|Statue of St. Catherine of Siena, one of my patronesses, from the campus at Ohio Dominican University.|
The quote on her pedestal is "Be of service wherever you are."
You know when you were a kid and your mom or dad would say:
"Sometimes life just isn't fair, kid"?
Yes, it's true. Life is not always fair. And similarly, the life of a Christian is not always easy. I mean, look at Jesus. Do you think it was easy to be beaten, forced to carry a cross and then to hang on it? Of course not.
How about the apostles? Did they fare better? All but John died a martyr's death, so my guess is, no.
So why is it that many Catholics and non-Catholics alike believe that following their faith should be fun, engaging and lead to "better things" in our earthly lives?
Someone once said that "the things that are worth doing are always the hardest." It think that's true. It's tough to be in the cross-hairs of a cultural war and stand your ground. It's tough to accept that your plans for life may not always be the same plans that God has for your life. For confirmation of this hard, cold fact, look at Jonah.
Sometimes I feel like I have been sent to Nineveh. Nothing looks like it should or sounds like it should. I don't feel like the Church has wrapped me in a blanket of comfort and joy. But I must always remember that joy doesn't always look like I expect it to look.
Joy is not unbridled enthusiasm. It is serenity in the face of adversity. And that serenity cannot be given to me by anyone but God. I cannot gain it through hard work. I do not merit it through my prayers. It is a God's gift alone. The catch is that I have to accept it.
When I turn my attention to my own work or to the failings of others, I take my eyes off of Jesus.
So, at a point where I am trying desperately to discern my next step, I'm still out here telling Jesus, "I've got this. Just help me get what I want," and it's completely backward. I'm so busy trying to work the miracles that need to happen in my life, and truly, I just have to put my hands up, step back and leave it to God.
It's not always comfortable - in fact it is almost never comfortable - to follow the will of God.
Obedience is tough.
Sometimes, things are just hard.