I just got back into town from the Life Teen and Edge Training Convention. For me, it was a time of renewal, rest and refreshment. It was great to have the opportunity to get away and be surrounded by men and women who have dedicated and devoted themselves to sharing their lives with others so that the Kingdom can be made present in our world.
At our parish, we are going through a change in leadership. Our pastor of 11 years is being moved to another parish – to shepherd and bring life to another flock. In turn, we are getting a new pastor. Every priest I talk to is excited for us. He, our new pastor, has been referred to as a “holy priest” and a good man. I think the word “awesome” was even used.
I’ve had a mix of emotions since the announcement. As human beings we have a tendency to resist change. We fear the unknown and can be very apprehensive about it. But throughout his papacy, Blessed John Paul II constantly reminded us to not be afraid. Jesus even calls us to live in the reality of God’s protection (Matt. 6:25-27) when he says that worrying will not add a single moment to our lives. And back in the Old Testament, God reminds us that he has a plan for our lives and we should trust Him because He wants to give us a future “full of hope” (Jer. 29:11).
Trying not to get caught in the trap of worry, I took this new change to prayer at the Training Convention. I heard God speak over and over – “This is a new beginning.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I am very excited! On the plane ride back home, I remember watching the sunset and it was beautiful. Then as the darkness came, I could see a storm brewing on the horizon and lightening flashed. I thought, “you’re showing off today Lord!” And I remember praying for our new pastor and for the “new beginning” in our parish. It was exciting and freeing, really, to live in the reality that my Father is in control and I don’t need to worry.
Then I woke the next morning and the doubt and worry crept in. My joy was stolen and my confidence in God left with my joy. It was the perfect day to go to spiritual direction. As I laid out all that had happened in my heart over the past few days, I began to realize that God wasn’t far from me and that He was still in charge. I saw how the devil wove a lie into my day when he whispered, “He’s not going to take care of you.”
After spiritual direction, I prayed on the way home. God brought the image of my children to my mind. Jay and Cecilia live in confidence that mommy and daddy are in control and will never let anything bad happen to them. If they can be that confident in two broken, sinful people, we can and should be confident that our Heavenly Daddy will take care of us.
Our future is in His hands and our joy is complete (John15:11) when we live in that reality. Our happiness is from God, but it takes us constantly asking Him to remind us that He is in control. We have to decide to live in that reality. What a freeing truth – I am not in control, and I am safe because my Daddy loves me.
See you in the Eucharist.