Cast Out Fear!

A little more than three years ago I had the unexpected opportunity to accept a full-time job leading the children’s catechesis ministry at my parish.  This unsolicited offer from my pastor caught me off-guard and definitely by surprise.  I hadn’t worked full-time since having my oldest child who was, at that time, 18 years old.

So, with the help of my husband and my spiritual director, I prayed, discussed, thought, and prayed some more about whether this was where God was calling me at this time in my life.  After a lot of obsessive thinking and waffling between yes and no, I accepted the position with my husband’s support. 

Almost immediately after accepting the job, I started worrying about whether I had made the right choice.  I was filled with fear and anxiety.  What was I thinking?  How could I manage a family and full-time job after all these years?  Where did I get off thinking that I could teach anybody about a holy life? After all, I was just little-ole Laura trying my best to be a good wife, mother, and daughter.  Most often, though, it felt like I was just trying to survive each day!  How could I take on this important task of teaching the children of our parish?

In my panic, I emailed my spiritual advisor and shared my anxieties.  His response was exactly what I needed to hear.  “You’ve thought and prayed about this and have discerned your decision. Cast out fear!  Our God is bigger!” He was right.  I needed to trust my discernment process but, more importantly, I needed to trust God.  Whatever I couldn’t handle, He would.  Besides, especially when you enter ministry, you need to be keenly aware that you are NOT the one who brings forth the fruit of your labors.  God is the one doing the heavy lifting.

In my fear, I was putting limits on God that He doesn’t have.  It’s so easy to forget that God is truly beyond our understanding. He is so much more than we give Him credit for.  By trusting Him, I was following His will for me.  Looking back on that time, I see that I answered God’s call with my own “fiat” the day I accepted this job.  But, if I had given in to fear, I would have run away from God’s plan (probably while screaming!).

When in your life have you given in to fear rather than trust God and step out in faith?  How do you need to “Cast out fear” in your life today?

“40 Ways” to Liven Up Lent

Featured imageThere may be 50 ways to leave your lover but Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio has 40 ways to inspire you to prepare for the Resurrection of the greatest Lover of them all. In 40 Days, 40 Ways: A New Look At Lent, Dr. D’Ambrosio gives the reader 40 ways to celebrate Lent that are creative, unique and fresh.  Don’t look for a page that’s about giving up chocolate for Lent because you won’t find one.  Instead you’ll find lots of suggestions to enrich your prayer life as well as ways to reach out to others in need.

For example:

  • Day 4-Cut back on purchases of luxuries and give the saved money to the needy.
  • Day 10-Learn the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  Identify one to begin incorporating into your life this Lent.
  • Day 23-Reach out to the least important, least popular, most ignored person at school, home, or work.
  • Day 35-Learn the Prayer of Abandonment of Blessed Charles de Foucald.   Surrender your possessions, your future, and your life to God as you slowly pray it daily.

But this book isn’t just a list of 40 suggestions.  Each day and the idea that goes with it is paired with a meditation or deeper discussion of the day’s idea and it’s meaning and implications.

40 Days doesn’t end with Lent though.  It continues on to guide our thoughts during Holy Week and to help us celebrate the whole season of Easter-not just Easter Sunday.  Add to that the wonderful resources in the back of the book and you’ve got a slim volume that is jam-packed with knowledge, information, inspiration, and guidance all in Dr. D’Ambrosio’s signature accessible writing style.

In a nutshell, if you’re one of those people who struggle to come up with new ideas for your Lenten devotion, look no further.  40 Days, 40 Ways: A New Look At Lent will inspire you to dig a little deeper into your spiritual life.  I guarantee you won’t regret the purchase.

May Your Journey Be Blessed,