The ARM of St. Michael
By faith, hope and love, the journey to freedom in Christ is a transformation. Indeed, dare it be imagined with bold faith, a complete restoration, a reward. We are learning how it happens through three graces: desire for freedom's gift, persistence in asking for freedom's gift, and patience to receive freedom's gift.
Every blessed thing that comes and will come as part of healing is already contained in that one only seed, Baptism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls baptism a bath of water in which the "imperishable seed" of the Word of God produces its life-giving effects. By this eternal seed living within us, we receive a lifetime of access to divine power, God's hand of mercy; grace.
Baptism is the sacrament of faith, which opens up a world of everything being possible in God. If prayer is a systematic anticipation of what can be, we inch higher up the mountain of new life with every patient-persistent-ardent prayer. As new vistas appear yet others never even imagined before will also follow into view. New possibilities of what can be asked for emerge, because of seeing ever more clearly our poverty and His Capability.
This is the glory of knowing God, the ever-rewarding climb, proffering delight and wonder at the building theme of renewal, seeing with each small step, just what awaits us next in our resurrection journey. For an addict it is always about the miracle of eventual, actual deliverance.
Do we believe it is possible? Do we believe He can do it?
An old saying: "The one who does not know where he is going, goes the farthest". This presupposes open-ended expectation; in one word - hope, which always implies a willingness to wait and even to be surprised.Do we have hope?
In praying, it is always tempting to demand and monitor results. Some are lost on the way because of the impatience to judge humanly, prematurely that the medicine "isn't working". We need calm, and not be afraid.
The possibility of being calm can seem far away and impossible at times. The help is ever itself waiting for us: turning to Him, resting in God, surrendering to His perfect calendar of mercy. My hope is to sit quietly with the sacrament, the Lord Himself freshly inside, who even while I remain still, is a relentless restorer. Cell by cell, blemish by blemish, memory by memory, He removes the weak structural members and the dinge and molded dust lain over bones by sin. Our job is to be still, conscious of His presence and letting Him work the mystery of divine healing.
What then are some good ways to 'wait', or to 'sing for our freedom'?
Love:spontaneous acts of thoughtfulness and generosity; there are so many ways to be kind.
Frequent reception of Jesus in the sacraments.
Sitting calmly for 15 minutes every day resting in the Lord's silent trusting presence.
Even better, sitting silently in thanksgiving adoration with Jesus.
Cultivating a constant state of openness to all that remains in the journey of healing.
Living in the Eternal Now of today, the only true task before us, as when our Lord instructed:
"Give us this day our daily bread", leaving tomorrow's unknowns for tomorrow.
Having, and if not, asking for, a spirit of prayer. Prayer itself is waiting.
A spirit of self-denial, which is also a waiting, to stop checking the clock.
"But where does patience come from?" Grace. A Christian life is a life in the kingdom of grace. Grace picks up where human frailties go no further. The grace of prayer is a bird lifting off where the paving ends.
"But where does grace come from?" From Jesus, Who is Grace. He is with us in the powerful substance of His risen and glorified, death-conquering body - the Holy Communion bread of Heaven. Receive the Lamb's body and blood: receive grace. He is the power let into us. If we cannot avail ourselves of the sacrament, receive Him spiritually by prayer, every 15 minutes if needed: Lord Jesus You knock at the door of my heart, come and fill me with your spiritual communion, come possess me and fill me with Yourself. Cast out all unholy thought and unholy desire.
Impatience is a frailty, therefore we beg for patience from the One Who grants all things. Sometimes, perhaps most of the time for most of us, recovery has to take time and distance so that we will see, even have colorfully illustrated for us, our great overriding need for humility. And humility enters, as dimensions and magnitudes of healing graciously appear, to happily bewilder us into the deep reality of our woundedness and a justly enlarged concept of God.
He listens perpetually. He hears us and comes spiritually, swiftly to the humble one, the sincere one, the impoverished one. He does not fail the child who calls out. A proud, impatient, petulant adult will not be heard. Be little and He will make us great. Do we pray to Him?
"All creatures have their tyrants. There is sensuality, an octopus always resurfacing to pull people to the depths. There is the devil, a medusa that holds people with his gaze to hypnotize God's creatures and destroy them. Who can one ask for help against these enemies? God: 'Give my spirit firmness to disdain him and strength to topple him.'
'On my own,' the faithful soul says, 'I am nothing. By myself I can do nothing. Because I love You, I would like to please You and overcome. But I am weak. Weak in purpose, weak in the strength to fight. But if you help me, Lord, I shall be able to withstand and overcome.
Can God refuse his help to a child who asks for his help? No. He places Himself at your side, and precisely because you are weak, but faithful, precisely because you are nothing, but admit you are, He infuses firmness and strength into you. He transfuses Himself into you. What are you afraid of if God is with you?
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint."
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. James 5:7-8
By your endurance you will gain your lives. Luke 21:19
Dear God of all power, maker and giver of all gifts, help us to see that humility and patience will make the journey into freedom the shortest, smoothest and most assured. Fill us with desire for freedom, a tenacity to pray, strength to endure all healing that we need, and the patience to see us through our just labors and waiting, to the arrival of your glorious gift; unthinkable, humanly impossible - complete freedom, in Your Only Son. In the Name of Jesus Christ we beg. Amen.