Monday, March 19, 2012

Tough Love

The Ranter wrote today about the harsh measures that God takes sometimes to get to our hearts.

As a stubborn mule, I can relate. Most of the time, I know exactly what it is I need to do in order to be who He is calling me to be. I just ... don't feel like it, that's all.

There's often a myriad of reasons for this, some more acceptable than others. I doubt my abilities. I'm afraid. I'm lazy. Heeding the call would require too much sacrifice. The list goes on.

It's why I relate so much to Jonah. He resisted the Lord so obstinately that He sent a whale to swallow him. Only then did he do what he was asked.

That's been happening to me over the past few days. I've ignored the nagging voice of my conscience for too long, or made halfhearted attempts to change my habits only to revert to my old ways soon after. Deep down, I feared that my actions would come back to bite me.

Lo and behold, I was right. And now all I can do is own up to the truth, accept the consequences, and do what I can to rectify it not only in the future, but today: proactively and with commitment.

Humility is a hard lesson to learn, that's for sure.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I am the woman at the well.

This weekend, my parish used a different set of readings in honor of our catechumen going through the First Scrutiny. In the middle of Lent, those preparing to enter the Church go through a number of ceremonies to help prepare their souls for the Sacraments, and this first one was an exorcism.

The story of the woman at the well has always meant a lot to me. But this year, my pastor offered an insight I never considered before.

The Samaritan woman was a hard worker, and this trek out to the well must have been a part of her daily routine. She was exhausted and stressed from work, and yet she had to make the journey anyway.

It's no wonder Jesus piqued her interest with the offer of water that would satisfy her always.

In some ways, this woman was caught in a cycle that would never fulfill her desires – not only physically, but spiritually. She was striving for a deep and meaningful life, moving from one man's arms to another over and over again.

Sin is like that. She wanted what we all want: just to be happy. And it took that meeting with Jesus to tell her she could not, could never, achieve that under her own strength. It takes more than just willpower alone to rise above our own failings. Most of the time, we're too proud to realize it.

Too, the woman was amazed that Jesus was even wasting His time on her, a Samaritan. She was second-class. And more than that, she was an adulteress.

In that moment at the well, He saw all of the dark, wounded places in her soul that no one else had ever seen. I know how she felt then. Awe and shame and a deep sense of unworthiness.

Yet He gave her life and love anyway, knowing full well what she was.

He does the same for me, knowing what I have been, knowing that I will always fall short of the mark.

Who am I to refuse that love?

God wants to use me anyway. All I can do is thank Him, and then show the world what He has done.