To the Deep End
God calls each one of us to dive into the mystery that is his love and mercy. This call is not one for the faint of heart, but it is one worth fighting for.
If God desires and invites every single one of us to dive into the depths of his love and mercy, why is it so hard for us to dive deep day after day? Three words: human nature & fear. Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, humanity has held a certain level of distrust of God within their hearts. Although we know God is only good and capable of no evil, it is often easier said than done to fully trust in his providence and love. The problem here is that the full depth of our individual faiths will remain inaccessible to us until we fully surrender and take that leap of faith.
Diving For Pennies
It takes strenuous effort to dive deep in our faith each and every day. Throughout this effort, the evil one puts distractions, errands, and worry in our life to try and convince us that we do not have the strength or time to give ourselves to God. As a kid, I used to dive to the bottom of a pool and try and pick up pennies that my brothers would throw in. I remember the difficulty I found in the process of finding these pennies. There was the fact that I had to hold my breath, the exertion from kicking and fighting my way to the bottom, and the task of opening my eyes underwater without goggles so I could find the penny. As silly as it sounds, diving deep in our faith is much like diving for pennies. It takes no effort to just relax and stay at the surface, only bad thing is - pennies don’t float, so you miss the treasure. The same can be said about our relationship with Christ, to unlock the true depths of His love, mercy, and desire to know us, we must spiritually exercise through prayer and scripture, undergoing pain and suffering with joy and patience. Prayer and exercise strengthen us and help us to fight. Our hearts intimately interact with Christ’s through linking our cross to His.
When discussing “spiritual exercises,” a common excuse I hear is “Sorry Mike, I just haven’t had time for God recently.” This is an excuse that I have used and still sometimes find myself slipping into. However, when we reflect on the ways that we spend our time we will find that this excuse is always false. The first obstacle I often see is social media - Facebook, Instagram, or any other platform. In today’s modern world most of us can go to a setting on our phone and find how much time we spend on social media. When I did this I was disappointed in the level of attachment I had to these apps. So I pose the question, what if you only cut back the amount of time you spend on these platforms by 20 minutes a day and devote that time to God? Now twenty minutes may sound like a lot to some, but in reality it is only about 2% of your day.
Right now you may be saying “But Michael, I don’t use social media and you don’t know my schedule, I truly have no time to spare.” In some regards you may be correct - maybe you don’t have time to do that holy hour at the adoration chapel everyone says you should do. However, I do know that however busy you and I are, we have the ability to give more of yourself to God. Consider the idea sanctifying your actions, work, time with friends, and especially the frustration experienced in everyday life to God. Offering these simple everyday tasks is a way of allowing the Father to grow in intimacy with your heart. Now at this point I must make an important clarification. Sanctifying your actions through a quick prayer does not replace or complete a prayer life. We all need quiet time, even if only 5 minutes at first, to be alone and relate to Him while allowing Him to speak into our own hearts what he desires to. God may know everything that is happening and may know everything about you, but he still wants to hear it from you. He still wants to walk side by side with you through it all and assist you in the journey.
The 1 Hour Rule
In regards to the fear of suffering, I would like to quote St. Thérèse of Lisieux,
“God does not permit unnecessary suffering.”
To fully unlock the depths of our faith we must come to terms with the idea that God can transform the trials and suffering experienced in our lives to benefit us. It is hard to accept that we may not know or see the benefit of our suffering and struggle in the moment. It takes a true leap of faith and trust in God to accept these crosses joyfully and trust in God's divine wisdom and plan. When we begin to let go of our fear of losing things in our lives we actually come to realize that everything God “takes” from us has a purpose. We can consider the feeling of when our parents made us wait an hour after eating before we swim growing up. It feels as if they are taking away our fun, when in reality it is necessary for our safety and protection. It also allows us to appreciate the water and helps us experience the joy more deeply once we are able to swim again. It is important to know that God will always grant us with the necessities to live a fully joyful and fulfilled life, although sometimes, even often, these necessities may not align up with what we imagine we need. This is where it is extremely pertinent to remember that God sees the full picture and timeline of our life and our salvation, while we only see a narrow glimpse.
Hold back nothing from God, dive deep every day, and fight for the unification of your heart with his. Only then will you be able to get to the bottom of the “pool” and find the real treasure of his love and mercy.