I started out this year with the oneword365 challenge in which I would focus and contemplate on one word for the whole year. The word I chose was “patience” since I always struggled with having patience in my life. Then God laughed and gave me some other words to contemplate during Lent.
I chose “patience” as my word for the year because, as stated before, I struggled with waiting. Whenever I anticipate something, time seems to go by even slower. My patience was tested several times throughout the last three months. Sometimes, it came in the form of people making small talk and other times it came in the form of over a dozen second graders who refused to settle down.
Throughout the last three months, I learned that things always come on God’s time, usually just when you need it the most. It might be something as small as hearing a song that lifts you out of a bad mood or as big as getting a job offer on the same day that your purse got stolen. It also means waiting for the right time to say something important or choosing not to say anything at all. I learned that if I do little things while I’m waiting, it ends up paying off. So as Lent transitions into Easter, I’ll keep on serving the Lord and take life one day at a time.
This song came to mind when I thought about patience. I invite you to listen to it and tell me how God is asking you to be patient:
It started with me finding this book called The Way of Serenity by Fr. Jonathan Morris. The Serenity Prayer has helped me through a lot of restless nights. The first part of the Serenity Prayer is “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change.”
On top of my impatience issues, I also have some control freak tendencies. I hate being interrupted. I hate being rejected. I hate being late. But the past few months have reminded me that there are a lot of things in life that are far beyond my control and the only thing I can control is how I deal with these things. When the internet started fighting over a dress, I chose to watch Firefly. Whenever I faced rejection, I remind myself of those who already accept me. Whenever I felt neglected, I focused my sights on the fact that God’s always watching. Whenever life threw a curve ball, I dug my trenches and made the best of the situation, all the while accepting that God was in control.
BTW: Check out the cast of CW’s The Flash singing the Ballad of Serenity a cappella/gospel style. It’s shiny!
Of course, there’s a time to wait and there’s a time to speak out. Quotes from Taylor Swift’s album introductions come to mind:
FEARLESS is not the absence of fear. It’s not being completely unafraid. To me, FEARLESS is having fears. FEARLESS is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, FEARLESS is living in spite of those things that scare you to death. FEARLESS is falling madly in love again, even though you’ve been hurt before…It’s FEARLESS to have faith that someday things will change. FEARLESS is having the courage to say goodbye to someone who only hurts you, even if you can’t breathe without them. I think it’s FEARLESS to fall for your best friend, even though he’s in love with someone else. And when someone apologizes to you enough times for things they’ll never stop doing, I think it’s FEARLESS to stop believing them. It’s FEARLESS to say “You’re NOT sorry”, and walk away…Letting go is FEARLESS. Then, moving on and being alright…That’sFEARLESS too. But no matter what love throws at you, you have to believe in it. You have to believe in love stories and prince charmings and happily ever after. That’s why I write these songs. Because I think love is FEARLESS
Real life is a funny thing, you know. In real life, saying the right thing at the right moment is beyond crucial. So crucial, in fact, that most of us start to hesitate, for fear of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. But lately what I’ve began to fear more than that is letting the moment pass without saying anything.
I think most of us fear reaching the end of our life, and looking back regretting the moments we didn’t speak up. When we didn’t say ‘I love you’. When we should’ve said ‘I’m sorry’. When we didn’t stand up for ourselves or someone who needed help.
Words can break someone into a million pieces, but they can also put them back together. I hope you use yours for good, because the only words you’ll regret more than the ones left unsaid are the ones you use to intentionally hurt someone.
What you say might be too much for some people. Maybe it will come out all wrong and you’ll stutter and you’ll walk away embarrased, wincing as you play it all back in your head. But I think the words you stop yourself from saying are the ones that will haunt you the longest.
So say it to them. Or say it to yourself in the mirror. Say it in a letter you’ll never send or in a book millions might read someday. I think you deserve to look back on your life without a chorus of resounding voices saying ‘I could’ve, but it’s too late now.’
There is a time for silence. There is a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you’ll know it.
I don’t think you should wait. I think you should speak now
The debate over whether people can change is an interesting one for me to observe because it seems like all I ever do is change. All I ever do is learn from my mistakes so I don’t make the same ones again. Then I make new ones. I know people can change because it happens to me little by little every day. Every day I wake up as someone slightly new. Isn’t it wild and intriguing and beautiful to think that every day we are new?
So it’s only natural that the song I choose for whenever I’m contemplating courage is one of hers. I want to know what it’s like for you when you have courage, when you feel fearless, or a time when you chose to speak out.
It’s hard to believe that I’m 25 years, two months, 1 week, and five days old now. It’s hard to believe that a year ago, I consecrated myself to Jesus through Mary. And that I’ll be renewing that consecration this year.
One of Mary’s many, many titles is “Seat of Wisdom.” (Taken from the Litany of Loreto.) Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and a number of other saints have been teaching me wisdom throughout Lent. But Mary has been teaching me the most about what it means to be wise. I’m no longer the smartest girl in school and the news I hear every day reminds me that there are things that are far beyond my understanding.
But wisdom is different from knowledge. To quote The Way of Serenity:
Wisdom is not really about knowing many things, but rather knowing (discerning) what is important…Have you noticed that wise people are humble people? The know how much they don’t know.
Since today is the feast of the Annunciation, I ask you to contemplate the first Joyful Mystery and ask Mary to share her wisdom with you. Be with Mary as she contemplates the fact that she is going to become the mother of God, that she chose to say “Yes,” and that now, even to this day, many generations call her “blessed.”
Throughout Lent, my dad and I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3PM. I read bits and pieces of the Diary of St. Faustina. I even listened to Fr. Michael Gaitley’s story of how Divine Mercy was part of God’s plan for St. Faustina and for St. John Paul II.
But what comes to my mind when I think of mercy is Psalm 51. I kept seeing parts of it during the readings for Daily Mass and in the Sunday Psalms. It was my constant prayer during my restless nights and whenever I found myself “backsliding.”
Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love;
in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.
Thoroughly wash away my guilt;
and from my sin cleanse me.
For I know my transgressions;
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your eyes
So that you are just in your word,
and without reproach in your judgment.
Behold, I was born in guilt,
in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, you desire true sincerity;
and secretly you teach me wisdom.
Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
You will let me hear gladness and joy;
the bones you have crushed will rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins;
blot out all my iniquities.
A clean heart create for me, God;
renew within me a steadfast spirit.
Do not drive me from before your face,
nor take from me your holy spirit.
Restore to me the gladness of your salvation;
uphold me with a willing spirit.
I will teach the wicked your ways,
that sinners may return to you.
Rescue me from violent bloodshed, God, my saving God,
and my tongue will sing joyfully of your justice.
Lord, you will open my lips;
and my mouth will proclaim your praise.
For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it;
a burnt offering you would not accept.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.
Treat Zion kindly according to your good will;
build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will desire the sacrifices of the just,
burnt offering and whole offerings;
then they will offer up young bulls on your altar.
Danielle Rose has a beautiful musical version of this song from her album “Culture of Life.” I invite you to listen to it and pray it. I also want to know how mercy has been a part of your life.
So those are the words I have gathered so far. What words have you been drawn to during this Lenten season?