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Seek, serve and surrender

I love when the liturgical year bumps into the secular calendar and everything seems to make sense. It is in the springtime that this seems to happen with the most clarity for me. Despite being a moveable feast, Easter falls in the spring. So, it follows that the Feast of Divine Mercy is also in the spring. No matter how early or late, it is never far from May, when the church traditionally celebrates Mary, the Mother of God. And all of this liturgical emphasis happens at a time of transition for both parents and their children.

As a child progresses through school, there are formal graduations, to be sure, but there are also the more subtle movements from one stage of schooling to another. The passage of time is marked by the progression of promotions. And we all wonder with not a little trepidation what is next.

It’s the season to embrace more ardently God’s call to seek, to serve and to surrender. No matter our age or station in life, there’s a good chance the springtime calls us out into something new. It asks us to grow. And, for most of us, to go — to reach out into something unknown and to learn it, to make it known. It asks for our fiat.

It is a season of discernment. What does God ask of me? It’s a chance to seek him, to ask him what he would have us do. And then, it’s a call to trust him with the answer. St. Faustina reminds us that trust in Jesus is the conduit to his mercy. We draw from the wellspring of his infinite mercy, but we can only carry as much as the vessel we bring to the encounter will allow. The vessel is our trust. He is as merciful as we are trusting. He cannot be outdone.

So, with trust — and asking for more trust — we seek. We listen for the whispers of the Holy Spirit that are our dreams for our lives. We ask God to shine his light on those dreams. We tell him every little detail of what we’re hoping. Then, we let go just a little bit of our big plans and we stop trying to persuade God that we know best. Instead, we seek his plan for us. We ask for our hearts to be made like his. We ask that we can dream for ourselves what he dreams for us.

We ask to be more like Mary, who had her whole life turned upside-down unexpectedly when she offered her resounding, “Yes!” And, more importantly, we ask her to accompany us into the new world of our own transitions, knowing that she knows both how challenging it can be and how to completely trust the Lord.

Next, we serve. Trusting God with the details both big and small is living in faith, and a living faith cannot help but yield service. When we truly trust in the Lord’s mercy, we let God breathe the dreams into us and we trust him completely to, well, be God. We affirm with our lives that we want his will to be done. Since God is mercy, his will is always for us to be merciful toward others. The first steps toward making his will come alive in our lives is to serve with his heart in the lives of others.

Then, comes the most difficult part of stepping into something new. Once we discern God’s call, we have to surrender entirely to him. This simple step takes a lifetime to master, and even then, few of us truly master it. To unite our wills for our lives entirely with our Lord’s will for us is no easy task. Simple, but not easy. Our human tendency is to try to control — to manipulate and maneuver and manage every bump in the road, every surprising turn. Even the joys are not always noted for the good gifts they are, and often, we fail to thank him for them. Surrender means that we let God bear the unbearable burdens instead of struggling to shoulder them under our own strength. Let them all be his — the chaff and the grain alike — and live a life in the embrace of Divine Mercy.

To seek, to serve and to surrender does not guarantee that the transition will be smooth, nor that it will be without considerable pain or hardship. What it means is that we will never be alone. Trust means that we know that God will fill us with his grace and empower us to do his will. Trust means that the traditions and challenges of the season are harbingers of good things to come as we live a life enveloped in the care of our good God, fueled by the wellspring of his grace.

Foss, whose website is takeupandread.org, is a freelance writer from Northern Virginia.




© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018