I have been down with a cold since Christmas, and while it was fairly easy to post on my other blog, which doesn't require any deep thinking or soul searching, I couldn't get inspired to write on this one. However, the only way to overcome ennui is to apply oneself and just begin.
Some time ago, I asked God what he wanted of me, and the answer came swiftly and clearly: You are to pray for souls. In a way I am relieved the He is not asking me for great mortification and sacrifices- He knows how weak I am and has not given me more than I can bear. So I do my best to fulfill my vocation. Before, I used to concentrate on praying for the souls in Purgatory, and I have added praying for those who are in their death agony, and the souls of those who are to die this day, or this night. With the help of my guardian angel, I awake at 3 AM to pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy for the dying, as well as praying it at 3 PM for my own family members. I believe that grace builds in us in layers; that when we have reached one level and can do something well and persistently, then we are asked for more. God is the perfect taskmaster, He knows us better than we ourselves.
Another way that I have grown in the last year is in my devotion to Mary- another example of not being given a grace until we are able to handle it. A couple of years ago, I had asked to grow in devotion to Mary and Joseph; the devotion to Joseph came quickly and easily, but I really had to work at the devotion to Mary. I guess the devil knows his adversary and did all he could to hinder me! However, making the St. Louis de Montfort consecration last year gave me the tools I needed; also certain books really helped- someone left all 4 volumes of the City of God on the doorstep of our church, which I am reading, and nearly finished volume one. You see, God provides us with what we need as we need it according to His plan for us and not on our timetable.
That leads me to the next point: learning to trust in God. We say this all the time, but in our hearts what we really mean is that we hope that God will do for us what we want; to let go of our own desires and truly give ourselves over to God is not easily done. For me, it's a work in progress. When we pray "Thy will be done" in the Our Father, it rolls glibly off our tongue, and we don't often think of the ramifications of that little phrase.
It is the focus of my spiritual efforts this year. As usual, I gather inspiration from The Imitation of Christ: Book 3 Chapter 17:
O Lord, I shall suffer willingly for Your sake whatever You wish to send me. I am ready to accept from Your hand both good and evil alike, the sweet and the bitter together, sorrow with joy; and for all that happens to me I am grateful. Keep me from all sin and I will fear neither death nor hell. Do not cast me out forever nor blot me out of the Book of Life, and whatever tribulation befalls will not harm me.