Happy belated Feast of the Fourteen Holy Helpers! I had hoped to make a post yesterday in their honor, but I’ve been (happily) very busy, busy with blessings as my mom would say, between a great and rather rare visit with extended family, First Saturday choir practice after Mass offered by a wonderful FSSP priest (we’ve been delighted to have him around our parish the past few weeks), finally getting to welcome home (at least for a short time) one of my best friends (now a Marine!) from Parris Island, having the nearly-undivided attention of one of the most wonderful married couples I know for an evening (a balm for me!), getting to see Br. Simeon and his wonderful community and attend the solemn profession of three of his fellow Benedictine monks (amazing!)…and yesterday, a wonderful morning of being a mother’s helper and an evening of celebrating the aforementioned Marine with lots of friends. It was a wonderful day; no time for blogging, though…so here I am now!
How simply and sweetly our heavenly Father has been reminding me lately of His providence, which enfolds the whole universe and encompasses all of time but is never indifferent to or oblivious of my tiny self, my tiny life and all its tiny needs and problems.
On a small scale, He knows that as much as I love my home, I have a real need to get out and do every so often in order to ward off cabin fever and keep my phlegmatic tendency towards inertia from making my life stagnant. I need to be a little more adventurous for the sake of my own sanity, to not be so afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone or even embarrassing myself a bit. And what delightful opportunities He’s provided for me, as well as supplying me with the drive to actually make spontaneous, last-minute decisions against my first impulse of I’d really rather stay home! or But I wasn’t mentally prepared to do this today! or Not another thing to do! And He’s always strewing little surprises, graces, joys, along my path “there and back again”, that I would simply have missed if I’d refused to stand up, put on my shoes, and go out the door.
Maybe this struggle is part of growing up for everybody, maybe it’s a temperamental thing, or maybe it’s just me. But I’m very grateful that our ever-patient Lord, in His loving care and knowledge of me, is helping me work through it!
And then there are the bigger-scale needs and concerns, like my increasing longing and loneliness for my own Prince Albert (yes, I have never been so completely swept away by a love story as I was watching The Young Victoria for the first time a few nights ago. I was literally crying when he proposed…we skipped over a few parts, just so you know, but overall what I saw of the movie, especially of Prince Albert, has redefined what I’m pestering St. Raphael for!)
Sometimes it really seems like he’ll just never turn up, time won’t go by fast enough, there must be something I ought to be doing differently, my dreams will never come true, it’s not worth hoping day after day that today might be the day. . . and so on so forth. The great struggle for patience, for peace, for trust, for contentment in the present…I get the feeling this will be the struggle of my whole life. When you throw in the emotions and elements of the life of a nineteen-year-old young woman, it can be very difficult to distinguish what exactly you’re going through, going towards, and going against. What is surrender, and what is prudent action? What is pure longing, and what is patience? What is natural anxiety and what is trust? There tend to be (at least for me) plenty of tears, lonely moments in crowds, anxieties, and a general wistfulness about life right now.
After receiving the grace of making a prayer of surrender and patience at Mass on Sunday morning…and later having a good emotional breakdown on my parents and sister because there was just so much inside I needed to let out (yep, the melancholic life!)…and a lot of busyness following to keep me happy, it came time for night prayers a couple nights ago, and I finally came to a place of making another thrust at a true act of patience. Lord, I am choosing to be patient and embrace Thy timing for my vocation. This is not my life, it is Thine. I know it is all under Thy control. Thy will be done in me, in Thy time. Something along those lines, and I went to bed with a peaceful heart.
The day before yesterday, I watched the recording of Mass from Warrington on LiveMass; it was the feast of St. Cajetan. (Get ready for a God thing!)
So there are, in my missal at least, a million different pages to mark for his Mass propers (okay, it could have been worse…) and it just so happened that the Gospel was one of them, all the way over in the post-Pentecost Sundays (number fourteen, to be exact).
“Behold the birds of the air; for they neither sow nor do they reap, nor gather into barns, and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are you not of much more value than they? And which of you, by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit? And for raiment what are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they labor not, neither do they spin: but I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. Now if God so clothe the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more you, O ye of little faith! Be not solicitous therefore saying: What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? for after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the Kingdom of God, and His justice; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
How gentle He is! How loving! Let me provide for you, little bird! Be not solicitous for your life, for I have care of you! Let me raise and beautify you, little lily! Be not solicitous, for I have created you and am helping you to grow at just the right pace! O child of little faith! Be not anxious for your needs as the heathens! Your Father knoweth that you need them. Seek ye Him, and all shall be added to you!
Be not solicitous. He knoweth, and all shall be added to you.
As I was looking back over the Gospel again in the making of this post, I noticed that the Offertory beneath it just happened to be:
“The Angel of the Lord shall encamp round about them that fear Him,
and shall deliver them: O taste and see that the Lord is sweet!”
Okay, dear St. Raphael…I think I can hear you! I know I also owe this peace to the Holy Helpers, one of the many things I asked them for in my novena leading up to yesterday. I think our Lord has shared the care of this little bird with a lot of Helpers up there! And am I ever grateful!
A blessed vigil of St. Lawrence and feast of St. Romanus to you!
“Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord our God, that as we in this life are gladdened by the festival which we keep in memory of blessed Lawrence Thy Martyr, so we may enjoy his presence forever. Through our Lord.”
In our Loving Lady,