Three years ago Jay and I attended Mass in honor of Pope Benedict XVI's last day as our Holy Father. Prior to Mass, I received news of longer delay in something I have been patiently waiting for. I was so disappointed, frustration began to creep in. I kept telling myself everything happens in God's time, not mine. But man, I sure thought my timing was right on for this one! By the time Jay arrived to pick me up, I was ready to get to church and pray for our Pope, putting my own issues aside. I jumped in the car, and we began discussing our day. Then the delay was brought up, Jay asking how I felt about it. I just wanted to cry, but held myself together. In a disappointed tone, I complained it just wasn't fair (yes, I realize I must have sounded pretty immature!). Then my beautiful man provided the comforting words I needed to hear. God promises us, if we trust in Him, His Plan will unfold better than we could ever imagine. Part of my problem was placing hope in the world to get the job done when my hope should have stayed firmly planted in Jesus. The other part of my problem? Patience. When we place our hope in God, we are reassured all will turn out well. It may not be exactly as we wanted it, but in the end, it is exactly as it should be.
The Gospel today (Luke 16:19-31) reminds us to be thankful for everything, even when things don't go according to your plan:
Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”
In Anne a lay apostle's book Whispers From the Cross, Jesus refocuses us to the positive and away from the negative:
"My beloved apostles share in My dignity, it is true. By dignity, I do not mean comfort. I was not always comfortable, least of all when I was carrying the cross that redeemed mankind. Throughout My Passion, though, I possessed the dignity that belongs to a child of God. All of mankind possess this dignity and nobody can take it from them. Followers of Mine will look out at the world from their soul, united to Me, and they will desire that each person be treated as I would like them to be treated. Followers of Mine will hear My anguish at the mistreatment of so many. Beloved apostles so close to My heart, hear Me.
Listen to My pleading. There is a heavenly answer for the suffering of many and a great deal that My children suffer is unnecessary. Look at your own life and think of one instance where you helped another. You diminished the suffering of one of God’s children in that instance and lightened their cross, lessened their loneliness or provided some physical assistance that I wished this other person to be given. I used you to bring My loving kindness to this other person. I used you to affirm their dignity. How many of you are there? How many follow Me? May I say that if you were all listening to My voice, serving as I would like you to serve, I could bring more comforts to many more of God’s children. It hampers My plan when people chosen to serve refuse to serve as I wish them to serve. Sometimes, I have to remove someone from service all together in order to protect God’s children. Imagine the grief this causes Me. Not only do I feel the gap in service, but I have to mitigate the damage that has been done by the false representation of Me. Others must work harder in these circumstances and others suffer. Perhaps you have suffered from the false representation of another. Your crown will reflect this, have no fear. Your reward will be great."
Lay apostles, are you placing hope in God? Or are you relying on the world to answer your prayers? Think about it. Stop right now and let go of whatever it is you are waiting for. Give it to Jesus and continue on with your day a little lighter. It's a conscious choice, and not easy sometimes. Ultimately, you do realize you don't have control of outcomes, right? So, why struggle with the load? As the saying goes, "let go and let God!"
Thank you, Lord, for the twists and turns of this life. I know this is for my benefit, as I become much more reliant on You when things don't go my way!