Search

barchenkecil

"Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart." – Luke 2:19 (RSV)

Tag

audrey assad

Steady

LYRICS:
I put all my hope in the truth of Your promise
and I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

because You are good to me, good to me

I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night–raise my head up and hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

because You are good to me, good to me
Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
all my life
I will trust in Your promise

– Audrey Assad

While I was thinking about what to blog about today, I listened to the song that was playing on hubby’s spotify. It was ‘Good to me’ by Audrey Assad. This beautiful song really resounded with my heart so I think I’ll blog about this.

“I’ll steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness” Audrey sings. Steady is that I want to be. I want to be free to love my beloved (my God) with all my being. At the moment I can’t because I’m not there yet. But I entrust myself to my Lord Jesus to form and shape my soul so that I will be able to have this freedom. I entrust myself to Our Lady and St. Therese to pray for me in the meantime.

Sometimes I tell Jesus that I entrust myself to Him but yet I feel worried. So I ask Our Lady for help and she always reminds me that to be childlike is to ask for something and then immediately trust that my Father in Heaven will take care of it in His time and in the best possible way. I’ll practice this childlike confidence in my Father more 🙂

Imitating Our Lady the Immaculate Conception

mary laundry.jpg
Our Lady has many titles. I love the title Our Lady Star of the Sea.

He who ponders the law of the Lord day and night will yield fruit in due season.

– Psalm 1: 2-3

Our Lady always points us towards her son Jesus. She is the Immaculate Conception; preserved by God from original sin from the moment of her conception. Therefore, she is what God created us to be; fully alive by being united with God. And so it is only natural to imitate Our Lady because she is the kind of human being that we are all designed and created to be. Saint Irenaeus said “The glory of God is a man fully alive”. Mary is the perfect example of a human being fully alive.

My favourite bible verse about the Blessed Mother is “Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, RSV). She “ponders the law of the Lord day and night”.

This makes sense because if we want to have the freedom to be excellent in what we want to do we need to immerse ourselves in that world. We become what we worship. If I want to be an excellent doctor, I have to immerse myself in the world of medicine. If I want to be a good submissive, I have to focus on my husband and keep all my rules in mind constantly.

If I want to be who the Lord has designed me to be, one with Him, I need to immerse myself in Him; to think of Him nor just during Mass but 24/7. I need and want to contemplate His laws, marvel at His creation and adore Him. Meanwhile, I am very aware that, everything good that I can do is God’s grace and not because of my own merits. And just acknowledging this fact relaxes me and gives me great joy and peace.

Jesus, the very thought of You, it fills my heart with love.

Jesus, You burn like wildfire, and I am overcome.

Lover of my soul, even unto death, with my every breath I will love you.

– Audrey Assad, Even Unto Death

Pride

Humble-and-Gentle-Jesus

Recently, I have had a bit of a struggle with pride.

Semantics… I could quote a dictionary on what pride is here. But I believe that words mean different things to different people. And a dictionary is like history records, written by the people who have the right influence to do so.

So what I mean by ‘pride’ is rooting my self-worth in my own ego. This is in contrast to what I think of ‘humility’ which is to ground my self-worth in the Lord, in the fact that I am loved into existence by God.

Why do I become proud? Because I do not trust that the Lord knows best. I don’t trust that I am loved infinitely by Him. So I turn to my own ego to justify my self-worth. I try to fill that God shaped hole with 4 broad categories, Wealth, Honor, Pleasure and Power.

As a consequence of being proud, I am insecure and self-centered (instead of being secure in God, and God-centered). If someone gets more money, that means there’s less money going to me. If someone gets more Honor (or attention), then there’s less of that attention going to me. If someone else gets more pleasure, then I am missing out on some. If someone gets more power, I am getting less power.

“One of the most fundamental problems in the spiritual order is that we sense within ourselves the hunger for God, but we attempt to satisfy it with some created good that is less than God. Thomas Aquinas said that the four typical substitutes for God are wealth, pleasure, power, and honor. Sensing the void within, we attempt to fill it up with some combination of these four things, but only by emptying out the self in love can we make the space for God to fill us. The classical tradition referred to this errant desire as “concupiscence,” but I believe that we could neatly express the same idea with the more contemporary term “addiction.” When we try to satisfy the hunger for God with something less than God, we will naturally be frustrated, and then in our frustration, we will convince ourselves that we need more of that finite good, so we will struggle to achieve it, only to find ourselves again, necessarily, dissatisfied. At this point, a sort of spiritual panic sets in, and we can find ourselves turning obsessively around this creaturely good that can never in principle make us happy.”
― Bishop Robert E. Barron

I think being proud was the reason why my mental state was bit unsettled yesterday when I had to read 2 very unpleasant emails from an individual who accused me of things that I hadn’t done. She wasn’t even someone I cared about. But the thing is when she was falsely accusing me, I felt that my honor was being threatened. So I emailed back to defend myself, being very intentionally passive aggressive. I tried to fight for my honor back. And of course I got an email in reply with more false accusations and also a notification that my account in her online community will be removed. When she said this I felt like she had the upper hand, she had more power than me in this situation. And so, in being proud, I felt like I was losing out in the power game. This interaction really upset my normally calm internal thoughts and mental state in a way that I couldn’t understand until a day later as I’m writing out this post.

