Recently, I found myself confronted by some fairly powerful, negative emotions centering on an incident which I felt to be a betrayal from someone I knew. Part of the emotional response was easily identified – it rested in my wounded pride. The other part of my emotional response was driven by a broken friendship – admittedly, one that had failed long before the knowledge of the perceived betrayal. The more I rationalized the deep hurt I felt, and crafted my plan to move through the pain and into a more centered place, one phrase kept coming back to me…
As I processed the situation, I recognized the need to heed advice that I have often given to others – I needed to have faith, hope, and love.
Life doesn’t often go according to our own plans. When those plans go awry and we begin to spin our wheels, we are often times left to ask God why – why our plans must change, why they fell through, why they did not come to fruition as envisioned.
One of my favorite devotions is that of the Divine Mercy. The five word prayer, “Jesus, I trust in You,” has become my mantra, building my strength in the face of altered plans. It also has come to remind me of the strength Our Lord provides when I trust in Him, accepting His plans are greater than mine.
God asks us to have faith in Him… even when we don’t understand.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit” (CCC, 1817). As I spent time reflecting on the situation which caused me so much hurt, I recognized that my faith grants me the opportunity to shift my focus from hurt and sadness, to hope.
You see, there is a reason for what transpired. This incident solidified in my heart how my primary focus should be my vocation as a wife, and my avocation as a mother. My focus should not be externally driven, and instead, should center on those closest to me. I was reminded of the quote attributed to St. John Bosco,
My hope must center on doing for my family the best job I am able to do, since I know I will be held to account for my actions toward them when I seek to enter eternal life.
As I hope for the reward of everlasting life, my actions for my family are the ones which will be the weightiest in the decision.
The lost friendship I mourned reminded me of the final instruction by St. Paul to the Corinthians – love. We must love without hesitation, without reservation, and without condition. Sometimes though, I admit that can be a tall order, especially when we examine situations where we feel betrayed.
However, as I thought of betrayal and love, and how they blend so seamlessly at times, I recalled the betrayal of Christ. Perhaps it is because of the time I recently spent participating in the Stations of the Cross during Lent, but my thoughts immediately turned toward how my actions, as a friend to Christ, have at times betrayed Him.
And yet, He loves me. Without reservation, without hesitation, and without condition.
I want to live like Christ. I want to model myself after His example. I want to be joined with Him for all eternity. He does not promise us that following in His footsteps will be an easy path. But, He does ask for us to live as He lived.
Which means through the pain, the hurt, the disappointment, the challenges and the difficult moments, I am called to love like Christ.
We are all called to love like Christ.
So, my pride is still a little bruised, and I expect that it will take a little time to heal.
But, my perspective has changed, and I am finding clarity and strength in knowing that I am choosing to live