Luke speaks of Jesus’ call to discipleship. Jesus tells the 72 to travel lightly and “I’m sending you as lambs among wolves”. He tells them to receive hospitality and give healing and peace because “the reign of God is at hand”.
Reading Paul’s letter to Timothy there wasn’t hospitality for Paul. His friends deserted him after preaching Jesus’ message landed him in jail. He was able to say, “but the Lord stood by my side and gave me strength”. He was a disciple of deep faith.
So was Mother Teresa. We are reading a lot nowadays about Mother Teresa’s feelings of abandonment, her “dark night of the soul”. She, who was chosen by God to bring love and comfort to the dying; she, who began a religious order to continue this work; she couldn’t feel God’s presence. Now that she is with God, she knows how God sustained her all those years.
Last week I was privileged to hear Anne Lamott speak of her faith journey. One of her great lines was, “The opposite of faith isn’t doubt. It is certainty”. That makes so much sense when you believe faith is a mystery and a gift.
We each live the mystery of our faith in our own way. There will be times when we feel abandoned by God. This occurs easily when we experience a deep loss. We will doubt and we will feel afraid.
At times like these, I visualize the paralytic man cured by Jesus. Jesus’ words were “pick up your mat and walk”. It is important to pray to trust and to be faithful to God and to go about our daily business. It’s also important to reflect on “where is God (or God’s goodness) in my life today?” Look for beauty and let it touch your soul.
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