our real burdens, and the challenge is given to invite us to live with him and not simply in the passing age (Rom 12:1-2). His voice awakens us to our true dignity and his voice is always delivered to us in peaceful confidence; never extreme in tone or emotion. It has to be this kind of voice; - Deacon Keating
Daily Challenge: Take a moment to watch a Fr. Mike Schmitz Video called Finding God in Darkness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXfYjTqfo9o&t=92s
Day 32: Mark 5:35 When everyone else is questioning if Jesus really cares about the hard things we’re going through, like Jairus in this Gospel passage, we can listen for his voice declaring, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.” Jesus doesn’t tell Jairus that his daughter is in fact dead, or that he’ll have to raise her back to life. Jesus invites Jairus to trust him in the mystery. And Jairus does, and as he does, he finds hope.
Daily Challenge: Think back on a specific difficulty or time of anxiety in your life. Try and remember specific ways God gave you strength (other people, books, faith...) and spend a few moments renewing your trust that God will always give you the grace you need for the present and future moments of difficulty "God will meet you in the moment with the grace you need".
Day 33: John 11: 1-44 Raising of Lazarus - Jesus loved Martha and Mary but He let them suffer. He let Lazarus die. He lets them experience helplessness and weakness and separation of death, the loss of a loved one. Did He do it to punish them? Did he do it because he had no power to remedy the evil? No He let them suffer precisely because He loved them. He wanted to give them the greater gift of knowing Him more deeply and more intimately, and He wanted them to experience His power more profoundly. The suffering afforded Him an opportunity to act in their lives in a new way, revealing Himself to them more completely. This is God's glory. that we know Him, love Him, and experience Him more completely with His love.
Daily Challenge: Think of a situation in which God has permitted you to suffer. If you have come through it, thank God for the ways it strengthened and shaped you. If you are in the midst of it, take time to verbalize your trust that God is present and acting in this even though you cannot see it yet.
Resource for Going Deeper: Watch Why Does God Allow Trials @https://rcspirituality.org/spiritual_smoothie/spiritual-smoothie-why-does-god-allow-trials/
Day 34: God is communicating himself to us in our struggle to receive all the graces he wants to share with us in our journey to holiness. We want to push against any negative stream of thoughts or images that crowd our minds and hearts. Reflection Q: Where are you dumping everything heavy in you if you are not going with them to God? - Deacon Keating
Daily Challenge: Reflection Question…Where are you dumping everything heavy in you if you are not going with them to God? - Deacon Keating
Day 35: Suffering makes us grow. It matures us, purifies us, teaches us to love unselfishly, makes us poor in heart, humble, gentle, and compassionate toward our neighbor. Fear of suffering hardens us in self-protective, often defensive attitudes that can lead us to make poor choices. It is certain that we will pass through phases in our lives where we cannot understand the reasons for what is happening. It is here we must turn to prayer, reflection, spiritual direction, and ultimately trust in God. Jacques Philippe
Daily Challenge: Find a moment to tell Jesus all the fears you have that you can think of. After each one say, "I give this to you and I trust in you"
Litany of Trust: http://www.sistersoflife.org/litany-of-trust
Resources for Going Deeper:
Problem of Pain by CS Lewis
The Trouble with Trust Retreat Guide: https://rcspirituality.org/retreat_guide/trouble-with-trusta-retreat-guide-for-lent/
Abiding Together Podcasts #67 Teach us to Prayer https://media.ascensionpress.com/category/ascension-podcasts/abidingtogether/
Week 4 Theme: Trusting His Voice in Your Interior World
Goal of Week 4: To listen for and trust the inner voice of Love in your heart.
"If we cannot learn to hear the voice of the Savior in times of quiet, prayerful seeking, we will never be able to discern His voice in our noisy world. " Melissa Overmyer, Born to Soar, Unleashing God's Word in Your Life.
Suggested Spiritual Practice: Spend 5-10 mins at night and do an Examination of Conscience.
This is a version of the five-step Daily Examen that St. Ignatius practiced.
1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions-what made me happy? Sad? Frustrated? etc
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.
Day 22: One important factor in trusting God is knowing His will. Unless you know what God is asking of you it is difficult to say “Yes” to His gentle invitation. Trust begins when God speaks to you, you discern His voice, and you begin to respond. Prayer is a way of being available to God so that our intimacy with him deepens and our capacity to know his movements within us becomes more and more second nature. We notice his Presence moving our affections from within; his voice gently speaking to us and confirming that Heaven is not “up there.” Deacon Keating
Jesus says in Matthew’s Gospel, “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:16a). So it is with the will of God in your personal life.
A great way to discern the will of God is to look at the good fruit that comes forth when you embrace one decision or another. What good fruit should we look for? St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians offers the following good fruits that come with the embrace of the will of God in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23). If you experience the above good fruit, you should use this as an indication that what you are doing is in accord with the will of God. If you do not see these good fruits in your life, or perceive other unholy effects resulting from choices you make, then you should proceed with caution and conclude that your actions are not in accord with the will of God. Keating
Daily Challenge: 5 mins in the classroom of silence at night with Examination of Conscience
Day 23: Thus, God is the first one to act by offering you an invitation and grace. When you begin your prayer, begin with that which occupies your mind the most that day. From there, turn your heart to the Heart of God and simply place your burden and/or joy before Him. Do not seek an answer or demand any response, just give Him that which occupies your mind and heart.
Daily Challenge: Palms down-Palms up: When you begin your prayer, face your hands down on your lap; begin with talking to God about that which occupies your mind the most that day. From there, turn your palms up and lift your heart to the Heart of God and simply place your burden and/or joy before Him. Do not seek an answer or demand any response, just give Him that which occupies your mind and heart.
Day 24: If you can build a daily habit of this form of prayer, spending even a short period every day with Him, you will begin to experience Him taking control of your life. You will begin to trust Him easily because He will be the one enabling you to do so. Your trust will happen as a result of being in His presence.
By opening up your soul to Him and by communicating with Him on a deep level, you will find that you do trust Him and that through your moments of prayer you are surrendering to Him as He enables you to do so. This will especially happen in moments of silent prayer. The communication that He “speaks” to you will be one in which He enters into your mind and your will and then slowly takes possession of them. You will begin to believe more firmly and love Him more completely. This is trust. This is surrender.
Daily Challenge: Take a moment to watch Fr. Mike Schmitz’s video on the 4 Tips for Discernment
Day 25: Thoughts, feelings and desires are not the enemy of prayer. Christ loves each person individually, and he reaches them through the thoughts, feelings and desires that inhabit their hearts. Thinking, feeling and desiring are not distractions when we pray; they are the very substance of who we are, and God wants to hear all about us!
God simply wants you to be in His presence and know His love. This form of prayer will do more for your relationship with God than you could ever know. Deacon Keating
Daily Challenge: Find a moment to journal for 10 minutes about the thoughts and feelings you have had over the last few days
Day 26: Listen to your desires. Your desires, however, are only a good source of discernment of God’s will when you are humble. When you are humble, meaning you are free from selfishness and fear and authentically desire the good of others, then you can more easily trust that whatever desire is in your heart is also in union with the will of God. On the contrary, when you still struggle with pride and selfishness, your desires are usually a poor guide.
Daily Challenge: Find a moment to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament and speak with Jesus about your deepest desires. If they are not clear, ask for them to become so. Renew your trust that God will fulfill those desires in his way and in His time.
Day 27: It first requires a willingness on your part to be honest with God so that God can bring order to your life. He knows every detail of your life, but by bringing the details of your life to Him in prayer, you open your heart to know what He has to say about those details and you allow Him to enter in and take control of those details.
Daily Challenge: Think of one area in your life big or small that you have not given over to God - (think of what you most worry about or try to "manage")...and make one step in the direction of giving it over to God - whether asking for advice, or making a specific change.
