Send out Your light and Your truth, that they might guide me. Psalm 43:3
Be my God of joy and gladness. Be my God of righteousness and justice. Be my God of love and truth.
I will walk in the presence of the LORD in the land of the living.
What I desire: The gift of courage, faith, and hope to fully choose the path God desires, to make the decision God wants and then to implement it with all my strength and constancy I can.
There is nothing freer than a heart that sees only the life of God in the most deadly perils and troubles. –de Caussade, The Joy of Full Surrender
So sometimes I wake up at night so full of dark thoughts that I can barely breathe. So I read. I have to say Wuthering Heights has not been a good choice; it is certainly not a lighthearted chunk of unread bucket list classic lit. I longed to throw it across the room, but me being me, I just set in neatly and firmly on the dresser. Nevermore.
And I turned to another classic: G. K. Chesterton’s St. Francis. And rather than reading about a morose young man tangled up and tied down in bitterness and accusations, I read of a man who even among the saints he has the air of a sort of eccentric, if one may use the word of one whose eccentricity consisted in always turning towards the centre.
It is commonly in a somewhat cynical sense that men have said, " Blessed is he that expecteth nothing, for he shall not be disappointed.” It was in a wholly happy and enthusiastic sense that St. Francis said, " Blessed is he who expecteth nothing, for he shall enjoy everything."
He was obedient but not dependent. And he was as free as the wind, he was almost wildly free, in his relation to that world around him. The world around him was, as has been noted, a network of feudal and family and other forms of dependence. The whole idea of St. Francis was that the Little Brothers should be like little fishes who could go freely in and out of that net. They could do so precisely because they were small fishes and in that sense even slippery fishes. There was nothing that the world could hold them by; for the world catches us mostly by the fringes of our garments, the futile externals of our lives.
A man had to be thin to pass always through the bars and out of the cage; he had to travel light in order to ride so fast and so far.
Yesterday I casually asked one of my students, a senior, what her plans were for college. One little gift she has is that her father is a professor at the university, so she can go to any school in the Western Consortium for basically free. And she answered that all she ever wanted to do with her life, since our Mexicali trip last spring, was to give God’s love to little street children. Did I think she needed to go to college to do that? And as we talked about gap years abroad, and professional skills to hone, and which country would she like me to hook her up with, all I could really think about is how she fairly trembled with joy. Her face glowed. Her voice shook. Her eyes sparkled.
Be my God of joy and gladness.