Sunday, June 24, 2012

Who can add a single hour to his lifespan by being anxious?

The answer to this question comes from one of my favorite readings in the Bible.  It also happens to be the Gospel from Saturday. 
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble”.(Matthew 6:24-36)
Last year this gospel was read on 6:24 the 24th day of June which was also the Feast of John The Baptist. This year it was read on June 23 as the Feast fell on a Sunday.   I do not think it is an accident that this Bible passage is read on or around the date to which it also represents.  As it coincides with the Feast of John the Baptist it as if there is a calling out in the Dark to hear these words to our core for they ground us in how we live our life.  
Our Family reads Matthew 6:24 every Thursday night.  The children all know it by heart.  One day my husband came home.  He told me that he had an opportunity to review medical records for a large malpractice case. However,  it would involve many hours of work.  My husband already leaves the house very early as he is a physician working in a hospital and he often comes home late.  Even though we could use the extra money to help pay off debt, such as school loans, my husband reminded me of Matthew 6:24.  He said to me, we read this every week and if we believe it then we should not take this extra job.  By taking the extra work on the side we would lose the precious time we can all be together.  When we brought our decision back to scripture the wise answer was right before us.  We did not give it a second thought and with peace in our hearts, my husband declined the offer.  

I have come back to this post.  After writing what you read above, my heart was restless.  I felt so much was unsaid.  This reading speaks to me about financial decisions as I have described above but also it has gotten me through many times when I would worry about my declining health.  I have peace and see the wisdom of how the Lord chooses to bring souls that stray from Him, such as myself, back to His tender heart .  He tests us not as a punishment but to strengthen our faith. A priest this past week asked us if we saw the man who crossed Niagra Falls on a wire the prior weekend.  He then told a fictional story of a man who crossed the Falls on a wire and when he reached the side he asked if the crowd believed he could do it blindfolded.  The crowd cheered.  He then asked them if they thought he could cross the Falls blindfolded and with a man on his shoulders.  The crowd cheered.  He then asked if there were any volunteers to get on his shoulders.  In many ways my illness proved to me that I could not work or rationalize my way to health.  I first thought if I could see enough specialists someone could help me with my genetic condition.  There did come a day when I knew I could do no more.  I was in free fall.   A hand grabbed hold of me.  The Hand was Our Dear Lord Jesus.  He gave me something when He took hold of me and that was a deep Faith.  I had Faith since I was a child but not to the core of my being.  I was no longer frightened to get up on the shoulders of Our Lord where ever He chose to take me.  I know now that my way does not work.  However scary it may be I trust with my life God's plan.  It was only through suffering that I came to know this.  That is why I can see the wisdom of why Our Loving Father tests us.  We can never doubt that he Loves us and that He is waiting for us to truly trust in His plan.  Instead of praying for healing I pray that I may discern what God wants from me and have the strength of body and spirit to live it and the courage to follow it though.  Directing my prayers in this way I have seen the fruits of Matthew 6:24-36.  God sees what I need down to the smallest obstacles and provides.  The most recent example was last Friday.  I needed to be home for a medical appointment by 9:30 so my mom could drive me. However, after Mass if I stay with the prayer group for the Rosary, many individual prayers and then the Chaplet we can sometimes end too late for me to be home in time.  Friday was also very hot and I knew the walk home would be slower due to the heat.  However,  due to my disability with my hands I cannot open the door of the Church to let myself out without help.  Once the prayers begin I do not want to disturb anyone to help me until all is finished.  Friday something different happened.  The person leading our group with no notice just cut out most of the individual prayers and only said the rosary, St. Michael prayer, prayers for the Holy Father and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  We were done by 8:45 instead of our normal 9:05.  I had made no mention of my time concerns to anyone.  The Lord knew I needed to be home as not to anger my mom or upset my physical therapist who would be waiting for me at the appointment.  As I walked home I was in awe at how The Lord sees everything and just like the sparrows He provides.  I made it home with 10 minutes to spare.

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