For many years I felt called to veil at Mass. I ignored that calling for a long, long time. After all, no one else in my parish veiled and I already stuck out like a sore thumb because of how big our family is and I didn’t need to draw any more attention to myself. Still God beckoned me. I dug my heels in and said no.
God is patient. He is willing to wait for us to see how his Will is what is best in our lives. And while he is patient, he is also persistent. He waited and kept calling me to do what he knew was best. To be honest, I simply didn’t want to change. I didn’t want to step out into the unknown, all alone, to do something so radically different than anyone I knew. But God kept calling and eventually when I listened and obeyed, he turned my life completely upside down.
Chapter 23: Upside Down
This chapter is all about change, how we resist it, and how radically different our lives become once we stop resisting and trust God. Matthew Kelly highlighted many different people in the Bible whose lives Jesus transformed. What stuck out to me about this chapter was that there were people who allowed Christ to change them and then others who said that change was just too difficult and they walked away from Christ. How often do we do the same?
Following Christ can be difficult. It is very counter-cultural to give up what society tells us is important and to listen to what God wants us to do. We can face ridicule, judgment, and perhaps even lose friends. It’s amazing to think of the early Christians and the courage it took to accept a teaching so radical and different and to be willing to lay down their lives for their newfound faith. When I think of all they went through, I wonder why it was so difficult for me to simply step out in faith to wear a veil at Mass. What God was calling me to do was so much easier than what the first Christians faced!
Matthew Kelly asks us to think about which transformation story we find most inspiring. While he mentioned many wonderful stories he never mentioned Mary Magdalen. I think I find her story so beautiful because it reminds us that no matter our sins Christ sees our inner beauty even when no one else does. It is also a reminder that no matter what sins we have committed, God will forgive us and we can become extremely close to our Savior just as Mary Magdalen did. She lived for him and I want to live for him as well.
Point to Ponder: Be open.
There are many ways in which I am very open to God’s will in my life. One only needs to look at my family to see that we have opened our hearts and our home to God’s blessings. We are open to his life. But there are other ways that I think I close myself off from God. I look at my call to veil. How many times did I tell God no? I laugh thinking about it now because it was so absurd that I would have the gall to stomp my feet like a petulant child and bury my head while screaming, “NO!” But that’s what I did. I pitched a fit and then went over and over all the reasons it would be a bad idea, and then in the end when I united my will to his, well, my prayer life changed dramatically and how I viewed the Mass changed dramatically. I grew closer to him in a way I never would have imagined. It was life-changing. Being open to God’s will draws us closer to him.
Verse to Live: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
We cannot do this on our own. We need Christ to help us every step of the way. Our hearts must be aligned to his and we must unite our wills to his as well. When God turns our lives upside down he calls us to empty our hearts and allow him to fill them with his love and spirit. That seems like it should be so easy to do and yet we struggle with it. When our hearts are open it is easier for Christ to reside within us. We have to allow God to cleanse us and to completely empty us of ourselves for it is only then that we can be filled with his spirit and love.
Question to Consider: What’s preventing you from making yourself available to God?
I think that for me the worry of further judgment always makes me step back a bit and wonder if I should dive even deeper into my faith. I know many view me already as that “Crazy Catholic Woman” or a “Jesus Freak”. It’s hard to be different from those around me. It’s hard to constantly be judged for the love I have for Christ. I think my own selfishness of not wanting people to look at me any differently than they already do is what holds me back some.
Your Turn: Has there ever been a time when you felt like God was calling you outside of your comfort zone? What was your response? What would happen if you emptied your heart of all your selfishness and simply lived for God?
Prayer: Jesus, I make myself 100 percent available to you today.
Help me to put aside the worries and fears I have about opening my heart to you and show me how you can radically change my life.