God has been crazy good to me today.
First, I know for a fact that God spoke to me during Confession through the lips of his priest. After listening to the priest’s advice, I prayed my Act of Contrition. The priest immediately told me that God had laid something on his heart and he needed to tell me one last thing. I won’t say what it was, but it is a terrible feeling I’ve been thinking about lately. It’s something I didn’t mention to the priest or to anyone but God, yet here it was, out of nowhere, just like that. Crazy. Confession is real.
Second, Fr. Lefor from the UND Newman Center concelebrated with Fr. Cheny today and gave the homily. It was such a great homily and tied into my confession. It is so amazing the way that God weaves everything together. I felt so encouraged afterward. Everything works for the good of those who love God, even the things we lack in this life.
Lastly, I did something crazy last week: I bought a daily devotional book. I know, it doesn’t sound that crazy but for me it was. I bought a devotional that is very Protestant. I guess I shouldn’t say that, its non-denominational, and many of the quotes are from Catholics and Catholic Saints, as well as from Christians of other sects. It’s just something I haven’t done in a long time, going to a non-Catholic Christian book store and buying a non-Catholic book. Anyways, its actually a great devotional and today’s devotion actually used the word sanctification and used it correctly, that is, it didn’t treat it as being the same as justification. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that the devotion today happened to be all about letting the Lord be Lord of all. It was about giving those dark corners of our hearts that we keep for ourselves away to him. As Christians we have to lay it all on the altar, not pretend to lay it all on the altar (I also like that it uses the ancient image of an altar). We all struggle with giving Jesus Lordship over our entire being, but that is no excuse to back down from the challenge of giving it all to him. I especially liked this quote:
There are places in our hearts that we guard, holding the Holy Spirit at a distance. We like to control the tempo of our discipleship. To the extent that we do this, we base our lives on a false supposition—that we have the right to govern ourselves, even after we’ve supposedly laid our all on the altar.
Chris Tiegreen, the One Year Walk with God Devotional
Not only was I blatantly called out on the own false foundation of my discipleship, God called me out on something else: my condescending attitude towards non-Catholic Christians. This has been one of my greatest struggles. My first thought when I read this was: This is exactly what Protestants do with the Church. They hold their duty to submit to the Church in the dark corners of their hearts. Whether it is fear or pride or whatever, this statement ironically speaks to them.
Bam! Jesus says to me: Be quiet! You too hold so much from me! In time all things will come into submission to me. You give me your all and then, and only then will you be fully able to help others give me their all.
Like a ton of bricks. How many Protestants live holier lives than me? Many. How many Protestants love God more than I do? Many. Eventually they will come into the Church fully, whether in this life or the next. It is my duty to help them, but I must also help myself. What good is it to bring help them bring this part of their hearts to the feet of our Lord if I do not bring all the pieces of my heart to God? What good is it to gain the world, but lose my soul? I need to look inside too. I need to give my all to God.
Thank you Jesus! Thank you for being a crazy God! Thank you for tying all these things together, and showing me that you bring all things into one for your glory and for the good of your Church.