Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP
St Albert the Great Priory,
If you had to stand up right now and tell us your greatest spiritual deficiency, what would you say? Lack of humility, charity, patience? Difficulties with sexual temptation, pride, anger? No discipline in prayer, study, service? All common enough struggles for the serious Christian. I wonder how many of you would say, “I serve two Masters: God and Worry.” How many of us would ‘fess up to disobeying Christ by working at being our own best deity? Here’s an outrageous claim that is no less true for being outrageous: Worrying is idolatrous! What god rules in the tabernacle of your heart when you fret about what you have no power to change or control or defeat? No one, Jesus says, can serve two Masters…You cannot serve God and, well, you cannot serve God if you will serve anything, anyone else but Him.
As always, Jesus shows us the
Look at Paul. Paul tells us his conversion story this morning. Dramatic. Great stuff for hagiographies. But even greater stuff for our growth. God snatches Paul up into an ecstasy and there he hears “ineffable things, which no one may utter.” Paul’s apostolic ministry to the Gentiles was a furious preaching of the Unsayable (and sometimes the Undoable!). And this from an ex-Pharisee who had the rules, the formulas, the rituals; he had everything he needed to encounter the Divine, wrapped up, stored, and tightly controlled. Now, he boasts of weaknesses, insults, constraints, and hardships. And when he cries out to the Lord for relief, he boasts about the Lord’s blunt answer to him: “My grace is sufficient for you…” Paul serves God. And the gifts our Lord gave him were enough.
Ask yourself: Will it be God or Worry? Christ or anxiety? Will I trust God’s promises or will I all burst a vein trying to turn the universe on my will? You could do something radical. You could learn from the way the wildflowers grow. Grow where nothing else will. Flourish where you are planted. Show your brightest colors. Spread your goodness and beauty wildly. Take what you need to grow. And do not worry. What to eat, what to drink, what to study, what job to take, bills, kids, mortgage...“all these things the pagans seek.” Seek first then to serve Him. Make His righteousness the source of your daily decisions. Tear down the idols of the gods Fret, Fuss, and Vex and reposition Christ in the tabernacle of your heart. After all, Jesus asks, “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?”
No, no you can’t.Photo Credit: Jeffrey Lewis