Facing Fear, Our Lady and Humbly Struggling Against Defects

The only way to deal with fear is to face it. A deep “fiat,” “let it be done to me according to Thy will,” as Mary said at the Annunciation, carries peace with it.

Worry is a way of praying for the things I do not want. So a good question to always ask is, “What do I fear?”

Our Lady

May is the month of Mary. Our Lady protects the work God has begun in us. Devotion to her is not an add-on to our life of faith.  We should make a pilgrimage in May with a spirit of pilgrimage, which is to say a spirit of prayer and penance.

One way to renew our prayer is by meditating on the Litany of Blessed Virgin Mary, the Litany of Loreto; meditating on all the many titles of Our Lady. Don’t rush the Marian prayers and norms of piety said each day. After all, would anyone deprive themselves of motherly affection? These are the best way to give us a bigger heart. It is good to remember that when we miss a Marian norm of piety, we don’t hurt God; we deprive ourselves of important grace that we need to be happy.

Humility, Struggling Against Defects

The humble person asks God to help him in everything. What area are we most in need of help in? We need help above all in seeking holiness. This is where we are in the most need. Often we hear words like struggling and striving in the spiritual life. Yes, God expects us to cooperate with His grace, and make an effort. But God is the one who acts in our struggle for holiness.

If we think we have struggled, we have to ask, “Am I struggling in the right way?” Just because we are having difficulty and are struggling or suffering doesn’t mean we are acting correctly. Difficulty isn’t the definition of struggling against our defects. It is the right difficulties that matter. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

The problem here is discouragement. The antidote is complete humility. That includes speaking of everything in spiritual direction or confession. Don’t limit what is said by understating things, or on the contrary exaggerating minor problems. Then be satisfied with small goals. That is humility at work. It is not our way do things all in one shot. Spiritual childhood was a way outlined by St. Theresa of Lisieux, and lived by St. Josemaria Escriva. It says, let my loving father God come to my aid since I am a small child in his eyes.

This act of being small makes it impossible to be proud. It is the way of a trusting child, but a child who also avoids presumption. True humility is active, joyful, young; presumption is lazy, sour and old. Sitting back and letting God solve our problems is presumption. No we have to actively cooperate with His plan for His child. Presumption is a way we say no to God in many small things. It is where the old man in us carves out our own lazy niche. We are content to loaf while He fishes.

Saying no to God in small things means saying no to our own happiness. The two are the same thing. Are you cheating yourself  by not being humble in small struggles? He asks these small things of us for our own sakes. Humility leads to magnanimity, being big-hearted and generous. We do not live in magnanimous times, living humility will improve that situation.

 

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