You Give the Strength to Me

Sunday, April 10, 2011

photo courtesy of We Heart It
... a strength I never had

"I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die." (Jn 11:25-26)

Happy Sunday, friends! 

This morning, I woke up, pulled on a navy and white polka dotted shift, slipped on a headband and headed off to St. Joseph's 9 am morning mass with my Bible in Kate Spade over one arm and an iced tea in the other hand. Although it's only been week 2, I have now dubbed this weekly ritual of Sunday mass- something I look forward to - and yes, these glorious Sunday mornings are very dear to me. I cherish the time of reflection before mass when I listen to a little Dave Matthews and/or Snow Patrol as I cross the Montlake bridge and drive towards the neighborhoods of Capitol Hill. I am absolutely in love with the beautiful trees and quaint surroundings of the parish, the stained glass windows and dim candle lights. All around me, I feel it -- security, peace and ultimately, God's love surrounding me. 

In today's Gospel according to John, we listened to the "Raising of Lazarus" - which was acted out in song and dance instead of Fr. Whitney SJ's usual reading from the pulpit. Although I was a bit taken back by this, the dance was moving, inspiring and invoked more emotion/understanding than if I were to just simply listen to the words being read. The verse above, from this Gospel, calls us to reevaluate our faith and questions how strong our faith is in God? 

Questions to ponder: How much do you trust the good Lord? Do you truly believe in Him or are you having trouble with doubt and skepticism? 
Believe me when I say that I have dealt with these questions - oh so many times on numerous occasions. The fact that I'm still here and fully putting my trust in God and believing in Him with my whole heart -- well, that's a pure testament of how moving and influential this faith journey has been in my life, especially the people who have helped me along the way (i.e. my mother, Father Pat and others). Their dedication and inexplainable love can really change person for the better.
What I've realized is that no matter what happens, in the end all of it comes back to one thing-- the roads lead back to Him.

As early as age 5 when I took Sunday bible classes with the other mini-Kinder kids at Holy Trinity, we learned that God is the Alpha and the Omega -- the beginning and the end. In high school, this idea was reiterated with my freshmen religion class, instructed by Fr. Pat with the explanation of a typical Catholic's faith journey. In the beginning, when we are young - we are closest to God, and at the end, when we have a family and begin to grow old, nearing the end of our life - that is when we come back to Him. It is our natural instinct. Thus, it is with the beginning and the end that God is with us, and we are with Him. The in-between... well, that's what makes each of our journeys so unique. 

This is what makes us... us. 

So with today's Gospel, I thought about how difficult it was for Mary and Martha to see their brother die. Yet, amidst such tragedy, they affirmed their belief in Jesus -- because as they said, if He were there, Lazarus would not have been dead. They believed in Him, the resurrection and the life everlasting. With that, Lazarus was awaken and came back to life. 

Through Jesus -- through God, there is eternal life. 

Today, I ask of one thing: 

Lord, please give me the strength - a strength I never had - the ability to understand the Word and the willingness to open my heart and place my trust in Your hands. Help me to always see life beyond death and to truly believe, forever and always.

Today's title was inspired by Snow Patrol's "Give Me the Strength." 

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