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What’s Gritty, Gutsy, Requires Patience and is Absolutely Necessary? Granite Faith

June 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

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Granite Faith

The Lord (Week 2 of 23)

What is demanded of us, as of her, is a constant wrestling in fide with the mystery of God and with the evil resistance of the world. Our obligation is not delightful poetry but granite faith — more than ever in this age of absolutes in which the mitigating spell is falling from all things and naked opposites clash everywhere. The purer we see and understand the figure of the Mother of God as she is recorded in the New Testament, the greater the gain for our Christian lives. — The Lord, (Part 1: Chapter II: The Mother, Paragraph 15)

Sometimes we see Mary as a beautiful, perfect, joy-filled lady who raised a perfect son, had little to complain about and whose only suffering came as a result of seeing Christ ridiculed, beaten and crucified. Sure – she hated to watch Him suffer; but she did know that he was GOD. No doubt she also knew that He could take care of Himself.

If we’re not careful, we can succumb to the mistaken notion that we have nothing in common with Mary. that the Mother of God skipped her way through through life, virtually unscathed, a lovely image of the “perfect” mother the rest of us so long to become.

But that..is poetry.

I agree with the the author. Mary was not poetry. Neither should we aspire to the merely poetic images of perfection that we witness on television or in movies, or – seemingly – in Sacred Scripture.

Our obligation is not delightful poetry but granite faith…

Granite faith.

If you need a more accurate image to contemplate, think of the portrayal of Mary in Mel Gibson’s, The Passion. This was a woman who might have questioned anything. Everything. But she did not. She clearly suffered. She was obviously pained. But she fully believed in her obligation to Trust. She maintained a rock-solid faith that was grounded in Her Savior. And despite the pain, the suffering, the absolute devastation of watching her Son suffer at the hands of men and losing Him in the process, she never once wavered.

Guardini says

What is demanded of us, as of her, is a constant wrestling in fide with the mystery of God and with the evil resistance of the world.

This “wrestling” is the story of my life. Each day is a tug of war between what I want and His Holy Will. But rather than a wrestling where I stand as the arbiter between selfishness and virtue, choosing the good and shirking the bad, I stand, disheartened as I choose virtue (begging for it for myself and my family) but constantly come up short.  In my heart of hearts, I know that my desires are aligned with God’s Will on that point. And yet, I'm often disappointed when it appears that He fails to deliver.

I’m not asking for material things. [OK. Full disclosure – financial security has come up once or twice.] But what comes up countless times each day is my great desire that my children become saints. That I beome a mother who can lead each of the precious souls in my care to her Son.

And yet every day I am laden with mistake after mistake after mistake as I struggle with the weak example that our Lord has chosen for my children. My faults; my habits; my lack of faithfulness; my tendency toward sloth. They all stand as monuments to failure and they serve as walls which stand between my family and the holiness that I so desire for all of us.

My children deserve better.

They have suffered because of my shortcomings.

And God knows it.

For good or for bad, my children are shaping up to reflect both the beauty – and the ugliness – of their father and myself. My life is a never-ending battle to squash the ugliness while allowing the beauty to flow.

I fail daily.

Worse than all my failures is the depression that follows. Not depression as in a diagnosed medical illness. But a depression that consumes me each time I fail. A temporary feeling of despair. A shameful countenance that lacks the joy properly due to Our Lord for His grace; shame because I realize – yet again – that I will never be good enough to lead my children to a life of great virtue. I will never be able to inspire, encourage, convince, cajole, nag, pressure, threaten or force my children to sanctity.

But then I hear a whisper that calls softly through my darkness.

That is not your job. 

It is not your job to make saints. It is Mine. 

It is your job to know that only I can open hearts. Only I can move the inner workings of the soul. Only I can give you that which you desire more than anything. And that which I desire even more. 

It is your job to be Faithful. 

As Mary demonstrates so well in The Passion, faith is not a poetic thing. It is not flowery; it is not graceful; it is not romantic or lyrical or imaginative.

Faith is gritty. It takes guts. patience; trust.

Faith is is hard.

Yet it must be the foundation of all we do.

Instead of spending our time mourning our faults and our weaknesses, our mistakes and our defects, we must, as Mary did, hold on with a granite faith for

…how glorious our Faith is! Instead of restricting hearts, as the world fancies, it uplifts them and enlarges their capacity to love. — St. Therese of Lisieux

When we steep ourselves in faith, life is an amazing journey, full of joy and full of love. Faith allows us to expand our souls and soften the edges of our hearts. Ironically, it helps us to become the parents we so desperately long to be. It helps us to Hope in the promises that He’s given us. And it helps us to Love with greater openness. It allows us to dispense with pride and frustration because we acknowledge our own helplessness before God.

Like Mary, you (and I) must “do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5). As Saint Paul says in Romans, we must have practice the “obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5).

Mary knows. He is the Rock; we need only hold fast and Believe.

Granite Faith. 

It can move mountains (Matthew 17:20).

 

Reading Assignment:

Part 1: Ch. V-VIII

Discussion Questions:

1. Does Mary inspire you to a greater faith? In what way? Did you take anything from the reading that can help you in that area?

2. Please feel fee to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

Read More: https://spiritualdirection.com/topics/book-club

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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