Not That Song. No!

Today’s Readings:

  • Isaiah 40:25-41
  • Matthew 11:28-30

In the Douay, RSV, or in the NABRE with other Mass Texts

It is he that giveth strength to the weary, and increaseth force and might to them that are not.
Isaiah 40:29

There came this moment in my daily grind where I said, “yeah, I’m not doing this any more.” I was partying hard, and working full time. I was also going to college and balancing a relationship on top of that. There was a lot of other stuff going on in my life: a discernment process, financial struggles, my cat was dying. I was pretty pleased to be holding it all together. But, you know: I wasn’t getting anywhere.

Another time, Job, Church and Chastity all in balance, now, and still, not getting anywhere.

Another time: monastic life spinning out of balance, becoming a really annoying struggle of “Gosh I hope I don’t ever have to do that again.” Followed by “Gosh I should go to confession” and then “Gosh this isn’t my fault”… it’s a terrible cycle that totally plays one out, emotionally and physically, and yet one never gets anywhere.

Before I get to the punch line, I admit: there will be more times like the above. Because it’s a lesson I have not learned even now.

But all of these times ended when I prayed. I don’t mean when I said “O God, help me here” although that sort of praying played a part. I mean, when I doubled down, cut a bunch of stupid time wasters out of my life, cleared swaths of time for God and said, “Here. I’m going to add the following things to my life: this weekly church service, that 20 minute devotion daily, this other thing before bed, which means no TV after 7PM.

Suddenly there was more time in my life than I knew what to do with. I can’t explain it without falling into a sort of prosperity Gospel idea, but when something is important we make time for it. And when God is the thing: he makes time for us and when we let him, it sorts out the other stuff.

Yes I know, no one raises kids like I raise my hypothetical ones. And nothing makes for financial obligations like a family. I don’t have an answer for you except I keep seeing it work. It may be that I’m just a lazy fool who, without kids, debt, or property, doesn’t have much to worry about anyway. Or it may be that because of all that I’m just a hat trick, and God would love to resolve your actually-complex time-sink situations too. If I’m a lazy fool, imagine how much someone with actual labor could benefit from “Come to me all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you.”

My friend and Sunday School teacher, Jeanette, was raising three kids and a husband. She even let me live with her one spring when my parents were moving and I wanted to finish out the school year. What I remember about her is, as she kept house, fed her family, and let me listen to music on the headphones: her prayer life. Her secret was her sewing room. It was tiny – about 3 x 4 feet. It was essentially a closet with a window. Her husband had added a built-in table/desk, and there was a chair. It was warm and sunny. She would go into the room, and shut the door and do her business. The whole family knew not to bother her for that time. And she grew, she raised up her family and friends in prayer, and she had time.

If you give God time, he gives it to you.

To be honest: I know the world does, in fact, fall apart, if I don’t hold on to it very well. What I’ve come to realize is, I was not supposed to be holding it together in the first place. Put your hope on Jesus and do not be distracted by the world, the flesh, or the devil. They that hope in the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall take wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Author: Huw Raphael

A Dominican Tertiary living in San Francisco, CA. He is almost 59. He feeds the homeless as a parochial almoner and is studying to be a Roman Catholic Deacon. He is learning modern Israeli Hebrew and enjoys cooking, keto, cats, long urban hikes, and SF Beer Week.

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