Yesterday evening I was aware of restlessness within me. I was anxious about many things. (Luke 10:41) This last three months has been without a doubt a very full stretch, and the demands of today and tomorrow are not diminished. As is typical with the spiritual life, when we grow weary, even from doing God’s work, perhaps especially from doing God’s work, our defenses are down and we can become vulnerable to the whiles of the demon.
As I was walking, trying to sort out all of these interior movements and external responsibilities, I quickly recognized the need to allow the Lord to truly be my anchor. St. Paul had instructed in the first reading of the day that we should boast only in our weakness. (2 Cor. 11: 33) He, too, experienced many pressures and “anxiety for all the churches.” (2 Cor. 11: 28)
While coming to deeper understanding of my experience, I was also very mindful of the encyclical on the environment of Pope Francis which had been released just this Thursday. Once again, I was aware of how much comfort I have found over the years by being outdoors. The sights and sounds of all of God’s creatures always bring me an interior peace.
On this walk, I took time to watch and listen to a red-winged black bird. The simple melody of this creature was telling me that all of us have a voice, and it is meant for praising God. Who doesn’t enjoy the early morning chorus of birds as they welcome and greet each new day with a song of praise to God?
Aware of my worries, I also quickly thought of the passage from the Gospel where Jesus tells us not too worry, using the example of the birds of the sky:
“Look at the birds of the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?” (Matthew 6: 26)
Despite all of these insights, I still had a restless night. Then, at the beginning of this day, I went to prayer, and guess what today’s Gospel is?
Jesus said to his disciples:
“No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” (Matthew 6: 24-34)
The last line of the Gospel brings us back to the ways the demon can torment us. If the demon can keep us distracted about the things of tomorrow, which we have very little control over, then he is also keeping us from doing God’s work today!
Be at peace, my friends. Let us put our life in God’s hands. Let us trust in God’s providence, mercy and love! Let us be about the work and will of God today.0