Don’t Think So Hard

Daily ReadingsWednesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Sir 4:11-19 / Mk 9:38-40

For whoever is not against us is for us. [Mk 9:40]

This is quite the extraordinary statement in light of my recent musings about the richness of my faith and whether I’m my own worst enemy in that regard. In this passage, Jesus is clearly saying that God’s healing is open to all, even those who may not quite get faith and belief exactly right.

I’m reminded of my grandmother’s advice one time, when I mentioned that I hadn’t had the emotional strength to go to Confession even though I knew I needed to. “Take the Eucharist anyway,” she told me. “You have the right intent, and it’ll give you the strength you need to go next time. That’s part of what it does.” She was right, and I was able to go the following week.

I’ve thought about that exchange quite a bit lately, given what happened the last time I went to Confession. I’m still barely able to even think about trying again right now. But, I think, the very fact that I want to develop my spiritual strength enough to manage it is telling; so is the fact that I didn’t even consider walking away from Mass, Adoration or the Eucharist — even after incidents that suggest West and I may benefit from switching to our geographical parish.

Perhaps, today, God is trying to tell me not to try so hard, because I’m on the right track for figuring it all out.

I had a couple of insights last night: first, that I might want to consider asking him for what I need instead of assuming that not getting it means he doesn’t want me to have it. Second, that my identity as a utility character in his narrative may mean that I’m not personally important, but it doesn’t mean that what I do doesn’t have an impact on the overall plot. That’s generally the function of utility characters, after all.

Working through and unpacking those two insights may be about where I need to be right now; and today’s echo verse may very well be telling me that it’s not as if I’m actively fighting God. I’m just trying to figure it out, and sometimes that takes some time and patience. It doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it, though.

(And I did ask God for something yesterday; something specific. I imagine I’ll hear his answer fairly soon.)

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