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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Be Not Anxious: How Much Time Do We Spend Worrying?

Be Not Anxious:  How Much Time Do We Spend Worrying?
By:  Eric Gajewski
Phil 4:6-7 Be nothing solicitous; but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. [7] And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

True or False.  If we remain in a state of grace God is with us?  This is an easy answer for any Catholic but why doesn’t it “feel like that” sometimes?  Why must God seemingly “hide” Himself in our most difficult times?  This is a question we ask on the nature level but Scripture on the supernatural level answers.  As Christians when we are grafted into His Body we must understand that the Cross is the only way.  It is not a potential path it is the only path.  Afflictions help mold us into the Christians we ought be yet so many will never become the Saints God has desired for them because self speaks loudly in their lives.  God is with us always in a state of grace.  Yes, even in the darkest of times.  We all can read Scripture and the lives of the Saints but the Cross is experiential.  There are no sideline spectators in the interior life.  Christ suffered therefore we must suffer likewise.  He showed us the path and the way and yet so FEW choose this path.  The other day I reflected upon how much time I lost personally in the past due to worrying and/or anxiety.  I wonder if others have thought the same.  Let me discuss further and then close with some Scripture for you to mediate upon (even print out) especially for those days which seem as though nothing goes right.

If the “self” is alive we get emotional while carrying the Cross.  We have a way.  We try to dictate to God this way but He knows better.  God is interested in your salvation.  In human nature we try to keep things on the natural level when God is trying to take you to the supernatural.  Did not the Saints exclaim that the Cross is our only glory?  Did not Padre Pio say it is not I who suffer but HE who suffers within me?  If we do not unify our suffering with the Cross it can be devastatingly lonely.  Pain typically means that something is alive and our bodies are trying to “ward” off something alien.  When God gives us the pain of the Cross it is meant to COMPLETELY drive out the self from us.  Often times we experience a pain that is associated with the self still being alive.  Thus, we get all emotional because our hearts are not as ONE with His.  Why me O’ Lord we cry out and yet do you not realize that God is preparing you for His power?  Love upholds the Body and love restores the mind.  It is Christ Who is our Health and we had better realize this as we head into the tribulation.

Cant ADD time unto your life by worrying.  So why do it?  Yes God may call you into the “dark” but it is only that you might come out of it a better Christian by doing so.  God is not cruel.  We must keep this in mind.  He knows we need our Cross to mold us in the virtues especially humility and patience but in the end we must become the Fire and Light Himself.  We must expand in Selfless Love and have every venial sin removed from our souls in order for us to see Him face to face.  We often he Catholics saying “get your purgatory done here on earth” but at the slightest pain we run away from the opportunity.  Don’t worry God has a greater Cross for you to carry if you will not embrace the lighter ones.  He does this in Love so that you can completely forget about yourself and only think about God and neighbor.  We cant add any time unto our lives worrying about this or that.  This is why we must have the wings of Faith and Hope as an eagle.  We must uproot all those anxious thoughts and replace them with thoughts reinforcing how God has never failed us (because He hasn’t ever failed us).  If we thought about God all day how could anxious thoughts ever squeeze into our minds to begin with and seize us?  Eagles fly high in the skies carefree without worry because they are detached and have Faith.  They already know the end even if they don’t know what road God will send them down.  It is true God will allow mental afflictions (as he did with the Saints) but it was only so that they would be wholly loosened from the self.

God commands us not to worry.  It is sin if think God will abandon us or not help us.  Even Jesus got upset at the Apostles when they were all caught up in a frenzy when the Storm shook the ship.  Where is your Faith He said to Peter when He told him to walk on the water?  Jesus hasn’t asked you to walk on water and yet in the simplest things you do not trust.  This means you cling to self still and your will is still alive.  We must wake up each day as a clean sheet of paper and say “OK Lord here I am to write upon”.  The problem is a good number wake up each day having already mapped out the day according to their will that if it doesn’t go “their way” then they result in unstable emotions.  If you die tomorrow be ready.  If it is 50 years from now be likewise ready what does it matter WHEN you die so long as you die in JESUS.  There will be plenty of opportunities forthcoming in the tribulation for you to carry your Cross and expand in Selfless Love therefore be patient with yourself.  The interior way is made for children who take baby steps.  It is not meant for the Usain Bolts of the world trying to get from point A to point B in 4 seconds.  Yet this is what we would like because it is human nature to run from the Cross.  Although, it is good to have a support system around you remember it is just you and Jesus at the end of the day.

