Psalm 95 tells us that if we let our hearts go astray by not listening to God’s voice, we will not enter into his rest. That is, we will stay agitated and restless.
Saint Augustine famously wrote that our hearts are restless until we rest in God. So what is the “rest” they are talking about and how can we obtain it in our harried and distracted lives?
Mercy visits the supermarket
In the grocery store yesterday, I ran across a fellow parishioner in her motorized wheelchair. Janice is an intelligent woman who can be near impossible to understand when she speaks. Setting out to walk with her as she shopped, I became fearful that I would not understand her side of the conversation.
Then a wave of trust came over me. Suddenly, I was sure that the God who had brought us together at this moment would enable me to understand everything she said. And that’s what happened! Because God made it possible for me to easily understand her, our conversation took on a lightness and ease that Janice does not always experience. This was a tremendous gift—at least to me.
Clearly, some of Janice’s abundant trust overflowed into my soul yesterday. And God showed me through her how far I have to go in the trust department. Janice sails off in her wheelchair, uphill several blocks to the grocery store, not knowing whether anyone will understand her or where help to reach for a box of cereal will come from. She simply sets off trusting that God will provide.
Janice’s trust has provided a greater sense that God is guiding me moment by moment, whether I feel it or not. Through her, God has reassured me that if I trust his guidance, I will be doing his will—whether I can perceive it or not. This is how the mercy of God, his “rest,” can show itself in day-to-day life.
Keeping a soft heart
Psalm 95 says “if today you hear his voice, harden not your heart.” Resting deep within God’s heart softens our heart.
My conversation with Janice shows me again that God, who created all things, including me, in his mercy, will bring forth fruit for his Kingdom out of every moment of our lives, if we develop a habit of keeping our heart soft and resting in his mercy. The way to rest in his inexhaustible mercy is by trust.
Can we trust today, this moment, that God’s merciful will is bringing forth great fruit in his Kingdom from our ordinary life, even if we don’t see much happening?
St. Faustina had the same trouble we do in trusting in the face of “not much happening.” She told Jesus:
“Oh, how often You have poured into my soul courage and perseverance to go forward. It is You yourself who removed obstacles from my road, intervening directly in the actions of people….Although my efforts may remain invisible on earth, they are no less valuable in Your eyes.”
Jesus answered her:
“My child, know that the greatest obstacles to holiness are discouragement and an exaggerated anxiety. All temptations united together ought not disturb your interior peace, not even momentarily. Sensitiveness and discouragement are the fruits of self-love. You should not become discouraged, but strive to make My love reign in place of your self-love. Have confidence, My child” (Diary 1488).
“My child, life on earth is a struggle indeed; a great struggle for My kingdom. But fear not, because you are not alone. I am always supporting you, so lean on Me as you struggle, fearing nothing. Take the vessel of trust and draw from the fountain of life….” (Diary 1489).
Jesus goes on to explain that what can seem like nothing to us means everything to him:
“A single act of love pleases me more than a thousand imperfect prayers. One of your sighs of love atones for many offenses with which the godless overwhelm Me. The smallest act of virtue has unlimited value in My eyes because of your great love for Me” (Diary 1489).
I pray that on this Mercy Sunday and always, your trust in God’s love and guidance will grow stronger day by day.
Love (and trust!) always,