Sunday, October 14, 2012

Service, the Gift of Self, and Joy (Wherever that went...)

Today I attended our local Lay Apostles prayer meeting, where we prayed the rosary for each other's intentions and discussed the following message:

October 1, 2005


"I have willed a time of great joy for My beloved apostles. Joy is something that the world wishes to take from God's children, but joy is available nonetheless. The world encourages souls to concentrate on comfort and earthly possessions. I ask you to concentrate on service. This is a marked contrast, is it not? Let me explain why concentrating on service brings you joy. If you rise each day and pledge allegiance to God, you will begin that day with more thought of serving than being served. In this way, you look at your day as an opportunity to work for heaven and to work for heaven's children, your brothers and sisters. This perspective sends you into the day as a servant. When the day presents you with the inevitable opportunities to assist or console, or simply to be tolerant of your brothers or sisters, you do not view this as a burden, or an interruption in your entertainment and comfort, but as a request made to you directly from the Throne of your God. And fulfilling a request made to you by your God brings you joy. You serve heaven and we fulfill our part of the agreement by sending you joy. If all of God's children were living this way, there would be great joy on earth and through this joy would come peace. But if even one of God's children makes the commitment to serve as a beloved apostle, there is an increase of joy and an increase in peace. This is because an apostle does not become angry when he or she is inconvenienced. That apostle responds in calm trust when the world presents them with difficulty or even pain. There is no striking out at others. There is no rebelliousness. There is peace. The world is changing and it is changing one soul at a time. Join Me now and make a commitment to peace in your world. I will send it through you, My beloved apostles."
We spent a good deal of time sharing experiences of the joy coming in the midst of suffering, and how it is sometimes so striking that what brings the joy is the realization that some particular blessing is coming straight from the hand of God. We also discussed this point of how service brings joy.

These thoughts struck me hard, and had my eyes flowing with tears. Sometimes it is a blessing to hear others talk about their sufferings, because it puts one's own in perspective. If there has been a comfort I have been seeking, or grieving as it flies away from me, it is that of spiritual consolation. Even the ability to emotionally feel anything except pain. I realize that what God is doing is purging my spirit by removing all sense of joy as a means of purifying my attachments. I do still have a sense of calm, of peace, and of purpose. But it hurts. At times it is downright scary. When this all began, I had a sense that God was teaching me to focus on my daily duty with greater devotion, offering that to Him as true worship, as a true giving of myself through that means. Then I had the sense that He was saying, "Ok, I've shown you what to do, now you show me you doing it." Teaching. Purging. This is a gift. I am aware of it, even though I don't like how it feels.

A few weeks ago the message that kept coming through is that I need to embrace the cross as Jesus' offer of love extended to me. The message that comes through now is that this will not last forever; that God is in control of it, and there is purpose and deeper peace and joy on the other side of it. However, nothing I can do will get me there.

I am struggling, though, with trusting God's good purposes, and with my desire to inflate myself rather than wait for God to fill me. I am failing at it astoundingly at every turn, filling myself that is, so I guess that helps. The quicker all my strength fails me the better, I suppose. I often find myself with almost no emotional reserve for the self-preservation sorts of things I've been trying. What is left is to serve the needs around me, despite sometimes feeling like I just want to hide, curl up in a ball, retreat. And to pray. Even though it feels like my prayer leaves me with greater need to repent when I'm done than when I started.

The only prayer that gives my heart a sense of buoyancy is "Jezu ufam tobje" -- Jesus, I trust in You, the words revealed to St. Faustina with the Divine Mercy. It is only because of and in the mercy of Jesus that I have any hope of standing at all.

No comments: