The weather this weekend has been absolutely beautiful. It has been sunny, 75, and just a hint of a breeze. The best part is, I talked myself into signing up for the Color Run hosted at Benedictine and have started running every day in the mornings with a housemate! I discovered how much I absolutely love running outside early in the morning. Am I currently so sore that it is hard to sit down? Perhaps, but it’s all worth it.
Besides beautiful weather and blessed friendship, this weekend has been helpful in another way – detachment. Christ has been asking me to give up some things and it has been quite a test. The thing with detachment, at least in my own life, is that Christ asks me to give up something that is considered a good. A lot of times, this is hard to wrap my mind around because I know that God has created me to serve Him, and He has also created me to be happy (Yes, I know that sometimes those two statements are hard to believe together). But of course He created me to be happy! He didn’t create me because He needed me, but because He wants to love me and give me the gift of life.
So when I’m called to detach myself from a good, with nothing inherently wrong in it, it can be a challenge. But in the best way possible. I’ve learned that when God chooses to take something away from me, it helps to say, “The Lord gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” And yes, I’ve decided that it still counts if it is said through gritted teeth or tears. It helps. It truly does.
This weekend I went to a symposium advancing the New Evangelization which was incredible. In one talk, the speaker mentioned the morning Liturgy of Hours (which my housemates and I do during the week) and how it was a message of hope before a day of misery. I was almost depressed at that but I realized that I’m not made for this earth. In fact he said, “Catholic life is not difficult, it is impossible, without God’s grace.”
You see, I could look at being asked to give up these essentially good things as unfair or terrible. But the thing is, I’m continually striving to have a deep, intimate relationship with Christ. I’m forever being shown how much the persons of Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit are head over heels in love with me. Me. All rules and sacrifices only make sense if I understand His intimate love for me and if I’m in love with Him. A speaker made the analogy with a marriage – a woman loves her husband and because they are married she doesn’t date other people. She has different rules and obligations that wouldn’t apply to her if she wasn’t married to him. But she believes she is the luckiest woman in the world, because of their love for each other. This is the same way for us. The speaker said, “a vast majority of Catholics live in a loveless marriage with God.” That is why giving things up, good things, can seem so unfair to us, and to me many times, because I forget that basic truth.
Fostering an intimate relationship with Christ is key to peace and happiness in the midst of the chaos that is my life as a college student, and yours, wherever you are in life. I was left with this chilling reminder from the Bishop of Madison this weekend:
“I wish we ran towards Christ with as much passion and energy as so many people around us are running towards hell.”
This makes me look at my own life and see – which way am I running? Because selfishly refusing to give up what God has asked me to does not mean that I’m running towards Him.