I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on abandonment and what it really means to be totally abandoned to the Lord. I’ve been praying a prayer of abandonment (http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/prayers/abandonment.htm) since the beginning of my discernment every night, so for like four or five years now, but it keeps changing meaning. I’ve recently come across the song My Heart is Yours by Kristian Stanfill which touches on abandonment. Also, one of my top favorite saints, St. Therese of Lisiuex, is a huge advocate of complete and total abandonment to the Lord. Because of this and because of the place I am in my continued discernment, abandonment has been on my mind.
The prayer of abandonment has always been a challenge for me to pray, particularly: “I am ready for all, I accept all.” Am I really ready for anything? When I started to pray this prayer I was just in the beginning of my discernment, it was even before I classified it as discernment. At that time I definitely was not ready for all and I did not accept all. In fact, I was strongly opposed to the vocation of religious life. However, I still prayed that prayer. I committed to praying it until I believed what I was praying. And at some point in time in the last four or five years I did believe it and I did truly want only what the Lord wanted. I was convinced of His total and complete love for me. I knew that He wouldn’t ask anything of me to bring me harm or to “ruin my life”. I trusted that if the Lord was calling me to something then it would bring me joy and fulfillment. I had reached the point that my desires and the Lord’s desires for me were the same and all I longed for was to be in His will.
For some reason, I’ve lost this level of trust and abandonment in my life lately. When I pray the prayer of abandonment before I go to bed I don’t fully mean what I’m saying. I’ve gone back to not being sure whether I really am ready for anything the Lord has in store for me. I still long for the Lord’s will in my life but I feel like I’ve gone backwards. Instead of being able to pray honestly and with a pure heart, “Lord do with me what you will” I’ve gone back to praying “help me to want to want what you want for me.”
Part of our journey in faith is stretching and growing. To be able to do that we have to struggle, we have to wrestle with things that we don’t necessarily feel comfortable with. I feel like I’m at one of those places now. I am struggling and working with the sacrifices that I will be making because they are finally real. With the date pretty much set for when I will be leaving this world, I am clearly able to see what I will be leaving behind. I’ve started to have to deal with “lasts” in my life. I am being bombarded with all of the negative parts of joining religious life and am stuck focusing on all of that instead of seeing both sides clearly and purely.
I know in my heart that the Lord’s plan is best. I trust that the Lord loves me with immeasurable generosity, but for some reason I can’t get it to resonate and stick. I want with all my heart to mean the line in the Kristian Stanfill song where he says,”You are my God, You are enough. You are my God, whatever the cost.” I’m currently wrestling with all of this and, in the midst of this struggle, becoming more aware of the true sacrifice that comes with loving someone. No matter the circumstance, every vocation is a vocation of love. Whether the Lord is calling you to be married, a priest, or a religious, He is calling you to love. He is asking us all to give totally of ourselves for another. Sometimes it’s easy to do that and other times we have to make huge sacrifices and do things that we really don’t want to do, for the other person, because we love them. And through that sacrifice will come great joy and fulfillment. So, I’ll continue to pray the prayer of abandonment and sing along with My Heart is Yours hoping that some day soon I will truly mean what I am saying again. In the mean time, I’ll just trust that the Lord will use what I am able to give Him.