The Sermon on the Mount is one of those Gospels that I tend to gloss over, because of familiarity and because let’s admit it – it’s kind of hard to understand. It sounds very nice, as well as very difficult, because some things there are not the things you’d want for yourself. Poor, mourning, persecuted. I mean, really.
It’s been a bit of a struggle at work lately, not because work is too hard or I have too many things to do. It’s just these questions of what happens next, the resistance of doing some things you were asked to do, and really, the general uncertainty if what you’re doing for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week is even worth it. I can already imagine my dad telling me, “Everyday is a Friday!”, which he started quoting to me back when I was super stressed in my previous role. Maybe it’s a millennial thing to keep on asking.
Yesterday, out of desperation and an attempt to keep my life in order after what felt like a terribly unproductive day, I heard God tell me: Consecrate your day to me, my daughter. I’m not a stranger to consecration, but I neglected to think of that: consecrating your day to Jesus. More so, consecrating your day to Jesus, through Mary.
So I prayed yesterday, and told Jesus I’ll consecrate the day to Him. And yesterday was a way better day for me, and I went home feeling happier and productive that I was able to do a lot of things. Nothing like checking off items from your to-do list, right?
I prayed the same prayer today, but at the back of my mind, I was a little doubtful. I mean, just because I consecrated the day to God doesn’t mean everything will be fine and dandy, right? I could have another terrible unproductive day.
Over breakfast, I was reading Fr. James Martin, SJ’s The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, and I was already at the chapter about poverty. Lately, I’ve been thinking that sometimes you pause and read certain parts of a book at a certain time because you’re meant to read it at that time. (Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic had that effect on me, that’s why I haven’t finished reading it yet). As I was reading, I had this feeling that there was something in the next pages that was going to speak to me.
And they brought me back to the Sermon on the Mount. At least the part of it.
Poverty of spirit means accepting that we are powerless to change certain aspects of out lives. “We are all members of a species that is not sufficient unto itself,” [Metz] writes. “We are all creatures plagued by unending doubts and restless, unsatisfied hearts.”
Well what do you know. As I read the next pages, I felt the Holy Spirit tell me: Pay attention. And I did. I forgot that I was eating as I read the next pages, and reread them again, I can’t help but laugh, and maybe tear up a little bit at the affirmation that I was heard, and that I wasn’t really as lost as I thought I was.
Poverty of spirit does not take away joy in life. Quite the contrary. It is the gateway to joy, because it enables us to surrender to ultimate reliance on God, which leads to freedom. “Paradoxically, then, we are truly rich,” writes Fleming, “with an identity that only God can give and no one can take from us.
Reliance on God may sound like a recipe for laziness, as if you needed to do nothing on hour own. But the reality is the opposite. It is a practical stance that reminds you that you can’t do everything. Many things are not within your power to change. Some things, outside of hour control, need to be left to God. Spiritual poverty frees you from the despair that comes when you believe that you can rely only on your own efforts.
Maybe consecrating your day to Jesus through Mary isn’t about having great days. Maybe it’s just about learning how to be poor in spirit, so you can learn how to rely on God more and be free from despair.
And I could really use more of that.
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I meant to blog more the past few weeks, and I had drafts of posts here for Valentine’s Day and Leap Day and thoughts on turning 30 (7 days!!!), but a lot of it remain drafts because I can’t seem to find the words or the point. It’s quite possible that I’m over thinking things, so yeah. But in case the few of you who are still reading this is still reading, I’m still here! (I also opened my author site, so yay.)
On that note, I do plan to write something on my birthday. I’m thinking of what to write that day, to make it a little different, and to make this personal blogging thing a little exciting again. I found that ever since my life has calmed down, it’s like the words stopped coming, too, and I kind of don’t want that. Words are friends.
Maybe you (one of the few readers of this blog, heh!) can help? Is there any specific thing/topic/answer to a question that you want to read here? I’m far from a life expert, but I figured there must be some things I know that could help someone out there now that I’m almost 30. :D