These past few months have been a bit lifechanging to say the least. From starting college for the first time, to celebrating a year in my relationship, to adjusting to being on my own, a lot has changed, and my soul has noticed.
To be blunt, these past few months have been distracting, and it feels as if Jesus and I never have time to chat anymore. All of those amazing spiritual adventures I had experienced, the amazing revelations, feeling the Spirit move within me, partaking in the innermost depths of God’s heart, all of those moments suddenly vanished when I got to college. Sure, I’d still read the bible and I’d still ask Jesus for help and say hello, but it didn’t feel the same. As the months kept coming, the distance seemed to grow.
Time and time again, I would make time for prayer, and yet feel as if nothing was happening. Exasperated, I began to wonder if maybe the reason why God seemed so far away was because I wasn’t trying hard enough. I began to doubt myself. Maybe there was something wrong with me.
Had I been making my relationship with God up? Had I closed off my heart, even though I had been trying to close the gap between God and I? The thoughts kept coming and coming. My scrupulosity kicked in, and my anxiety teamed up with it.
After months of anxiety and tireless wondering, I heard God’s small whisper during mass. There was nothing special about this mass, except that when I prayed to Jesus before the mass started, I prayed to his mother also.
“Mary, here is my anxiety. Thank you for giving me such a small cross to carry in order so that I can be closer to your son in my suffering and his. I don’t want to waste my suffering. Please take my suffering and bestow your grace on whatever you want.”
For the first time, I thanked God for the dilemma I was faced with. All of a sudden, mass became what I had so longed it to be again: A place of rest. By thanking God for my trials, and giving Mary my suffering for the sake of others, I experienced a subtle yet strong sense of peace not only in mass, but throughout the day. I can confidently say that this was the first day of college where there had been little to no anxious thoughts.
You see, we shouldn’t just thank God for the good. Each trial we face shapes us into who we are. Even in my anxiety, it has taught me that although the fear won’t diminsh completely, I can still trust God to see me through the end of the day. I realized that Thanking God for our suffering pleases Him more than thanking Him for the good stuff. I understood that giving my suffering for others, was exactly what Jesus did on the cross. One of the greatest saints of the twentith century agrees:
“Christ goes towards his suffering, aware of its saving power. It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls.” – JPII
As thanksgiving comes around, perhaps reflect on the trials you’re facing and see why God might have placed this in your life. How can you offer up your suffering for the sake of others?
Give thanks to God, in everything and give to Mary all things. Remember, don’t waste your suffering. It’s through our sufferings in which we can help the church gain great saints, and it is through the suffering of others and their intercession in which we recieve abundant graces.