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The Best Way to Thwart Divine Mercy

April 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Book Club, Divine Mercy, Mercy, Vicki Burbach

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The Second Greatest Story Ever Told (Week 8 of 8)

So we prepare for the Lord’s coming not by being consumed with fear but by following the message of Divine Mercy. Of course, this is not some new Gospel. Rather, it brings us to the heart of the Gospel, which tells us to repent of our sins and then ask for, trust in, and receive Gods’ mercy. The main refrain, as we see in the image of Divine Mercy, is not fear but trust — “Jesus, I trust in you.” – The Second Greatest Story Ever Told (Appendix I, Paragraph 16

The Best Way to Thwart Divine Mercy

Trust. This sounds like such an easy concept. The word trust even pops off the tongue with gusto. With decision. Trust.

It’s a declaration. I trust you.

It’s not a wimpy word like meander. Or a word that by its very nature is wishy-washy, like hesitation or apprehension.

No. And the concept is just as bold as the word.

Trust is not dipping your big toe in the shallow end and then wading in up to your waist. Trust is an all-out back flip with a half twist off the high dive, breaking the surface head first at top speed.

There is nothing passive about trust.

And yet, that’s what Christ asks of us. He wants the back flip off the high dive. He wants us to be all in.

Are we?

I don’t know about you, but reading so much on the gift of Divine Mercy recently provided me with many opportunities to contemplate where my trust may be lacking. Truth be told, I have relatively few trust issues when it comes to the little things in life. Things like life and death, or whether my husband loses his job, we run through our savings and the eight of us end up cramming into our Honda Pilot for shelter (although that would be interesting since we’re pretty much packed like sardines for the 20-minute drive to Mass).

But it didn’t take long for me to discern my Achilles' heel.

Motherhood.

Trust is a difficult thing for a mother. At least, for this mother. Oh, yes, I read The Second Greatest Story Ever Told, and I rejoiced with hope and confidence in our Lord’s Divine Mercy. I have no doubt that God will reach down from heaven to guide us to His glory, provided we trust Him.

But when it comes to the well-being of my children, there are times I feel like a mama bear trying to battle the entire world with nothing but wits and wagers, standing alert and on guard as I try to extinguish all fires and dispel any perceived areas of weakness with my own two hands.

Sadly, there are times when I am so engaged in the battle that I don’t even hear God whispering words of calm and comfort in my ear. If fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve even thrown Him in with the enemy a time or two – one more battle to be won on behalf of my kids. In those moments I become the be-all, end-all of their physical safety and eternal salvation.

Not a good idea.

It is in those moments that my (thank goodness I have him) husband reminds me that faith is about trusting God. But even with this reminder, I’ve been known to counter with an “I know, but…” defense.

I know, but what if they turn away from the church? I know, but what if they choose not to follow God about whom I've taught them all the days of their lives? I know but what if they don’t do well in school? I know, but what if they get addicted to drugs or alcohol? I know, but what if they end up in jail? I know, but what if they reject everything we’ve ever taught them?

Can you read between the lines? Because it sure didn’t take me long to get to the heart of the matter.

I think, that when I am this hung up on the outcome, what I am actually saying has a lot more to do with me than with my children.

I gave up my career to raise these children. I gave up a second income and we have scrimped and saved that I might be able to spend all my days at their side. I have given up 17 years of that life, day and night, pouring my heart and soul into their welfare. I have shared with them my most intimate values and my greatest love. I have given up nearly all my free time by homeschooling them for 13 years. I sacrificed my life for them.

And it all gets down to this:

IF THEY TURN AWAY FROM GOD WHO HAS BEEN THE REASON FOR EVERY SINGLE SACRIFICE I HAVE MADE AS A MOTHER, MY LIFE WILL HAVE BEEN A COLOSSAL FAILURE.

With this much fear, there is certainly no room for trust.

Why do I allow so much tension for myself when I know better? I mean, I KNOW better.

Only one answer:

Pride.

That’s it. Think about it. Should one of my children turn from God, leave the Faith and denounce our way of life, wouldn’t that be like a giant advertisement to the entire world that I am severely lacking in holiness? Wouldn’t it make me just the biggest hypocrite ever? Sure, that lady tries to talk a good show, but her own kids don’t even buy it!

When I am prideful, every fall becomes monumental, because I believe it reflects on me as a mother. But when there is no pride involved, I am willing to allow my children to fall, to suffer, knowing that God has His hand on their shoulders. I don't own their actions. I allow them to own them, and I allow God the room to pick them up and guide them along the way. When I set pride aside, I can trust God with their salvation, as opposed to hanging my hat on short-term, earthly successes.

Pride is the best way to thwart Divine Mercy.

In an attempt to get myself back on track – three teens under one roof will throw you off every time – I pulled out one of my favorite books, Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence by Father Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure. If you struggle to trust God in any area of your life, I strongly recommend you read this book. One of my favorite passages reminded me, should I choose to trust God, that He will answer my prayers for my children. I only need step aside and allow The Holy Spirit to work in their hearts at His Will:

He has given His word and there is only one condition attached — that we seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, that we make this search the one great aim of our lives by bringing everything else into relation with it to make it successful and fulfill our every duty with this end in view. In return for this He will unburden us of all anxiety, He will take upon Himself all our needs and the needs of those who belong to us or for whom we have to provide, and His care will be all the greater in proportion to the degree of confidence and surrender to His will we strive to attain. p. 60-61

Christ longs to share His Divine mercy with each and every one of us. If only our pride doesn’t stand in the way. He wants us to take that dive. Trust is risky, but He will not abandon us.

Spend some time thinking about those areas where you are lacking in trust. Could it be that you have too much tied up in the outcome? Could it be that your hangups, like mine, are thwarting the Divine Mercy of Christ?

NOTE: Join us next week for our new book, Life of Christ by Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen!  We plan to devote 26 weeks to this book, but don’t let the length intimidate you! As with everything by Fulton Sheen, this book promises to be both intellectually stimulating and spiritually edifying. It’s not a difficult read at all but is unbelievably packed with profound commentary on the gospels. There is no better way to explore the concept of Mercy than to examine Mercy, Himself.

Reading Assignment:

NONE

Discussion Questions:

1. Where is your trust lacking and what do you plan to do to get back on track? Do you have any success stories in that area that you would like to share?

2. I hope you enjoyed this book as much as I did – please open a discussion on any topic covered by Father Gaitley. There was so much amazing information that it's difficult for me to highlight any single thread. I look forward to hearing what intrigued you most.

 

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For More Information on the Book Club:  https://spiritualdirection.com/csd-book-club

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the SpiritualDirection.com book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at pelicansbreast.com

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