“I have come to give you life, so you may have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Over and over again in Scripture, especially with this powerful verse from the Gospel of St. John, Jesus reminds us that He has great things in store for us, if only we would be willing to totally submit and put our life into His hands.
In Jeremiah 29:11 He tells us that he has “great plans for us; plans not to harm us but to give us hope and a future.” And yet in many of the one on one conversations, on air discussions, e-mail exchanges, or social media interactions I have with Catholics and other Christians, believers seem often puzzled as well as frustrated by the fact that if we want to really grow in our relationship with God and achieve all of those plans, He has, then we have to continue do just that; grow. That means constantly digging deeper and realizing that we can’t or shouldn’t limit ourselves to that one big burst of an “’ah ha” moment. God along with our Catholic faith is too big for that. After all, since when is an “abundance” of anything associated with a single item or experience? Many, as I once did, seem to think that once one accepts Christ and recommits to Him and starts attending Mass again, that they’re good to go.
I get it though. As I mentioned, I once took that same approach. Early on in my return to the Catholic Church, I thought I had paid my dues, had seen the light, and had a pretty good understanding of what God wanted of me. When you come right down to it though it was really my own justification for wanting my world a certain way. Yes, I wanted to be an on fire Catholic but on my terms, with one foot in the secular world and one foot in the Church. That was nice while it last but it didn’t last very long.
For the first half of my nearly sixty years, it was all about me, myself, and I. As a woman growing up in the 70’s and entering the work force in the early 80’s that’s what we were told. Damn the family torpedoes; full career steam ahead. It was all about putting work first and leaving everything and anything behind. Nothing or no one was allowed to even remotely interfere if we wanted to be successful and make a name for ourselves especially in a competitive field like mine, broadcast news, where back then women were finally starting to gain ground. I did buck the proverbial system somewhat; meeting a great guy right after college graduation and getting married three years later. We were both very career-oriented however and soon we learned the hard way that by putting our worldly desires for money and success first, we would not only nearly lose our marriage but more importantly we would come extremely close to losing ourselves and our souls.
You’ll have to read one of my books to get the rest of the story as the wonderful Paul Harvey used to say, but in a series of nothing short of miraculous circumstances God came back into our lives. Quite a few of those circumstances involved some level of suffering including at one point, actually being fired from a prominent TV position which catapulted me into a long six-month period of self-examination. That particular trial ended when I looked at the crucifix hanging in our bedroom and said “uncle.” In a very unsophisticated cry for help I asked God to come into my life and show me the way. Within a few short weeks I received a call from the top TV news operation in town and I was quickly back on the air.
At the time I thought, “this is it.” I had experienced my big breakthrough moment. God was no longer on the cutting room floor so to speak. He was front and center in my life. I was convinced that I was now meant to fire-up the lukewarm Catholics in the newsroom and covert the rest of my fellow employees. This was where God planted me. My husband and I, in addition to making a faith commitment had begun to rebuild our marriage. Life was good again and I really thought I was going to be able to have my cake and eat it too. I could do what I loved professionally all while serving God.
Again, it was nice while it lasted but it didn’t last very long at all. Only a few short years. This was when I first started to get an inkling that this God thing, was about a long-term relationship filled with ups and downs; numerous breakthroughs. Who knew those breakthroughs would continue to lead to new opportunities to say “yes” even if we did understand fully at the time we answered? Eventually God would lead me into Catholic media and speaking and my husband into the diaconate.
We continue to seek God’s will reminding ourselves sometimes breakthroughs are made with big leaps and sometimes baby steps. The only thing that matters is that we keep putting one foot in front of the other while focusing our eyes on Christ. May you too have many continued breakthroughs. No matter how big or small, remember to Enjoy the journey.
My prayer is St. Teresa’s of Avila in her poem “Into the Hands of God”. I often repeat this part: “I am Yours and born of You, What do You want of me?”