Outside, it's cold and dreary. Inside, my heart feels just like the weather looks this time of year. When my thoughts turn to our two adult children who are away from the faith, I'm tempted to wonder if my prayer and sacrifice makes any difference in their lives.
Do you also sometimes wonder whether the Lord hears your prayers? Especially if you've been praying the same prayers for months or years with no apparent change in circumstances? One day recently at the neighborhood Adoration chapel, Saint Thèrése came to my rescue. I read the following quote and my soul filled with hope...for the moment.
"Lord, I understand: when a soul lets herself be captivated by the intoxicating order of your ointments, she could never run after you alone, all the souls she loves are also drawn after her; it is done without constraint, without effort, it is a natural result of her being attracted toward you." (St. Therese of Lisieux Manuscript C, folio 3)
Being the high-maintenance soul that I am, I was back in church yesterday asking the Lord once again to bring them home. The Lord patiently reminded me through the readings that "...in tribulation is the test of the just" (Sirach 27:7) and..."in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Am I supposed to be happy about that, I wondered? If I believe that I am a beloved daughter of the King and that my Lord wants only the best for me, then I should welcome tribulation and labor. But even when I'm not feelin' it, I can pretty much guarantee a soulful return to hope and optimism by doing one simple thing--praising Him.
"It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praise to your name, Most High, to proclaim your kindness at dawn and your faithfulness thought the night," yesterday's responsorial psalm reminded me. (Psalm 92)
The Lord taught me two lessons at Mass yesterday about how to stay hopeful while we wait for His action in the lives of our children. First, He speaks through the Holy Scriptures when we expose ourselves to His Word through the Sacraments or in daily prayer. Secondly, praising God in every circumstance (1 Thessalonians 5:18) floods our souls with grace and restores our hope.
Let's not forget, as praying college moms, the tried and true ways of rising above our very human inclination to become discouraged. As He showed me at Mass, Our Lord is more than eager to strengthen us for every trial and all of the work He calls us to do.
PS Stay tuned for a special Ash Wednesday blog coming your way.