We pray for the following grace:
Let us pray for the grace of resilience as we commit to living out our vocation.
Prayer can be challenging even at the best of times. Distractions caused by the busyness of our lives and the stresses and anxieties we face by simply navigating through our day can make it tempting to avoid meeting God in prayer. God wants us to trust more deeply, to let God into our challenges that can weaken our desires and resolve. Resilience is a gift given by God; asking for this grace and then cooperating with God to let it grow in our lives help this trust to grow. Jesus models how being rooted in God’s love, increasing our awareness of our desires and focusing on the things that matter most, as well as engaging others in our struggles, help us to become more resilient in both prayer and the actions we choose to make.
It is not always easy to believe that we are lovable. Even though Jesus reminds us often that God loves us continuously and unconditionally, we sometimes believe that we need to earn love or please people, even God, in order to be loved. Jesus knew who he was; his identity was not based on how he felt perceived by others. He knew he was loved by God. He did not let the opinions of others define him, but rather was defined by his Father’s love for him. Prayer helps us to grow in self-awareness and to know our true identity. It frees us from trying to fit in and from comparing ourselves to others. We grow in being comfortable in our own skin, in knowing both our strengths and growth edges, and in believing we are God’s beloved.
Prayer helps us to become aware of our desires and God’s specific call for us. When our choices are driven by guilt or fear or the pressures imposed by others, rather than our true desires, our resolve weakens and we lose focus on what matters most to us. Knowing what distracts us, how we lose focus, and how we may choose to do too much rather than the one or two most important things, requires us to discern how God is moving in our lives. This means sitting quietly and listening to God. The French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote that “All of humanity’s problems stem from our inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Jesus often went off to pray, to sit with God, regardless of how busy he may have been. We can assume that this rooted Jesus in his desires and focused him on his mission. God’s grace of resilience helps us to sit in silence and to trust that we will eventually hear how God’s voice may be leading us.
Prayer helps us to know that we are loved and to uncover and stay focused on what God desires for us. Engaging with others and the world around us validate and deepen this knowledge and expand our experience of God. Jesus shows us that we need community – people who support us, who help us to see, accept, and share our vulnerabilities, and to receive those of others. When Jesus began his public ministry one of his first actions was to choose his disciples. Our resilience grows when we align behind a common mission, one rooted in our desires and God’s call for us, when we share freely our gifts and desires as well as our struggles with those with whom we serve, and when we realize that we are not meant to do it alone, that each one of us needs community to be fully alive and to experience the fullness of God in our lives.
Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. She came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.” When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
Questions to Consider:
- In praying through the reflection and scripture, what is God saying to you about your own vocation?
- As you continue your journey this Lent, what new insight have you gained to put your vocation into action for God’s and God’s creation?
We find inspiration in the life and words of St. Claude La Colombière, SJ.
“When the Holy Spirit is in a soul, he communicates himself, in one way or another. We can say that he makes virtue contagious and turns a simple faithful into that of an apostle.”
Claude La Colombière, SJ
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, V.H.M., who experienced visions of Christ and his Sacred Heart, said that Jesus had told her that he would send her a “faithful servant and perfect friend” to accompany her. St. Claude was that servant and friend. Part of being resilient is knowing when you need help and accepting those whom God gives us to support and guide us on our journey. St. Claude was a gifted spiritual accompanier. As Christians, while we might not be trained as spiritual directors, we are all called to be present to others, to encounter them, to listen to them with empathy and compassion, and to help them to carry their burdens if we are able to help. We are also called to be vulnerable and share our own struggles with those whom God blesses us.
God, please give me the courage and perseverance to continue along this journey. Sometimes the turns and obstacles faced along the way seem almost too much to bear. Help me to be gentle with myself, compassion with others, and most of all, constant in resilience, allowing me to grow in trust that you have a plan that is specific for me and though it may be hard to see at times, with time and your grace, my uncertainty will lift and your desires for me will become clearer.