Friday, January 16, 2009

Crossing the Chasm of Trust

In God alone is my soul at rest;
my help comes from him.
he alone is my rock, my stronghold,
my fortress: I stand firm.

In God is my safety and glory,
the rock of my strength.
Take refuge in God all you people.
Trust him at all times.
Pour out you hearts before him
for God is our refuge.

Do not put trust in oppression,
nor vain hopes on plunder.
Do not set your heart on riches
even when they increase.

For God has said one thing:
only two do I know:
that to God alone belongs power
and to you Lord, love;
and that you repay each man
according to his deeds. Psalm 62

I had the joy and pleasure of visiting Assisi last Spring. Of all the Saints whom I love and admire, I believe that St. Francis modeled his life closer to Christ's than anyone else. God was his refuge, there was nothing in the material world that he was vested in. Trust comes in varying degrees. We all struggle to let go of the doubt that we have stored inside us. We fear that we will lose something if we dare cross the chasm that Christ asks us to cross. Dying to oneself is a risk. Surrendering means giving up that final outpost in the vast desert landscape of our minds. Moving spiritually is giving up more territory each and every day. As the ancient saying goes "every journey begins with but one step" Contrast St. Francis to Adolf Merckle, the German billionaire. The 74 year old Merckle committed suicide a few weeks ago because his financial empire began to show cracks in it. Apparently having to live on less than 9.4 billion dollars was too much to take. How far away was his life from Psalm 62. If only he had received the good news. Don't let all this so called "bad news" about the economy dictate how you feel every day. It is not that important with regards to your salvation. St. Ignatius wrote:

Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.
And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created.
From this it follows that man is to use them as much as they help him on to his end, and ought to rid himself of them so far as they hinder him as to it.
For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things in all that is allowed to the choice of our free will and is not prohibited to it; so that, on our part, we want not health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, long rather than short life, and so in all the rest; desiring and choosing only what is most conducive for us to the end for which we are created.

O Lord, support us all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at last. Amen
(Venerable John Henry Newman)

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