YIPES! Just when I think I have a handle on something, I find myself in a situation where I don’t have a grip on it...it has a grip on me. What does?...that old nature...being very human...sin. This often happens when I’m traveling, and out of the daily routine (where I am in charge). I can easily be stretched, miss my sleep, over-indulge, skip my prayer times, and feel I am asked too much of. All the holidays and traveling can do me in if I'm not careful. But it can also be a grace, really, because God shows me again and again at these times how I have become “self-reliant” instead of “God-reliant”. When I do that, I am destined for failure.
There is only one solution for too much “holiday”--total and utter dependence on God, the Lover of my soul. I must re-learn that it is not by my own strength but by relying on Him that I can do anything at all.
How do I depend totally on Him? Just knowing how to gets me nowhere if I don’t actually DEPEND ON HIM!
Firstly, I must remind myself that He loves me--no matter what! That spurs me on to love Him in return. How do I love Him? I get to know Him and His ways. How do I get to know Him? By reading His word, through prayer and the sacraments.
A practice I find most helpful each day is to read the daily Mass readings and ask the Lord in prayer to show me one thing He would like for me to hear and learn from Him for that day-- and then take that one thing and put it into practice as best I can. ( I find the daily readings in my Magnificat or here: www.usccb.org/bible/readings )
Secondly, if I can take even a very few minutes in the morning and dedicate the entire day to Him, everything starts off on the right note. I clothe myself in His presence and light and ask Him to fill me so that I can be all that He would ask of me that day. Throughout the day, I “check-in” and tell the Lord that I love Him. St. Therese of Lisieux says this is like throwing little pieces of straw on the fire. This practice helps to bring my mind and soul back to the Center which is where I always want to remain.
Thirdly, if I am unable to go to daily Mass when traveling, I have found this prayer of Spiritual Communion most helpful:
“Lord Jesus, I desire to receive You into my heart. Through this union with You, I offer myself to the heavenly Father as a sacrificial host abandoning myself totally and completely to the most merciful and holy will of my God. From today onwards, Your will, Lord is my food. Take my whole being; dispose of me as You please. Whatever Your Fatherly hand gives me, I will accept with surrender, peace, and joy. I fear nothing, no matter in what direction You lead me. I no longer fear any of Your inspirations nor do I probe anxiously to see where they will lead me. Lead me, O Lord, along whatever road You please; I have placed all my trust in Your will, which is, for me, love and mercy itself.” (Adapted from St. Maria Faustina Kowalska’s Act of Oblation, Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska:Divine Mercy in My Soul, 1264.)
As I say this prayer, I put myself in His presence and I ask the Lord to give Himself to me totally. This helps to loosen the grip of the world and places me right in the Heart of the One who loves me the most, and who is most deserving of all of my love.
And of course, if I am traveling on a weekend, www.masstimes.org helps me to find the closest Catholic Church any where in the world. I get to worship with the Body of Christ, His Church, where ever my pilgrim’s feet take me, and I receive the Lord in the sacrament of his Body and Blood.
So how do I “get a grip” and not let the world get its grip on me?
By staying close to the One who holds me so tightly, that His love breaks the bonds of anything this world can throw at me.
By loving Him first and foremost because He first loved me.
By resting in Him “actively”...through His word, prayer and the sacraments. Then I can be encouraged and agree with St. John when he states…
“Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
Help! I need You everyday… no matter where I am or what I am up to. This world has a way of working into my soul like fine dust and "gumming up my works.” I ask that You would come and blow Your beautiful cleansing breath on me, filling me with renewed vigor, joy, and perseverance to live in the Center with You. May I remain connected tightly connected to You so that Your love can flow through me to all I will encounter this day and always.
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.