How much time have I wasted worrying?  We all have wasted too much time.  Therefore, let us all make that commitment to Christ to become a more prayerful people.  Let us ask for that initial grace of even wanting a Cross at all.  Remember love suffers.  Here is a short meditation I left on social media that I hope you find beneficial.  We must remember that it was Christ who carried the Cross and not the Cross which carried Christ. Love carries us through our afflictions and trials and where there is a Cross there is GREATER Love. Your pain is not beyond Love. No, rather it is Love which causes you to suffer for Love suffers. Love is supernatural the cross is natural. He who is Love suffered the most thus what do you expect? If you seek to Love then seek the Cross for to Love is to suffer. Do not think naturally in your afflictions but rather unify your heart with His Sacred Heart and then as an eagle you will see through Charity's eyes....”  We could have spent that time glorifying God or helping out our neighbor.  St. Theresa of Avila recommends to those going through harsh afflictions for them to get out and frequently do works of mercy.  This is because God is literally trying to shake that self out of you.  He is trying to tell you directly, forget about yourself and focus on me and others”.  It is not about “I” but Him.  They say statistically we will sleep away about ¼ of our life or something close.  Let us not lose any more time by spending it in doubt, worry or anxiety. 

Jesus or the water?  Which is your focus?  Peter was commanded by Christ to walk out on the water to Him and how did Peter nearly drown?  Peter fell once he began to focus in on the water and lost sight of Christ.  Anxiety occurs when you look at the water rather than keeping all your focus in on Christ.  We doubt when our eyes drop from the Cross.  We are called in Faith to keep our eyes fixated upon Jesus.  For Wisdom sayeth, “Where you think the end of the line is, in actuality, is the beginning of the rope”.  God has endured for us and thus Love sustains us.

Press play and listen as you meditate

As I mentioned in the beginning of this article here are some reminders from Scripture that we can meditate upon when those moments of anxiety arise.  I also encourage you to make a list of a dozen or so times the Lord “pulled through for you” when you thought it wasn’t possible.  Does He not make the way?  Replace those anxious thoughts with thoughts reinforcing His Providence.  If you truly are not detached at heart from all things you will not care and if you trust in the Lord with all your heart you will have no concern over tomorrow.  Be in the moment with Jesus today.

Matthew 6: 25:34
Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment?
[24] Mammon: That is, riches, worldly interest.
[26] Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? [27] And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature by one cubit? [28] And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. [29] But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. [30] And if the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith?
[31] Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? [32] For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. [33] Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. [34] Be not therefore solicitous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not upon thy own prudence.
[6] In all thy ways think on him, and he will direct thy steps.
Matthew 11: 28-30
Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. [29] Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. [30] For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

John 14: 27
Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid

Psalms 54:22
Cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall not suffer the just to waver for ever.

1 Peter 5: 6-7
Be you humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in the time of visitation: [7] Casting all your care upon him, for he hath care of you.

Psalms 22:4
For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me.

Hebrews 13: 5-6
Let your manners be without covetousness, contented with such things as you have; for he hath said: I will not leave thee, neither will I forsake thee.  So that we may confidently say: The Lord is my helper: I will not fear what man shall do to me.

Psalms 55:5
In God I will praise my words, in God I have put my trust: I will not fear what flesh can do against me.

If we have any natural defect, either in mind or body, let us not grieve and feel sorry for ourselves. Who can tell whether, if we had been given a larger share of ability or stronger health, or greater wealth, we would have possessed them to the destruction of our soul!\”  – St. Alphonsus Liquori

Watch, O Lord, with those who wake or watch or weep tonight, and give your angels and saints charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ. Rest your weary ones. Bless your dying ones. Soothe your suffering ones. Pity your afflicted ones, shield your joyous ones. And all for love’s sake.” – St. Augustine of Hippo

And of what should we be afraid? Our captain on this battlefield is Christ Jesus. We have discovered what we have to do. Christ has bound our enemies for us and weakened them that they cannot overcome us unless we so choose to let them. So we must fight courageously and mark ourselves with the sign of the most Holy Cross.” – St. Catherine of Sienna

Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me.” – St. Clare of Assisi

Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?” – St. Gerard Majella

Do not have any anxiety about the future. Leave everything in God’s hands for he will take care of you.” – St. John the Baptist de La Salle

If certain thoughts bother you, it is devil who causes you to worry, and not God, Who, being the spirit of peace, grants you tranquility.” – St. Padre Pio