Friday, December 30, 2011

Courageously Weak...And Random Sheep!

I gleefully jumped in the car today, ready to go have a picnic with my amazingly beautiful sister Ellen ( And, since I love music, I turned on the radio to full blast. Now, when I typically drive, I like to find a random station with bouncy, fun pop or rock songs. So many times, I don't switch on the Christian stations, because whenever I tune into them in the car, they are playing slow, quiet music. However, this time, I turned the radio to a Christian station for whatever reason (haha of course I know Who's fault it is that I did that :P ) And the first words that I hear blasting out of the speakers:
I know I'm not strong enough
to be everything that I'm supposed to be;
I give up I'm not strong enough
(Matthew West: "Strong Enough")
God knew exactly what I needed to hear, even if I didn't realize it at first.
Well, I met with Ellen, and we had a fabulous picnic; it was wonderful to be with her and talk--she is always such a blessing and inspiration to me! After a while, we left the park and headed down to one of my most favorite Adoration Chapels: St. Peter's, in Schulte. Sitting there, looking at Christ in the Monstrance. In silence. For the first time since the end of the semester. Whoa. And then, I heard piano music. Someone was in the church, practicing on the piano. What song are they playing on the piano? "The Summons."
Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Ouch...God and I have a history with that song. Really, God? Of course, You WOULD have me hear that song right now...a few moments later, a new song was being played: "You are Mine."
Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow Me
I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine

So God was really laying it down heavy. I just looked at Him there...and thought about His strong arms holding me. And I was thinking about how epic it is to be held in God's Arms. Strong arms, that give support and hold me close to Him. So close that I can feel Him breathing, feel His Sacred Heart beating. And then the lyrics of "Strong Enough" started coming back to me from earlier in the day...And I began to contemplate the need to be courageously weak.

If we say that we're strong enough to handle whatever God puts in our path, and we're strong enough to take control in any situation, then there are issues. Where is reliance in God? In His plan? Trust in Him? In order to fully trust in God, to let Him take control, we need to let Him be the stronger man. We need to back off, and give control completely to God. We need to give up our own strength--we need to become weak, so that we can rely entirely on God's strength. And this is really, really hard. Because we like to be independent. We like to be able to support ourselves, to have control. We like to be strong. But God wants to be our strength; He wants to comfort us, to love us, to wipe away our fears and anxieties.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matt 11:28-30)

Oh yeah. So after Adoration, we got lost. Like, we turned into this neighborhood, and were like "Well, if we keep going on this road, it should wind back around and get us where we need to be!" And this road twisted and turned and finally took us to a major road (119th street). Boom. And what did I see? SHEEP! Across the road, there was this house with a couple or horses. I see that kind of stuff in the Wichita area. But sheep? There were sheep there! And I have NEVER seen sheep in this area randomly! Goats, chickens, horses, but never sheep. And what do sheep symbolize? Well, us...we are the sheep, God is our shepherd. Sheep are typically docile and obedient by nature--they are weak in a sense, depending on their master. In fact, I have been told in homilies before that when sheep get lost, the shepherd will break the legs of the sheep, and carry the sheep with him. The sheep will become more dependent on the shepherd, and be discouraged from leaving the shepherd again--for the sheep knows his master. The sheep become WEAK in order to rely on their master. Hmm...

Oh, and I was just looking up a quote for a friend, I came across this St. Francis of de Sales quotation:
Be patient with everyone, but above all with thyself. Do not be disheartened by your imperfections, but always rise up with fresh courage.

Courageous Weakness. It takes guts to be weak and depend on God, totally drawing one's strength from Him.
Real Men (and Women...) are Courageously Weak.