Day 28: Prayerful “listening” is simply a way of being attentive to God as He makes His presence known. Prayer is not thinking, it’s being in the presence of God. Yes, we listen to God speak when He chooses to communicate some idea, but when God is silent, this means that He wants to communicate on a much deeper level.
God’s usual way to communicate to us in prayer is from within our deepest affections. From within, he assures us that there is hope, that we are not alone, and that we are good and do not disappoint him. From within our affections, he reminds us that we are capable of resisting temptation and choosing new behaviors. - Deacon Keating
Daily Challenge: Read over the Gospel reading over the day or choose another passage. Read it aloud 3 times very slowly. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak His Word for you into your heart and speak to Our Lord about this Word.
Resources for Going Deeper:
Reimagining the Examen App is an excellent FREE resource.
Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discernment of Spirits
Listen and contemplate the words of Captain by Hillsong https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_oR5Twx-RU
Morning or Evening of Reflection at Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center https://ourladyofbethesda.org/programs/encounter-christ
God Speaks Your Love Language: How to Feel and Reflect God's Love by Gary Chapman
Week 3 Theme: Learning to Trust Him in the World Around Us
Goal of Week 3: To begin to perceive and trust the gentle voice of God amidst our external circumstances of life. Often God speaks through our quiet moments, through other people, through the beauty of nature, through moments of unexpected goodness, and through life’s ordinary circumstances. Growing in trust means growing in our experience of the God who speaks to us through the world around us.
Day 15: There is great freedom in trusting God. When God is in control of your life, the heavy burdens of anxiety and worry disappear. The humble and trusting soul is not tossed and turned by the turmoil of life. Rather, the humble trusting soul is always at peace no matter what comes its way in life.
Daily Challenge: Spend time today journaling about your day. Writing has the power to help you see the beauty of God at work in your life experiences. When you express your thoughts and feelings in a journal, you’ll be surprised by how much you discover about God in the process – and God will use your journal as a tool to transform you.
Day 16: God’s desire to offer himself to us happens in the folds of ordinary living. We are not alone, because God’s help is present in the ordinary details of our lives. – Deacon James Keating
"I have planned every moment for you as a sacrament. It is a means by which you can unite yourself to me. Do you have a headache, a cold, a disappointment that afflicts you? Not just hardships are sources of divine grace but good moments too. Accept them as coming from My hands. So, in all moments think, this moment is given to me by my Lord so that I may show my love for Him. This trial, this interruption, this experience is permitted by my Lord."
Daily Challenge: Think of one piece of news you have heard recently that has left you sad. Make an act of trust in God's power to bring good from this situation.
Day 17: A primary way God nourishes our souls with His loving presence is through the beauty of nature. The face of the Lord shines on us in the sun. The moon and stars remind us that God’s light and love shine to us even in the dark.
Daily Challenge: Look for one beautiful thing today and spent a moment or two praising God for its beauty
Day 18: A life of prayer means that you have formed a habit of communicating with God over time in such a way that it becomes ongoing, sustaining and foundational to every decision you make in life. A life of prayer means that you have come to know the voice of God and are familiar with His promptings.
Daily Challenge: Taking time for a mini-retreat each month can enrich our daily prayer and also be a wonderful means by which God speaks to us.
Find a local retreat at www.ourladyofbethesda.org or enjoy an online retreat guide atwww.rcspirituality.org
Day 19: He seeks us out in the ordinary circumstances of our day to assure us that Heaven is not far away; it is coming to us from within the ordinary. - Deacon James Keating
Daily Challenge: Try and reflect the GOODNESS of God in the way you deal with others today. Try and leave them with a little bit of heaven:)
Day 20: I’ve discovered that God speaks all five love languages fluently: Words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch. What makes one person feel loved does not necessarily make another person feel loved. God knows you, and He chooses to speak your Love Language.” Gary Chapman
Daily Challenge: Think of a way God has spoken your love language to you. Choose a simple way to speak it back to Him today.
