What is the best way to let the Holy Spirit work through me?
I’ve been especially attentive to seeking answers to this question for about 6 months now. In these months, I did not feel that I was making good progress; I’m speaking about a glacial pace, and now, it is possibly the greatest blessing in my life yet to know that here I am, 6 months past completing the U.S. educational goals hoped of me, and today, I’ve found new, satisfying answers to this difficult question. Yesterday, I had an especially great day for the Lord too, and even the day before that as well, so as He blessed me so, so greatly three times now, I have to make known how good He is to me; first by a prayer:
O most holy heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore you, I love you, and with lively sorrow for my sins I offer you this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to your will. Grant, Good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you. Protect me in the midst of danger. Comfort me in my afflictions. Give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, your blessing in all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Amen.
- Christ has allowed me to recognize what worries I have not been giving up to Him to plan out (and to the extent that they were very briefly, if ever, in daily prayer: SO unfortunate, as He cares about everything in our lives).
- I know I am far from the only one in this rut: it is a (very overdue…oops) blessing for me to lift up my worries about my future vocation/life to God. This gives me more reason to be praying and acting from prayerful inspiration and less reason to be worrying. This is the single best choice the Holy Spirit has inspired within me during this great month of October. Any scheming or unrealistic planning, especially over good intentions, will not work for God’s plans in my life…so if it’s not in God’s plan, it would be coming from the devil’s plan for me, as the devil has plans for my failure, but of course God’s greatness can always overcome the plans of evil.
2. Question I’ve been praying over: “HOW can I improve at lifting up worries to God?”
- Sacraments as often as good priorities allow
- Good faith community to encourage and inspire me (religious sisters are among the kindest people to guide me within the parish community, and they are some of my greatest friends; this faith community has been my biggest blessing of 2016 without a doubt)
- We are blessed to have SO MUCH HOLY MEDIA available to us for free. Fr. Barron’s podcasts ‘Word on Fire’, Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Catholic Bulldog podcasts, Opus Dei’s podcasts, TONS of slightly used books available on Amazon for good pricing, Christian music CAN be pleasant-sounding…it leads to a change in my mind even despite setbacks: a lot of days I can’t concentrate, or the podcast topic is “more boring” than normal, or the podcast regularly seems boring yet very truthful so I need to keep listening, etc. Yet today, praise be to God that I was paying attention enough to listen to this great truth: the goal of the ENTIRE EXISTENCE of the laity, people like you and me, is this: to love and maintain a relationship with Christ. EVERYTHING else is important only in an ability to help this goal.
- This foundational TRUTH warmed my heart and brought immense consolation via a new understanding of my daily tasks. Very real moment: I was painting my nails to the best of my abilities, meaning that I was on attempt #2, and I was feeling upset as is commonly the case in keeping up with all the culturally pertinent non-essentials of self care (such as keeping nail polish looking nice each day, curling hair daily, homemade facials, overnight hair masks, Vitamin C night serum, etc.). As a student, great effort in self care is not required of this current life work; I look around and see sweatshirts and sweatpants, and there is nothing necessarily wrong with that, either. However, as a mass attendee, I look around and also don’t feel that I need to go above and beyond the basic hygiene we would teach a child, either. Yet something leads me to do my best to look adequately presentable for visiting Jesus, though I feel silly doing it when I feel I’m alone on this thought process. I go on the most important date of my life every day when I go to mass. Jesus is present in the most humble form, a host, so I will have access to His time and love. I hope to spread my love for Him in ways that include respecting His presence by caring closely after what body God entrusts to me as much as a current situation allows (meaning this looks much different in St. Paul or in my summer camp duties in Peru, where I am lucky to get time to put on sunscreen).
- My life is on the right track even though I pray for things that I see no way to find in my current life; yet this is God’s way to show me that I am given very much already, and I have other areas of focus beyond some more recent hopes as my vocation, a gift that must be maintained, is becoming clear. God is showing me His greatness in these moments, but it is a quiet, slow, trusting process.
- After 30-ish months of vocation discernment (with month-long breaks, here and there, as I felt encouraged to take within this process…but this as a bit of a surprise in my life to begin and to continue), I can pray for what will glorify God best with my life. This may be a husband to respect–through whom I can know Jesus better through his example and offer my life blessings as much as God can through me for him and do my best to help in sorrows and life tasks. I pray for the closeness of God’s love in plentiful quantities as I may one day have a family to cover their obligations: nights caring for sick children, long work days and homework help afterward, etc. I pray to stop a LOT of unnecessary tears that are involved with child care. Therefore, I pray that each day tests me to become a better worker for whatever comes tomorrow. (Sometimes, I pray that one day I may name a child (or children) carefully so as to recognize such great love shown by their namesake saint). I pray for a career that effectively utilizes God’s gifts of talents to provide for my loved ones, and I pray for little things that sometimes I don’t know why I suddenly can want very much for a day that God appoints best: a small garden, a very modest home, a porch, a nursery to decorate, fluffy towels to wrap kids in, grass and a big tree somewhere within walking distance, and a set of my own family’s functional plates, cups, and silverware to serve my loved ones. While some (fabulous) people have been given these blessings, and this brings great joy to know this, the fact remains: none of us even slightly deserve any of this, and they are a blessing only as far as they help us know Christ’s wild, burning love for a sinner like me, or you, or any fabulous human (note: I claim that all humans are fabulous in a way that God recognizes best, as their amount of good always outweighs their bad…this is a great item to read into). These great blessings also are not essential pieces to the greatest joy this life was made to offer us (God may ask me to accept other blessings apart from these prayers in His best plan), and I find peace in this TRUTH. This is not a hypothesis that I’m mentioning, this is the Truth that even when I feel like (for example) being single and focusing on God is not ALL MY LIFE SHOULD (could) BE, it actually IS all it CAN BE…filled with great love through many blessings… if I’m best glorifying God and following His plan for me. I know that this Truth is enough, especially if none of my prayers are answered as I judge to help my path to holiness, because I don’t know best. My worth cannot be adequately derived from any blessings except one; I have God’s word on my worth, and this is where I can best find my worth: in Jesus’s sacrificial love for me.
This value of each human- and where their worth is found- can change lives and empower like nothing else. I was going to write something about routines (running really early with kind friends who accept this crazy offer, work that can sanctify you but needs a set schedule, education that can push you forward a little closer to a dream of life work, but demands you to set LOTS of time in your schedule to be alone in a room and read, read, read many thousands of words to cautiously revise about why you’d fit a graduate school’s program, tons of God-given opportunities that allow you to realize that you really do fit a graduate school’s program, “study” (TRIVIA) nights with lab groups, uncertainty in applications, Thursday night Adoration with The Catholic Advance community, having a great faith support group and weekend activities through their planning, regular family meals, Skyping friends and family, a very sick elderly dog to love in his final months, visiting relatives, planning local and international mission work, a Spanish book club, babysitting my friends’ amazing kids, a blog to dump paragraphs like this into, inspiring pen pals whom I care for deeply, and what makes it all most beautiful: carving out time for a daily mass opportunity so I can meet Jesus and His mercy again every day, which makes more sense of this life and allows me to participate in thanking God for His wildly unconditional love, and therefore His success, throughout the world) …….. I’ll get to that routine in another post, I guess.
Much love to my readers. This post was all rambling, but it’s there for those of you who may have similar doubts, challenges, or joys in your life. Much love to each of you, and I’m leaving you with some photos of fall in St. Paul and a fantastic music video (and a good song too):