We’ve had amazingly full days since we’ve been here in Germany; I’ve been a little surprised, actually. I think I expected to have to wait around more until things “got going.” Here’s lesson number one of missionary life: God does not wait. He wastes no time diving right in if you let Him! Part of the reason we’ve had such a full schedule, I’ve realized, is because we pray so much—praise God! (just for you Fr. Paul). I guess I never really noticed how much time we set aside for prayer when I was living at Covecrest last year; everyone did it, so it wasn’t as noticeable. But now that we’re living smack dab in the middle of a whole bunch of people who don’t necessarily pray in the same way we do, we have to do things like make a schedule (what? What’s that?), and our schedule is built around prayer. I’m so thankful for the foundation that was laid last year during my formation; I’m just now beginning to realize how important maintaining a rhythm of prayer is.
Which brings me to lesson number two of missionary life: it’s amazing how much God will reveal to you when you give Him the chance! God is just beautifully answering my prayer, in ways that I never expected; I think I’m getting rather used to hearing God’s voice (even if He sometimes says things I don’t understand…)! First of all, a little background information to give you some perspective:
Two things you should know about me: I have always described myself as a take-charge kind of person, and I tend to get anxious when I don’t know what’s coming or when I don’t have control over any given situation. With these two characteristics combined, I tend to get somewhat “grabby” in unfamiliar situations and try to grasp at things or people that are familiar so that I feel I have something that kind of resembles control. Now, God has really been working on these quirks of mine over the course of the last year of formation, and I’ve come a long way. It’s easier for me to trust God with the details (or even the big chunks!) of my life that I don’t know anything about, and I’m getting more and more used to taking the backseat while God’s driving and just enjoying the ride. Fr. Jean C.J. d’Elbee says in I Believe in Love, “I have often noticed that to reward an act of confidence, Jesus gives us the occasion to make an even greater act of confidence.” So, because of how much I’ve progressed, Jesus has gifted me with the opportunity to trust Him more fully, to die to self, and to let go of control (and even vision of the future) more and more. Thanks, Jesus.
Humanly, this is incredibly difficult for me. The more Jesus prompts me to let go of control, the more something inside of me fights to have control (doesn’t St. Paul talk about this somewhere? Always doing what you don’t want to do?). Some days, it takes a great deal of effort for me to wake up and say, “God, I love you, and I trust you today. I know that you have great plans for me. You have promised to give me life to the fullest, and I trust that what you promise, you will also do. Give me the grace to live that reality today!”
But what a beautiful way to live! It’s been amazing for me to see evidence of God’s love for me; all the small ways He is fulfilling me and fulfilling His promises to me in the small, ordinary events of the day. A small example: I’ve gotten really used to an hour of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every morning to start my day. It’s something that I look forward to (yes, even on the days when I want to sleep in) because I’ve realized how much I need to hear God speak to me. Now that we’re living in a place that doesn’t offer Eucharistic Adoration every day (although we’ve been able to go to Mass every day, a blessing in itself), I’ve really been missing my daily holy hour. So one morning before we headed to Mass in the Netherlands, I just prayed a quick little prayer that God would give me some time during the day to just sit with him and pray. So we get to the convent where Mass was scheduled for 11:00 and, wouldn’t you know it, there was Jesus, exposed in the Blessed Sacrament. And we had a holy hour with Exposition before Mass that day. Thanks, Jesus!
That’s just one very, very small example of all the ways Jesus is gifting me—almost spoiling me, in fact—in response to my waiting for him. I’m learning that the struggle of living a life of holiness isn’t in choosing between the good and the bad, but seeing the good and then waiting for the best, the fullest of what God has in store for me. God keeps telling me to wait, to keep waiting, for Him to reveal more of His plan for me—a plan that I could not even begin to conceive of on my own. And let me tell you, it’s looking mighty good from where I’m sitting!
“‘Come,’ says my heart, ‘seek God’s face’ […] I believe I shall enjoy the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Wiat for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27: 8, 13-14).
“Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance” (Romans 8:24-25).
“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed” (1 John 3:2).