Day 21: Prayer = the safest emotional place on earth. Prayer is the only true place where we are really known and being known by God.
Receiving the Eucharist = safest emotional time on earth - Deacon Keating
Putting yourself in the right environment is a means to hear God speaking to you and to trust His voice.
St. Francis de Sales’ 5 reasons to receive Communion often:
Learn to love God
Be purified from imperfections
Delivered from misery
Comforted in affliction
Supported in weakness
Daily Challenge: Find a nearby Church that offers daily Mass and see about attending a daily Mass or two in the coming week.
Suggested Spiritual Practice this Week: Spend time each day journaling about your day. Writing has the power to help you see the beauty of God at work in your life experiences. When you express your thoughts and feelings in a journal, you’ll be surprised by how much you discover about God in the process – and God will use your journal as a tool to transform you.
Resources for Going Deeper:
Journal Your Way to Spiritual Growth
Listen and contemplate the words of Captain by Hillsong https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_oR5Twx-RU
Morning or Evening of Reflection at Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Centerhttps://ourladyofbethesda.org/programs/encounter-christ
Read: God Speaks Your Love Language: How to Feel and Reflect God's Love by Gary Chapman
Week 2 Theme: To Know Him is to Trust Him
Goal of this Week: To explore Scripture and discover the person of Jesus Christ. Through prayerfully reflecting on the suggested Gospel passages, you’ll see the kindness in his face, the forgiveness in his eyes, the power in his hand. “Our silence communicates an attitude of total availability to God’s love” (Deacon Keating) Moment by intimate moment, you will be changed.
Day 8: John 1: 35-39 Christ is the deep desire of God to make himself known. Christ then, is the revelation of God’s true intentions toward us; to invite, attract, and seduce (Jer 20:7) all into his “house” (Lk 14:23) by his action of self-sacrifice upon the Cross and the unrelenting life that flows through the Resurrection. – Deacon James Keating
Daily Challenge: Pray today for the grace to make time each day this week to read His word and participate in the challenges. He will meet you there!
Day 9: Luke 15:11-32 It is God’s constitution to never give up on the relationship. Trust in that truth and return to him often. God never counts how many times we stray; he only longs to welcome us back to his table for the feast of love – Keating
Daily Challenge: Think briefly about your day to day actions, relationships, work and spiritual life - is there an attitude or action in which you find yourself trying to earn approval? Give this to Jesus and find a moment to repeat to Him, "I am enough for you" ten times.
Day 10: Luke 15: 1-7 What ignites the leading edge of inner peace for which we are longing is knowing that God searches for and wants to remain in communion with us. Such a belief saves us from joining the error-prone quest for perfection; the quest to catch God’s eye with our ethical achievements (i.e., “See how good I am, now will you love me”?). - Keating
Daily Challenge: Repeat yesterday’s exercise in front of a crucifix. Thank Jesus for his love and ask forgiveness for when you have not believed that in his great love that does not require your perfection but simply acceptance.
Day 11: John 8:1-11 An Intimate Encounter with a Woman Caught in Adultery. It’s not her they want. It’s Jesus. The only one qualified to condemn her doesn’t. Her heart is a fluttering moth held captive in His hands. A savior who stood up for her when no one else did. Who picked her up and sent her, forgiven. She looks into His face. His forehead relaxes. It has been an ordeal for Him too. Thank you Lord for your words of forgiveness. In the strength of those unmerited words, help me go my way and sin no more.
Daily Challenge: Do I hold onto shame for any sin that I have already been forgiven? If so, tell Jesus the sin and in your own words renew your trust in his power to claim and purify all your weakness.
