Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

The Hound of Heaven

Francis Thompson's poem "The Hound of Heaven" came to my mind and got me thinking.

Last night at my prayer group, a thought came back to me. It had first come to me while I was on retreat at the end of July. I think I need to focus less on doing stuff for God (as if He needed me!) and more on letting Him do stuff for me. That sounds heretical, even blasphemous to our Pelagian, go-getter culture, I am sure. I sounds vaguely backwards to me, too, I must admit. But I think I am good footing here. Jesus said of Himself, "For the Son of Man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many," (Mk 10:45; Mt 20:28). I cannot light a single star in the sky for God, but He can give me divine life, self-control, peace of mind, gentleness toward others, love of virtue, strength of conviction and character, and all the other things that I lack, or that are at best fleeting for me.

That I go to Mass, for instance, is not pleasing to God in the sense of making Him happy. He's in heaven. Maybe He IS heaven, if Heaven is union with Him. If He's not happy (and the Catechism teaches us that He is perfectly so) then what can someone as little as I do to make someone as BIG as Him any happier? Rather, I go to Mass because is it good for me. I do not mean it in a relativist way, as if Mass were good for me, but not for someone else. I do not mean this in a self-centered way. The point of Mass is not to make me happy (although it sometimes does), and I shouldn't stop going if it fails to do so. The point of Mass is to worship God. But I am the sort of creature designed by the Creator to worship Him in a particular way, and will never be fully satisfied with a life oriented in any other direction. So I go to Mass because He commands it, because He made me for it, because He made it for me, and because I need it.

I guess what I am getting at in my own rambling way is that I cannot spend my life trying to please others; doing good to/for others is a very different thing than merely pleasing them. With God, this distinction is even more important. To be perfectly pleasing to God, I'd have to be perfect. Happily, He knows better, even if I do not. It's hard enough to really mean, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done," let alone to do it myself. While I am still a sinner on this earth, it is probably much better to let Him do it in me, rather than try to do it for Him. I have stopped trying to pile Holy Hour upon Holy Hour and rosary upon rosary. Now, it is time to start asking Him to lead me deeper into prayer, in His own way, and in His own time. "Give us this day our daily bread," (Mt 6:11) and "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Mt 6:26). It is telling that the response of Mary to the angel was not, "I will do everything that God says," but rather, "Let it be to me according to your word," (Lk 1:38).

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