Monday, October 31, 2016

Lord, help me to say "Yes." (From Abbé Michel Quoist’s “Prayers.”)

Marked by the joy of his first self-giving, the committed Christian can no longer retreat. Aroused by love, his emotions have helped him to surmount many obstacles. He is swept along, pushed along by those whose demands become more and more pressing. And now God appears, no longer hidden behind other persons but in full light. He asks to be received and be given first place in one’s life.

The Christian who has recognized Him often runs away, for he knows that God will ask of him total and unconditional self-giving. Relentlessly, the Lord pursues him to get the consent which will make his life divine.

Only those who have experienced this “wrestling” with God can really understand what it finally means to say “yes”. It can be a painful stage; and the educator, the friend, the spiritual director, the superior, must understand it. He must be tactful—not to hinder God, for he has himself just undertaken the training of his son—but be there to enlighten through faith when and where it is needed: helping him to recognize the Lord, interpreting the questions which Love asks constantly through the events of life, pointing out God’s invitations, His advances, His wooing.

He must encourage the Christian and urge him to say “yes”. If it hurts, it is because of his resistance—and he must be aided in discovering this. For one always loses when one strives against God; He is stronger. His love is stronger.

I am afraid of saying “yes”, Lord.
Where will you take me?
I am afraid of drawing the longer straw,
I am afraid of signing my name to an unread agreement,
I am afraid of the “yes” that will entail other “yeses”.

Yet I am not at peace.
For you pursue me, besiege me.
I seek out the din for fear of hearing you,
but in a moment of silence,
you slip through.

I turn from the road,
for I have caught sight of you,
but at the end of the path,
you are there, awaiting me.
Where shall I hide?
I meet you everywhere.

I am afraid to say “yes”, Lord.
I am afraid of putting my hand in yours,
for you to hold on to it.
I am afraid of meeting your eyes,
for I know you will win me.
I am afraid of your demands.
I am hemmed in, yet I continue to hide.
I am captured, yet I continue to struggle,
and I fight, knowing that I am defeated.

For you are the stronger one, Lord,
you own the world,
and you take it from me.
When I stretch out my hand,
to catch hold of people and things,
they vanish before my eyes.

I can’t seem to keep anything for myself.
The flower I pick withers in my hands.
My laughter freezes on my lips.
Everything seems empty,
everything seems hollow.

For you have made a desert around me.
I am hungry and thirsty,
and nothing in this world seems to satisfy me.

And yet I have loved you, Lord,
I’ve worked for you; gave my whole life to you,
followed your voice in the night,
from the earliest days of my youth.
O great and terrible God,
what more do you want?
Why won’t you leave me in peace?

My son, I want more for you and the world,
until now, you have planned your actions,
but I have no need of them.
You have asked for my approval.
You have asked for my support.
You have wanted to interest me in your work.

But do you not see,
that you were reversing the roles?
I have watched you, I have seen your good will.
And I want more than you, now.
You will no longer do your own works,
but the will of the one who has called you,
who has whispered to you on that night,
when you were merely a child.

Say “yes”, son.
I need your “yes” as I needed Mary’s, to come to earth.
For it is I who must do your work.
It is I who must live in your family, not you.
It is I who must be in those whose lives you touch, not you.
It is I whose words they must hear, not yours.
It is I whose eyes they must look into, not yours.
It is my Word that carries weight, not yours.
It is my Life that transforms, not yours.

Give all to me, abandon all to me.
I need your “yes” to be united with you,
and to come down to earth.
I need your “yes” to continue saving the world.

O Lord, I am afraid of your demands.
But who can resist you?
That your Kingdom may come, and not mine.
That your Will may be done, and not mine.
Help me to say “yes”.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)