Day 12: Mark 14: 3-9 An Intimate Moment with Mary and the Alabaster Jar. Mary brings her alabaster jar, her heart full of pure love. It’s expensive perfume, costly perfume, costly love. Why didn’t the disciples understand? Were they too concerned with the Kingdom that they forgot the King? Christ came to break an alabaster jar for humanity. It was a jar he never regretted breaking, nor did she.
Daily Challenge: Set a timer for 10 minutes - and try and write continuously all the things you are grateful for in your life until the timer goes off. "Pour the alabaster jar" of gratitude onto Jesus feet.
Day 13: Luke 23: 39-43 An Intimate Moment with the Good Thief. The one outlaw hears all this and lifts his faint head to look at the man from whose lips these tender words came. And when his eyes meet the Savior’s, for a moment all time stands still. In those eyes he sees no hatred, no scorn, no judgment. He sees only one thing—forgiveness.
Daily Challenge: Think of someone you are struggling to forgive or not or judge - imagine them nailed as the good thief asking Jesus forgiveness for a few moments. Ask the Father to "forgive them for they know not what they do".
Day 14: John 3:16 The entire meaning of human existence can be summed up in this phrase, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that whoever might believe in Him may have eternal life”. “There is nothing we can do to “earn” God’s love—his gift of self to, and communion with us, is freely given; it is already a “done deal” in and through his Son’s journey of love on earth. This is the "secret" of prayer: to receive God.” – Keating
Daily Challenge: Find a moment in your day to close your eyes and cup your hands upward. Imagine the hardest thing in your life right now is contained in your hands. Lift your hands up to God and tell Him your trust Him with this thing (or that you want to trust him and ask for the grace to do so).
*Exerpts above taken from Intimate Moments with the Savior by Ken Gire and articles from Deacon James Keating
Suggested Spiritual Practice: Spend time each day reading (or doing Lectio Divina) the suggested Gospels or other helpful passages in Scripture. Ask questions – what does this text say? What does this text say to me? What does this text lead me to say to God? What do I detect God is saying to me through this text?
Resources for Going Deeper: Upcoming Morning or Evening of Reflection at Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center https://ourladyofbethesda.org/programs/encounter-christ
The Better Part by Fr. John Bartunek, LC https://rcspirituality.org/?s=the+better+part
Week 1 Theme: Beginning the Journey of Trust
Goal of this Week: To begin to open our hearts to the journey of trust in God by taking some time each day to contemplate our starting ground and to project where we want this journey to go. Are you ready for this journey? It’s going to change EVERYTHING!
Spiritual Practice: Spend 5-10 mins a day (longer if you like) in the “classroom of silence”. If you already do spend time in personal prayer and meditation, use this time to ask yourself the following questions: Do I trust God? If I do, what effect does this have on the different areas of my life? How deep is my trust? What does a life of total trust in God look like for me?
Tip: Choose a motto/verse to help remind you of the Trust Challenge. (Maybe: "Trust more, worry less", "When in a fix, Phil 4:6", "FIAT!" or "Trust=Peace")
Day 1: Going into the Deep: If you trust God in the deepest way, then you have faith in Him in an active way. An active faith means that you believe and fully surrender your life to Him. You entrust your whole being to God and to His providential care and guidance.
Reflection Questions: Do I trust God? If I do, what effect does this have on my life? How deep is my trust? What does a life of total trust in God look like for me?
Verse: "When I am afraid I will trust in you." Psalm 56:4
Prayer: Talk to God about what is on your heart. Perhaps: “Lord, I want to trust You more, please show me what that looks like and help me to do it by Your grace.” Amen.
Day 2: Humility and Trust: So how is trust in God experienced, practically speaking? Entrusting yourself to God first requires that you embrace the fundamental truth that you can do nothing good without God. Period. Understanding this fact is essential to the virtue of trust. God, and God alone, is the source of all goodness in life.
Reflection Questions: Do I understand fully that all that I have is by God's grace? And to be able to trust Him more fully is also by this same grace?
Verse: "So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help." Hebrews 4:16
Prayer: Talk to God about what is on your heart. Perhaps:" I want to trust and love you more fully so please give me the grace, capacity and courage to do it! Amen."
