Our faith demands our life--different depending on one's stage in life, yet just as crucial regardless of its specificity. This word 'demand' requires from us an obligation, a responsibility, a duty that must be fulfilled. Everyone--baptized or not, Christian or not, young or not--needs to discern how we are being called to put into practice the Truths we proclaim. So, what then do we believe? Have I succumb to the lies that I must be self-sufficient and trust only in me, myself and I? Do I believe that this world is all I have and so I will do what I have to in order to succeed according to the world's standard? Or do I trust in God, in the Supernatural Being that existed before me and will exist after me? An abandonment to Divine Providence must be accepted here: one consents all control to Him who knows our every need and want, and will satisfy us; He will fulfill us, He will bless us in abundance. If that level of faith is what I hold as my foundation then I have nothing to fear--my free will is upheld because our Merciful Lord 'heals as He wounds' (my mind is blown every time I pray these words--Friday Daytime Prayer Ant. 3, Week II).
God loves us so much that He chose to partake in our flesh and blood so that we may share in His Divnity. He accepted death willingly, so that we, who though so undeserving, may have eternal life. When you love, you sacrifice, you suffer, you live for the other. This comes at a cost to us; yet when authentic, it doesn't compare to the joy received (not always tangibly felt) but known in the depths of one's soul. If we live what we proclaim, then the demand we are invited to take ownership of is nothing less than counter-cultural. I have to 'labor' in virtue. When I want to give up, I must fight. When pain has gripped my every bone, I choose to offer the ache (which is very real) for another. I never compromise what I know is true.
Yet we live in a broken world (which really only means we are constantly reminded of our humble need for a Savior and that we are not it). Every moment is not always going to be to our liking. Decisions might be made that we disagree with or that may even oppose some of the previous statements of belief which we claimed as foundational. Our life is even more demanded of us at this point. If I am confronted with opposition, I can't quit and concede to falsity. I reject those lies which seem to challenge me, but I remain firm and confident that Who I live to serve and love is: with me, guiding me, protecting me, directing me, sustaining me. I keep trusting especially when all feelings of emotional consolation have left and actively wait in hope.
My brothers and sisters, no matter the present situation in your life, in the world, at your job--your life is being demanded from you. Are you willing to put forth the effort and live with an intensity beyond understanding. We will not comprehend the why to every what, but can we willingly choose the present even though everything seems unknown. God delights in our striving, so fall into His arms, close your eyes and rest assured that you are loved, you are His, and He will NEVER let you go! I told my sister the other day, sometimes God throws us up in the air and plays catch with us, but we always come back down right into His extended arms of love.