This past month I have been pretty down spiritually. I have been trying to figure out why. I think last week I may have come up with the reason why, or at least what to do about it.
I took a week off from work last week with the intention of making a pilgrimage of sorts for Holy Week. In my 62 years of being a baptized Catholic, I had never been to any part of what is known as the Triduum, the three most holy days of the Catholic faith. These days are Holy Thursday where we celebrate the last supper, Good Friday where we commemorate the death of our Savior on the cross, and the Easter Vigil Mass, where we celebrate the Resurrection. The Easter Vigil was especially important for me as this is when the RCIA candidates were welcomed into the church, I will be writing more about these three days and some of the things that went on in upcoming posts, but for today I just want to talk about what I learned about my personal faith journey.
I have said many times in this blog and to various people that “I have come a long way in my journey, but I still have a long way to go.” This week made me realize I haven’t really come as far as I would like to think. During the past week, I spent a lot of time in church, either at prayer services, masses or getting ready for the welcoming ceremony for the catechumens. I saw people who have so much more faith than me, it made me want to cry. I came across people who you only need to look at them to see their love for the Lord. It isn’t necessarily something they say, or do, they aren’t constantly spouting scripture, it is just a feeling, a vibe that surrounds them. When you look at religious artwork the saints and angels always have this glow around them, this is what it is like with the truly faithful. I ask myself “Why can’t I be like that?”
Several things have happened in my life recently, such as what I have written about my work, to make me feel like I am not making a difference in the world, not even my tiny little corner of it. We are called to set good examples for others, to live in the way we are taught by Jesus, We are taught to lead by example, to let the light of Jesus shine through us. I have felt I haven’t been doing that although I have convinced myself I am doing the right things, setting a good example, being an exemplary Catholic. I have faulted others, like those at my job, for not being able to see this, to not coming to the same conclusions as I have about Jesus being our Savior and Catholicism being the way to make the world right again. Why, although trying so hard, do I feel so empty?
With all the time I had to actually pray and meditate in solitude this week, I realized I am not a great example. Why not? Because it has been all about me. Sure I can talk a good game, come here and write about what everyone else should do, preach to the RCIA candidates on what being Catholic means, but when I spent the time to really think about my life and what I do, I came to understand that I don’t practice what I preach.
Here is an example: A few weeks ago I went to the parish ministry center to talk with one of the priests about the website. This was one of the days the church opens the food pantry in the basement and there was an elderly lady standing in the hall. This lady must have overheard me say something about computers while I was in the office and approached me asking if I was here to fix their computer. I said no I wasn’t. She proceeded to tell me the computer the food pantry used to keep all their records had crashed that day and they didn’t know how to fix it so they needed me. I told her I really couldn’t help her as I wasn’t a computer technician.
I didn’t want to get involved. I figured if I tried to fix it and I made things worse, I didn’t want to have to deal with the potential backlash. I asked a few questions, but the lady really didn’t know anything about it other than it wasn’t working. Did I go downstairs to look at it? No. I just said sorry, I really can’t help. But could I have? Maybe, but I didn’t even try. It could have been something fairly simple, but I didn’t even look. Is this what Jesus is calling us to do? Walk away?
While at the prayer service we had for the RCIA candidates I was talking to one of the candidate’s sponsors, a woman who is very involved with the church. I told her I had been having a rough time the past few weeks and she said she would keep me in her prayers. Later as I was in church I began to think about that. She would keep me in her prayers, she would pray for me. I realized I always prayed for me, not for others. Oh, once in a while I would ask God to watch over someone or help them in some way, but 95% of the time I would just be talking to God about my problems, my needs. Is this what Jesus is asking us to do?
I could go on but I have rambled long enough. All these things have made me realize that maybe I am not as far along in my journey as I thought. A few months ago my pastor said to me something like he admired all the faith I have. Do I really? I am beginning to question how much faith I really have. As I was talking to Jesus last night, out of nowhere these four words came to me “Less me, more you.” In other words, I need to make my life less about me and more about Jesus. I always talk about how Jesus is always talking to us, sending us messages, and we don’t listen. I have prayed to Him, asking Him to let me know His will, and He does and I ignore it. I would rather put me first and then, maybe if it is convenient for me, to do His will.
This is what needs to change. That is where I need to be. That is the next step of my journey. “Less me, More Him.”