I now realise that if I had remained humble (grounded in God) yesterday and not become proud (insecure), I would have quite possible avoided all that inner unrest.

In fact, I remember my husband saying to me (after I showed him the unplesant email and my reply that I had already sent) that in the future if I receive any unpleasant emails, I need to show them to him first and construct a reply under his guidance.

My husband is someone who is often more humble than I am, more trusting in God than I am, so his replies to unpleasantness is usually very kind. If I had turned to his guidance, I might have been able to reply her in a way that will disrupt the fight between us for honor and power. But at the very least I would have, under my husband’s guidance and God’s help, consciously chosen the humble path instead of the proud one.

I want to chose to trust as a child in the Lord and to trust in my husband in helping me to be humble, to ground myself in my God. To be able to sing, as Audrey does, “When I taste Your goodness I shall not want”.

From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

From the fear of serving others
From the fear of death or trial
From the fear of humility
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

No, I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

Audrey Assad‘I shall not want’

Links:

Trust

trust-family-hands-of-child

I have been thinking about why I feel stressed lately. I have always attributed the feelings of stress to the fear of not passing medical school (1st year finals are in 4 weeks). There is not much else in my life that I am stressed about, and for that I am grateful.

As I walk (30mins) to the trains station to catch the train to Uni & sit on the train, I have recently taken up praying the Rosary. When I arrive at the train station I usually pop into the Catholic Church next to it and sit in silence with the Blessed Sacrament. While doing all these things, I ask the Lord to form my soul in the way He sees best, like a Papa guiding his little child. I ask Our Lady (Mummy) and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (big sister) to pray for me. I relax (or try to) into their love and their guidance.

I didn’t know what to expect when I did this, all I knew was that the Lord will form my soul in His own time and with His ways. I did these things, entrusting myself to the Lord’s care and into the intercession of Our Lady and Saint Thérèse, with a childlike expectation that my trust and obedience will bear good fruit of some kind in the right time.

To my delight, the Lord has lovingly taken me in hand and has formed my soul, heart and mind. I now realise that I am not actually stressed or scared over failing medical school, I was fearful of not being able to carry out what God wanted me to do. I was afraid that I’d screw up what God wants me to do. This realisation was so radical because it’s the first time that I have thought about the stress in my life in this way.

While contemplating these things in front of the Blessed Sacrament, while praying the Rosary and in my heart as I went about my day, I realise that I can just relax. I can relax because as my loving Papa, God will not give me a task and then not guide me or provide me with what I need to carry it out. God’s help is always there for me and all I have to do is to have open hands to receive it. I can relax into the care of my Papa God and the loving intersession of my Mother and big sister. A child is carefree when she knows her every need will be provided lovingly by her parents. So too can I relax in God’s perfect love and be free to take delight in the simple pleasures that my Papa sends my way. ‘Perfect love casts out fear’ – 1 John 4:18 (RSV)

When I experience fear, it is because I don’t trust in the love of God. I don’t trust that I will receive everything I need to carry out the task that my Papa sends my way. I don’t trust that God’s plan is what will give me the most joy and peace. I want my own plan, not God’s plan. In where I am in my life, it is my attachment to passing 1st year of medical school the 1st time round that puts fear into my heart when I say to myself “What if God’s plan for me is to have to repeat 1st year?”.

The antidote to this fear is just trusting that God loves me so much that He will always nurture my Soul in the best possible way. And if that means having to repeat 1st year then I will (try to) gladly accept because it will lead to a greater joy than passing 1st year the first time round.

Living out Ephesians 5:22-33 (RSV) by trusting and submitting to my husband helps me to practice trusting and submitting to God. A post for another time perhaps.

It all comes down to trust.

Open hands do three very important things: they let go, they receive, and they give…

Like most people, I have a hard time doing any of these things very consistently or very well… my life seems to operate in cycles of accumulating disordered attachments and then releasing them at the behest of the Holy Spirit’s insistent, still small voice—then my disordered attachments clog up the pipes again and I have to do it all over. And it is always painful…

Perhaps the most pernicious bit about those attachments is that they actually keep me from recognizing and receiving the Love of God where it is offered—and in turn, I am inhibited from sharing that Love with others…

Let the Love of God peel your fingers open around whatever it is that is preventing you from receiving it. Let go, receive, and give. Live life with open hands…

– Audrey Assad, ‘Open Hands’

Links:

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