A few months ago, one of the sweet and beautiful nuns (who used to be a NICU nurse) at Christ the Bridegroom, held my baby Simeon.
The nuns love all children… but as Sr. Iliana held Simeon, she said, “This is how we are to be! Like a newborn in the lap of Christ!” I knew as soon as she said this, that I would need to meditate on it and take this truth to heart.
I am not at all trusting like a baby. Especially over the last several years.
When all was well, sure, I felt I had faith and trust… but then I was tested like never before. I thought I had experienced “giving everything up for God’s mission;” I thought I knew what pain was; I thought I knew what it was like to feel abandoned on the lonely road of the Cross; I thought I knew what betrayal was all about; and I thought I understood and welcomed poverty.
I knew nothing.
Day after day, month after month, our call to leave the beautiful Rocky Mountains and pursue where God seems to be mysteriously calling us has felt more and more cloudy… more and more refining and edgy… at times, I have thought, did I hear Him right? I was so sure! But now…
…now I realize we have survived on His providence alone. I realize this is the life of the apostles, to depend on Him for the next meal. Every house payment, each excruciating bill, they have all been covered, somehow, by the quiet generosity of many times anonymous people… people who have no idea that I sob when I open their unsolicited envelope.
I know what it is to have money, and I know what it is to have none… the “none” part seems to be lingering so long that the “refining by fire” actually physically hurts. But the money part is the least of it. The strain on my vocation, the strain on my faith, my lack of love and my rebellion… the way the One I used to look at with love has turned into Eve running away, hiding, glancing with accusation, pain, division… this is much more painful than any kind of lack of money.
I realize that I cause myself much more pain to not be a newborn in the lap of God. I squirm and I worry and I want to jump off His lap and make things right myself.
But I can’t even walk.
I woke to a dream this morning. I was being received into the Byzantine Church at Holy Protection in Denver. Fr. Michael O’Loughlin was there and was his usual jovial self. My arms were filled with little “gifts” I had upon entering the church… there was a chotki, a necklace, an icon, and oddly enough, a little child’s toy ball. I ran up to Fr. and asked him, “Father! Are these items blessed?” He said,”Yes! …. wait… they don’t feel small enough.” And he blessed them again. With that sign of the cross I awoke and realized I am not small enough. I make myself out to be too big, too clever, too proud.
*Note: Fr. Michael never said this to me and this was totally a dream, but please DO listen to his podcasts at Catholic Stuff You Should Know!
I resist being a newborn in God’s lap, because I think I know better. But the truth is, I don’t.
In these tumultuous times within our Church as scandal upon scandal is revealed, in these difficult times for many around the world scraping to make a meager living, in these times where the clouds seem to cover the sun more often than not and all appears hidden and within a desert of little consolation, when I want… I demand... answers, and only silence answers me as I cry out WHY?!.…. this is how we are to be: a newborn.
… because we are being born again, and we must trust God with the abandon of a newborn.