When I was a student at St. Mary’s Seminary, the community would gather for morning prayer on Wednesday morning for a prayer experience called “Sulpician meditation.” After getting ourselves out of bed and downstairs to the warm, cozy chapel, the priest who led the meditation would tell us to close our eyes, breathe deeply and relax. (Yes. We all would fall right back to sleep!). Then, he’d tell us to put all our cares and worries of the day out of our heads – and that was exactly when all the cares and worries of my day would flood into my head!
One of the features of that type of meditation was an awareness of “Jesus in my heart.” The knowledge that Christ was alive within us was an essential part of that prayer, and it is an essential part of the Christian life – of Discipleship.
Today, Jesus gives us some advice that few of us take most of the time: “Do not worry” - about food or drink or clothes … or anything. Why? God loves you, infinitely, and cares for your every need.
Jesus knows we are preoccupied with so many things: career, education, children, bills, our cars, the Orioles, the Oscar winners … the list goes on, for all of us. The Lord tells us today that none of that worrying accomplishes anything. Time rolls on as it always has and always will.
Today, our final lesson in Discipleship is perhaps the one that can bring us the most peace.
As Disciples, we should have a relationship with Christ that consumes us and drives us. When we worry, Jesus cannot drive us. However, an awareness of His presence, alive within us, helps us to let go and allow God to care for us like He wants to do. This lesson is one of focus and perspective. Jesus is the most important thing in our lives. If we have Jesus within us, then it doesn’t matter what goes on around us.
Tonight, one of the songs nominated for an Academy Award comes from Disney’s latest film, “Frozen.” It’s called “Let It Go.” In it, the heroine sings
“It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small; and the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.”
When we worry, we allow those fears, those concerns, those definitions, those opinions of others – everything that worries us – to control us; and Jesus is not in control then. However, when we recognize that He is at the center of our life, then we allow Jesus to drive us, and wonderful things happen!
And Christ’s advice bears out common sense. Think about the many things we have stressed over in our pasts: having the latest “fashions,” drivers’ licenses, high school graduation, exams, college, dating, breakups – we all have our lists. We have survived all of them, and we have moved on well. In fact, from the distance of perspective, all those things seem small.
But those things pale compared to the spiritual lesson that Jesus teaches us. He is the perspective through which we are supposed to view life; He is the lens. When Jesus is the center, all other things – the good and the bad – fall into their proper place.
God knows what we want; He knows what we need – just as much as He knows the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. We are more important than they are to God.
So, if we are worried about the past and are living with regret, remember that our God is a God of compassion, mercy and forgiveness. That is what the Sacrament of Reconciliation is about. Let it Go. If we are anxious about the future, remember that Jesus comes to us here and now and walks with us as our loving companion. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Let it go.
What Christ is calling us to know now is that this moment, now, we are given as God’s gift – to be aware of His presence in us and before us, and to respond to that presence without fear or hesitation. Worrying will change nothing.
But faith, trust, and the love of Christ made active in His Disciples –that will change everything.