Day 3: Passive to Active Faith: Once you believe that God is the only source of all goodness in your life, you must then enter into an “active faith” in God. Having an “active” faith means that you allow your belief, present in your intellect, to move also into your will and ultimately your desires. In other words, you must allow what you have come to believe to change you.
Reflection Questions: Do I want to be changed? Do I trust that God has something better for me than I can make of myself on my own? Can I open my heart to allow what is in my head, truth and knowledge about Him to flow down into my heart and change my desires? Can I abandon my whole self to Him?
Verse: "I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26
Prayer: Talk to God about what is on your heart. Perhaps: "Take my mind and all that I know and let it flow down into my heart and let that effect my actions. Help me to trust You to be able to 'manage me' better than I do myself. Amen."
Day 4: Making the Choice: You must make a free choice to let God take over your life and produce good fruit in it. God wants better things in your life for you than you even want for yourself. What a wonderful God! He is Love itself! As we learn to trust and rely on Him more, the "fruit" of His Spirit "flows" through us more freely.
Reflection Questions: What do I long for most? (Take a look at the fruit listed in the verse below.) Am I ready to make the free choice to trust God that He can, by His grace, grow this fruit in my life? This means turning my life over to Him and allowing Him to live through me. Am I ready to make the free choice?
Verse:“the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control. “Galatians 5:22-23
Prayer:Talk to God about what is on your heart. Perhaps: "I want to make the free choice to trust You more. Please give me the grace to do it."
Day 5: Believing leads to Entrusting: The result of believing in God and entrusting yourself to Him is the glorious transformation of your soul. Have you ever longed to change but could not muster it on your own? Has your life looked a bit like this: try, fail, try, fail, try, fail…? When we entrust our whole self to Him, it is no longer us doing things in our own strength, but God working in us to do what we could never do on our own. That is transformation of our soul.
Reflection Questions: What areas of my life do I struggle with the most? Can I hand those over to God believing and entrusting them to Him knowing that He can do what I cannot? That He can transform my soul and therefore my life?
Verse:“All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit. “2 Corinthians 3:18
Prayer:Talk to God about what is on your heart. Perhaps: “Help me to let go of what I cannot in my own strength change, and trust that You can do what I cannot.”
Day 6: Entrusting leads to Transformation of Soul: God enters into your soul more deeply and takes control, guiding you day after day in accord with His holy will. Living such a life of radical trust produces good fruit in your life and prepares you to both receive and distribute God’s mercy.
Reflection Question: Am I a merciful person? Or am I on edge and always looking to “pay back” hurt for hurt? Do I trust that God is merciful, kind and forgiving and that He extends that freely to me, and therefore I am now able to pass this mercy, kindness and forgiveness on to others? Freely and undeserved, just as God does for me?
Verse:“Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” Matthew 10:8
Prayer:Talk to God about what is on your heart. Perhaps: “Help me to trust that You have freely extended mercy and forgiveness to me and help me to be able to freely do the same for others in my life.”
Day 7: The result: complete trust is far better than anything you could come up with on your own. The One who made you knows and loves you best. Trusting in His love and plan for your life is the most liberating and joyful thing you can ever do. God is 100% for you. Trust in His love.
Reflection Questions:Do I trust that God is 100% for me? Do I trust that He can and will care for me, even better than I can for myself? How can I show that in my life now?
Verse: "Trust in the Lord, with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways be mindful of Him and He will make straight your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Prayer: Talk to God about what is on your heart. Perhaps: “I throw open wide the doors of my heart to You God! Help me to love, trust and depend on You more and more each day. Keep me always mindful of Your love for me.”
*Some Excerpts above taken from https://mycatholic.life/books/the-path-to-holiness/ch-2-the-virtue-of-humility/
Resources for Going Deeper: Fr. Mike Schmitz YouTube Video on The Power of Prayer