By FATHER JOHN CATOIR, Commentary | Published July 17, 2008
The secret of Christian spirituality is found in one’s ability to believe in God’s goodness, responding to it with trust. Trust is a gift, and God is known to be most generous with his sacred gifts in times of turmoil.
Attaining the gift of trust is highly possible for the ordinary person. The theological foundation of Christian happiness is rooted in God’s love. It follows that we prosper when we accept God’s love and live joyfully in spite of the dangers that befall us.
The challenge of trusting the Lord is ongoing. When we are caught up in turmoil, it is especially important to trust in God’s love. However, to make progress, one has to learn to shed needless fear and worry. Fortunately, with God all things are possible. He will help us to shed our fears.
The opening declaration of the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells the story of creation: “In a plan of sheer goodness, God freely created us to help us to share in his joy.”
We are called to aim higher!
God sent his only begotten Son to teach us wisdom, and to guide us through the dark times of this world. In today’s world of floods, hurricanes, global warming and threats of war, we need a strong faith to keep our bearings. God knows our pain, and he offers supernatural gifts to comfort us. His grace is available to help each one of us, moment by moment.
Keep in mind that we are all being tested. Some who suffer reversals will become angry with God. When bad times befall them they seem to have no courage. Others, however, trust God more ardently when they are in troubled waters. To the first group he will say with love, “Oh you of little faith,” but to those who trust his love, he will say, “Blessed are you for you have believed without seeing.”
When the angel Gabriel came to Mary his first words were: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with the Lord” (Lk 1:30). Jesus said the same thing later in his public ministry: “Do not be afraid; just have faith” (Mk 5:36).
Don’t let your fears run away with you. Fear is the enemy of joy. When Jesus said, “Do not be afraid,” he meant it. He challenges us to practice the virtue of trust. Blind trust is the love answer. Practically speaking, it means that you try to leave the past to God’s mercy; in other words, you refuse to let the past drag you down. It also means not being afraid of the future. Stop fearing the worst.
The ideal would be to try to live in the present moment. If you are ever going to experience joy it will have to be in the present. Joy only exists in the now of time.
Mary lived this spiritual truth from the very beginning. In her beautiful prayer, the Magnificat, she said, “My spirit rejoices in God my savior.” Her superior spirituality came about because of her trust in God’s love.
All of us would do well to imitate Mary’s great faith, hope and charity. With a childlike spirit she simply reduced it all to an attitude of trust.