Tag Archives: Eucharist

trust-God-vulnerability

Building trust

A recent Sunday sermon was accompanied by a power point presentation, which included this slide:trust-God-vulnerabilityThat’s me! I thought. Building trust is my construction project, and like many construction projects, this one has been going on for a long time.

As I reflected on this metaphor, I realized that I may have omitted an important first step of many construction projects—demolition. Often something needs to be torn down before new construction can begin.

I am one of those people who tends to favor restoration over demolition. I don’t believe that everything new is better than everything old. Call me a traditionalist, but I prefer old homes and historic buildings to new construction.

When talk turns to tearing down buildings, I have difficulty imagining the space without what has always been there. Even though a building may be decrepit and no longer serve any purpose, letting go of it can challenge me.

But sometimes, restoration isn’t possible and the only way to make room for something new is to completely remove what had been before.trust-God-vulnerabilityLast year, the nonprofit organization where I work moved into an elementary school building that had been vacant for five years. Seven other nonprofits joined us, converting the building into a nonprofit hub. It is a wonderful repurposing of a building that had outlived its usefulness as a school.

But, there are issues. During the years when the building was closed, minor repair projects went unnoticed, and it seems every week we discover something that needs attention.

My trust-construction project is like that—neglected and ignored areas need attention.

In the same way that I prefer restoration and repurposing to demolishing buildings, I resist the deconstruction that needs to happen in order to make room for my trust-construction project to move ahead. I give energy to the negative thoughts that swirl in my head, allowing them to get in the way of my progress. I return, again and again, to what shattered trust in the first place, not wanting to accept the truth of my history and making excuses for those who betrayed me.trust-God-vulnerability

Every Sunday at Mass, though, I get a reminder of true trust in action. The words of the Eucharistic Prayer remind me that on the very night that Jesus was betrayed, he gave thanks. Jesus’ trust was intact, absolute and unwavering. What a gift! What an invitation!

I have experienced the kind of trust Jesus exemplifies, times when I have been able to forgive in the face of betrayal, when I have been able to let go and to trust again. However, those moments have not usually happened quite so quickly.

God invites me, again and again, to accept my past, to forgive and to move on to the future God envisions for me, a future built on trust.

And every time I am able to follow Jesus’ example of letting go of betrayal and trusting in God’s unconditional love, I move closer to the completion of my trust construction project.

 

 

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Overcoming insecurities

“I look at Jesus, and Jesus looks at me,” said the priest about Eucharistic adoration.

When I was young in my adult faith life, I frequently looked to Jesus for guidance and direction. I read about Jesus in the Bible every day and attended weekly Bible study sessions. I wanted to know everything I could about him. My passion was looking at Jesus, knowing Jesus and following Jesus.

road trip

Twenty-five years ago, at the beginning of a cross-country road trip, my friend and I stopped for coffee and donuts. About an hour into the trip, I realized she was still eating her donut, and I commented on the fact that mine was long gone. “We eat our donuts the same way we relate to men,” she said. “You devour yours, and I pick at mine.”

She was right. My insecurities were most evident in new relationships when I was fearful that I was not measuring up and would be abandoned. I tended to cling and needed constant reassurance.  As my trust grew, my insecurities lessened, and I could let go a bit. By then, though, all that usually remained of those relationships were crumbs.

Her comment invited me to look at all of my relationships, including Jesus. Had my early passion toward Jesus, my deep desire to know him intimately, been motivated, at least in part, by my insecurities? Had I clung to Jesus, devoured him, in the same way I did other men?

It was around this same time that I became acquainted with Simon Weil’s writings, and this passage from Waiting for God resonated with me:

“The beauty of the world is the mouth of a labyrinth. The unwary individual who on entering takes a few steps is soon unable to find the opening. Worn out, with nothing to eat or drink, in the dark, separated from his dear ones, and from everything he loves and is accustomed to, he walks on without knowing anything or hoping anything, incapable even of discovering whether he is really going forward or merely turning round on the same spot. But this affliction is as nothing compared with the danger threatening him. For if he does not lose courage, if he goes on walking, it is absolutely certain that he will finally arrive at the center of the labyrinth. And there God is waiting to eat him. Later he will go out again, but he will be changed, he will have become different, after being eaten and digested by God. Afterward he will stay near the entrance so that he can gently push all those who come near into the opening.”

labyrinth

Eucharist encompasses looking at and being looked at, as well as consuming and being consumed. This intimacy transforms my fears into trust. I need only to move toward my center. There, I meet God. There, I look at Jesus, and Jesus looks at me.