The Blessing of a Devotional Life: Being renewed instead of burnt out
Devotional Thought of the Day:
3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope n through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. 5 You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials 7 so that the genuineness of your faith —more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9 HCSB
183 You began in good heart. But little by little your spirit has shrunk… And you are going to end up in your own poor shell, if you continue to let your horizons become smaller and smaller. You have to allow your heart to expand more and more, with real hunger for the apostolate! Out of a hundred souls we are interested in a hundred.
I will admit, I am tired.
It is not the being there for people that tire me out. Going and praying with people, helping them realize God’s presence with them, even in the midst of their suffering and trauma is oddly energizing.
Division is tiring, whether it is the masses telling me to pray for Ford, or for Kavanaugh (shouldn’t we be praying for God’s peace for both?) Watching people deny the issues that cause them pain, or ignore their own responsibility is exhausting. There are other things as well, the systems and rules that prevent ministry, whether those systems are part of bureaucracy or found in our traditions.
These kinds of things cause the spirit to shrink. and the end that St. Josemaria foretold I have approached too often, as one recoils from the pain of the world, and withdraws into themselves. When we would seek the end of the conflict, the end of the pain, rather than seeking the peace that is ours as we dwell in the presence of our Lord Jesus.
We need to open up instead of closing down. We need to be drawn into the presence of Christ but draw others with us, expanding the kingdom of God, rather than shrinking into a personal, isolated, personal relationship with Christ.
But oh, this is hard. It is hard to open ourselves up, especially to those who would ( consciously/unconsciously doesn’t matter) more angst, more anxiety, more pain. When all you want to do is run away (for me, to the deer cove road along Lake Ossipee) rather than face more trauma and pain, more of the schemes of people to achieve power and influence or stop others from gaining it. Where is the hope?
St Peter points us to it, in my reading from his epistle, marked in red above. We need to realize and accept that our hope is not found in creating a utopia in this world. That kind of perfection doesn’t exist, in a world damaged by our sin.
Rather our hope is found in our being saved, being delivered. The emphasis there is not in what we are saved from, but what we are saved into….
The relationship with Christ, who will bring us home to the Father. A relationship where we are assured, no matter the stress, no matter the pain, enduring it all because God has us in His care, strengthening our ability to depend on Him, and on what He has promised us. Refocusing us on why we love Him, why we adore Him.
This is why I find my daily devotions so important. Not to make me feel like I am a good pastor or a good Christian. Not for the 10 or 20 people who might read these blog posts that are simply me trying to tie my devotional readings together as I meditate upon them.
This time is needed, to refocus, to change my heart and soul from being on the path to burnout (or often having arrived there) to being renewed, revived. Refocused on the love of Christ, who died that we may live, whose blood covered the sin which so breaks us all. To give hope in the middle of a world that would not have peace or hope otherwise.
For realizing His love, we can pray and leave our burdens and all that weighs us down on Him, finding that we, because we can love the One who loves us, we can find inexpressible joy and peace…
and rest for our souls.
Heavenly Father, help us to look to Jesus, Your Son and be convinced of Your incredible love for us, and for all people. Help it restore us from burnout, and revive us so that we can see all come to the healing of soul, mind, and heart that happens as we look to you. And Lord, please bless both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh with Your peace, as you minister to them in their pain. In Jesus name, we pray.
Escriva, Josemaria. Furrow (Kindle Locations 979-983). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.