I’ve been waking up in the early morning sometimes, unable to go back to sleep. So I might pray a little bit, write down some thoughts. This Monday, I made it out of bed for 6:30 a.m. Mass at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Though I can’t remember much (being sleep-deprived), Father John Palmer’s words struck me: “We should love God whether or not He answers our prayers the way we want Him to.”
The more I learn about God, the more in awe I am… it’s a miracle that this awestruck wonder doesn’t simply paralyze me… like a deer in headlights, you know? How could I ever repay God’s great love and mercy? It’s impossible. But I can give Him what I have, in proportion to my created nature. I can give Him my trust, my heart, my life, my will. I can forgive others, the way He’s forgiven me.
I’ve gone through two major periods of intense spiritual growth, and they were all associated with silent prayer, surrender, and suffering. These events were more beneficial to me than any academic or intellectual pursuit:
- When I first heard about the apparitions and prophecies of Our Lady of Fátima as a child,
- When I became physically and mentally incapacitated from mercury / lead poisoning.
You might think, isn’t that cruel and traumatic? As if God is playing games with us? But I feel God tailored my conversion experiences just for me—He knew how I could grow from each cross. My job was merely to be open and responsive to the corresponding graces. The suffering of Christians and of Christ Himself is proof that it’s much more than a game. It’s a labor of faith, hope, and love (the three theological virtues) for our salvation. Grace is not passive; it’s very much active in making us images of our Lord and Savior.
I used to prioritize romantic love, and through those strong feelings, understood the power of love to change a person. My first major crush was the smartest girl in the class; the second was someone who had a sensitive, cheerful heart. I fell hard for them and wanted to be a better person. Likewise, with God, He is everything that’s ever made me good. To fall in love with God is the highest category—it’s to go directly to the Source of Love… of Beauty, Truth, Goodness—where it then becomes empty and foolish to put anything else before Him.
Maybe that Monday that I woke up at 4:30 a.m., God was calling me to receive Him in Holy Communion… thankfully, the love is reciprocal, but His desire is the igniting fire, taking me to greater heights. I’m still selfish, lazy, and afraid… wanting to be in control… but the pride and ingratitude are wearing down like sharp rocks at the beach being smoothed into sand.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before Him. In love He destined us for adoption to Himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of His will, for the praise of the glory of His grace that He granted us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6)