Good morning brothers and sisters:
O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything. Lent is a time of total abandonment to God. These words spoke strongly to my heart this week. I was having a really hard time with my grief over the loss of my mom. It hit me over the weekend how much I was missing her. I was looking through her things and found tucked inside her bible, A Novena of Surrender, “Words of Jesus to Father Dolindo Ruotolo”. I never heard of him. He was a prophet of our time 1882-1970. His name means “pain” and his life was rich with this pain. As a child, teenager, seminarian and priest, he experienced great humiliation, which was a realization of the prophetic words from a bishop who said, “You will be a martyr, but in your heart not your blood.” In his profound humility, he was able to hear the words of God. Because of his tremendous suffering, he became a person who lived and offered himself to the Divine Father. “I am totally poor, a poor nothing.” This prayer was his strength, His leader is the will of God and he allowed God to take him by the hand. This was his security over the uneven path of life. Total abandonment of self.
A novena is a Catholic prayer that is prayed every day for 9 days. On the second day of this novena, the message was “Surrender does not mean to fret, to be upset or to lose hope.” Change your worry into prayer! Worry goes against surrender. It causes confusion. “Surrender means to placidly close the eyes of the soul, to turn away from thoughts of tribulation and put yourself in my care, so that I can act, saying, you take care of it!” His response, O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!
As I said earlier, the past weekend was very difficult for me. I guess I came to the realization that, my mom is really gone, and I will no longer see her, smell her, hold her or hear her voice. I first arrived in Florida last month to attend my mom’s funeral. When I entered the house, I could smell her everywhere. This was a great comfort for me. On Monday of this week, I woke up and could not smell her anymore. What I did next may sound crazy to you. I got up and sprayed her perfume all around the room and throughout the rest of the house. This helped me and gave me a comfort to realize she may not be with me in the flesh, but her spirit will always be with me. Just like Jesus is.
Another realization that came to me, was the future care of my dad and started to think, how much longer will he be with me? I began to worry about the decisions around his care, and became overwhelmed with anxiety, fear, and even anger that I had to make these decisions. I went back to the words of Jesus spoken to Father Dolindo, “Leave the care of your affairs to me and everything will be peaceful.” I prayed, O Jesus, I surrender all these things and myself to you, and I know you will take care of everything!
A woman saint that I found inspirational this week is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. I learned that she is known as the patron saint of grief. That is the name of the parish I worship, and never knew that. She experienced the deaths of many loved ones during her lifetime. As a child, she lost her mom and her sister; then as an adult she became a single mom, losing her husband and 2 daughters from Tuberculosis. She also struggled with going from a wealthy lifestyle to one of poverty. As she went through her grieving process, each time she chose to move closer to God, rather than farther away from Him. She believed the key to handling grief is to be in constant communication with God, making prayer a habit. Lent is about prayer and growing closer to God. God is close to the broken hearted and cares deeply for the sorrow of grief. She advised, “Go directly to the Savior throwing yourself into the arms for refuge against every pain and sorrow. Jesus will never leave us or forsake us.” So, I took her advice and went to my healing place (the beach) and prayed and surrendered my worries, fears, anger and uncertainties for the future. I left them at the foot of the cross, remembering Jesus’ words to His Father, “Into your hands I commend my spirit; your will be done.” I prayed, I too choose to surrender and place my trust and hope in you Lord. I will allow you Jesus to wrap me in your arms, give me your peace and comfort, while I go through my loss, my pain and suffering. I know you will take care of everything! The results from prayer always amaze me! Peace overcame me!
I pray that you will surrender any worries, anxieties, fears, or pain. Give it to the Lord. Surrender. Give yourself to Him and believe that he will take care of everything! God bless you and thank you for walking with me on my Lenten journey with the Lord.