Tuesday June 21, 2005 9:05 a.m.
I took a walk to attend the morning mass at the nearby parish.
Lord, I lift up to you this day. I came here to listen to you and to myself but I admit that I've had some difficulty opening up. My mind is closed and my heart is blocked. What am I afraid of? What am I hiding from? I have all this time, a great ambience, and all my needs answered. Everything allows me to pray, and yet I am still distracted. Maybe I don't know where to begin. The past and the future flood the present. What is your invitation for me now? What do you want me to take a look at during this time of retreat? I guess I'm not so ok. I don't know why.
I roamed around the small Cenacle Garden. I discovered new things. Little fountains now dot the garden, providing the comforting sound of water. I watched its crystal-clearness trickling down small jars and smooth pebbles. I compared the fountains with one another and chose my favorite for the day, as a focal point of my meditation.
I realized that I had left behind a totally different life and I was trying to do a balancing act to get into the beat of my new life. The sounds of the two metronomes, however, have confused me. Pressures, expectations and deadlines have become familiar. Prayer, peace and joy - these beautiful things take getting used to. I am still me, weak and sinful.
At the same time, I hear a new song in my heart. A song of love - affirming me and telling me how special I am. This love lets me be who I really am, and assures me that I am not alone. The Source of this Love shows me the plans he has laid out for me.
Sing a new song, Ella. A happier song.
Jesus, thank you for inviting me to bask in your love today. Sr. Susay gave me Psalm 23 to pray with, which is precisely what I was reading last night from "Traveling Light: Releasing the Burdens You were Never Meant to Bear" by Max Lucado.
I don't understand your love, Yeshua. I'm used to love that demands - achievement, good behavior, trophies, acclaim. The people around me have also gotten used to this from me. Yet without any pressure to achieve, you tell me that you love me and find me beautiful? I guess I'm still clouded by rejection I got from certain people, which have marked me since I was young. Even though I know that you have great plans for me, Lord, I'm just human. I need to move on.
What do I get out of fulfilling deadlines? I was programmed to meet deadlines. Therefore I am not at peace until I submit - articles, projects, papers, decisions, resolutions, and drafts. I measure success in terms of these. That's why all the honoring and affirmation in the world could not make me happy. I do not rest on my laurels. I do not think that I am good enough. My mind is already on what I have to do for my next project.
So if there is no deadline, I know I should be free and thankful. Instead, part of me feels lost. How would I know if I'm doing well? How would I know if I please others? How do I glorify God? If I sit and wait to be served, am I not being lazy, selfish, stupid and unworthy? Lord, teach me Your kind of love that is so different from my programming.
If I allow myself to “just be”, if I sit still, how could You love me? What would I do to earn or deserve that love? In my head I seem to have an answer. But my heart refuses to cooperate. Teach me to simply rejoice, be glad, be grateful, and be in awe. I don't know Your love!
You asked me, Lord, to walk barefoot on the grass. I looked at your creation. I stared at the blue sky. I allowed the gentle breeze to ruffle my hair and to touch my skin. I appreciated the flowers and the leaves at Your garden. I listened to the chirping of the birds and watched them fly one by one out of their respective hiding places.
As I did all that, I prayed for the grace to be awed by Your immense love for me. How frustrating it must be to love me. You woo me, heal me, take care of me, embrace me, engulf me with Your merciful, forgiving, generous and unconditional love, and yet I don't allow any of these to penetrate my heart. What am I afraid of? Getting hurt – You supplied the answer. Lord, I pray for the grace to accept Your love and to acknowledge that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I have three Scripture reading assignments today. From Ezekiel 34:11-16, Psalm 23, and Luke 12:22-34.
In Ezekiel, I substituted "sheep" with "Ella". So I will seek out My Ella. I imagined that God would personally rescue me from the places to which I would wander again and from the people I would get attached to. He would bring me to my "own land", to my destiny. He would give me food and water. He would make me rest and lie down. He would seek me when I am lost, and He would bring me back, bind up my injuries, and strengthen me. I would love for You to do that, Lord.
I could recite Psalm 23 from memory. It was our doxology during my high school graduation, when I sang with the Senior Choir.
The Promise of Luke 12:22-34 has been a recurring message from me. Do not worry. Jesus said this to His disciples. I am His disciple! I have left behind my trade, like the fishermen in His time, to follow Him. I am of much more value than the grass and the birds! Worry will not add to my life. (Would coke add life? Aged ad! I digress...) This is a call to greater faith from me! I should not keep striving, for it is the world that strives. Instead, I would continue to strive for the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be given me as well. For it is the Father's good pleasure to give it to me.
In response to this great, unconditional and mysterious love, I made several resolutions, which I would not post here. :)