September 4th – XXIII Sunday in Ordinary Time

My Dear Friends,

Who can know God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the LORD intends? (Wisdom 9:13)

This opening question from today’s first reading is a perfect question for us to ponder during this long weekend. Discerning God’s will in our life is the essence of the spiritual life. What does God have planned for us? What path does he want us to take? When we pray “thy will be done” in the Our Father, what exactly is God’s will?

The reason I say these are great questions to pray over during a long weekend is because on this Labor Day, I pray you find some time for rest and some time to spend with our Lord. Not too long ago, I walked into our Adoration Chapel one random weekday evening and was edified by the amount of people who were there kneeling before the Lord in deep prayer. So many things to ask for from the Lord. Supplication is important in prayer, but it should always be preceded by listening to the Lord. What does He have to say to us and how do we respond?

Sometimes we may feel as if God asks the impossible from us. Impossible was not a word in the vocabulary of the saint whose feast falls precisely on Labor Day: Mother Teresa. What is so remarkable about St. Teresa of Calcutta is that when answering her call to serve the poorest of the poor, she at times felt abandoned by God. Yet she persisted. She continued to carry her cross even though she felt that she was carrying it alone. Every day she spent an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament even when she didn’t feel the presence of He who called her. In carrying out her God given mission to reach out to the poor, Mother Teresa showed us what is truly possible when we surrender to God even when we feel abandoned by Him. It’s not Him. It’s us. We’re the ones who can’t perceive His presence at times, and we’re the ones who toss around the word

Mother Teresa gave us a lesson on how to surrender to the Lord. She once said:: “Total surrender consists in giving ourselves completely to God, because God has given Himself to us. If God owes nothing to us and is ready to impart to us no less than Himself, shall we answer with just a fraction of ourselves? I give up my own self and in this way induce God to live for me. Therefore to possess God we must allow him to possess our souls.” In another instance the saint proclaimed: “Let God use you without consulting with you. Let the Lord catch you…Let yourself be caught by Him and then let Him dispose of you utterly.”

So the next time you are about to toss around the word “impossible,” ask yourself if you have totally surrendered to God and his will. Have we sought His counsel as the first reading says. Christ says we cannot be his disciples if we don’t take up our cross and go after him. Mother Teresa left everything to do just that. She carried her cross faithfully, even through the dark night, and that cross broke down doors that were impossible to open. Where is your cross? What is your impossible calling? Surrender yourself completely to God: not just a part of you but your entire self. Let Him catch you, let Him live in you, and let him dispose of you as He wills. It is not impossible, for this tiny nun showed us that this word does not belong in the vocabulary of a Christian.

God bless you all,

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