Your Journey Through Life: Overcoming Our Doubts
by Fr. Peter deSousa
The Prayer of Abandonment to God
Father, I abandon myself into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart.
For I love you Lord,
And so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
Without reserve and with boundless confidence.
For you are my Father.
About 18 years ago I blessed a marriage between a Hindu boy and a Catholic girl. The girl had met with an accident while they were courting and was paralysed below the waist. But their love for each other was so great that they decided to get married, some two years after the accident. God blessed their union with two children. She has a responsible job outside the home. They entertain and lead a very loving and happy life together. This physical handicap has not in any way diminished their love or life together as a couple or as parents. Their love is based on trust.
I look at so many marriages where couples are blessed in so many ways, but there is suspicion, mistrust, selfishness, false values, competition between the spouses and egoism that prevents them from being united in love. If a couple believe in God's wonderful, fatherly love for them , no matter what difficulties they may face, they will trust in Him and overcome all their doubts.
People do not trust each other, because the other is perfect and without faults. Your children trust you because they need you to love, nurture and protect them, especially when they are helpless. Learn from them and become like children, if you want to enter the kingdom of Heaven. You have to entrust yourselves to God and also to your spouse, because He has given you to each other as life-companions.
Children's first steps are always uncertain. They stumble and fall until they get the confidence to walk alone and upright. A couple goes through a period of adjustment, when they get married. Each has to learn new responses, if they are to live in mutual giving and receiving. In the different stages of marriage, new responses are learned and each one has to entrust oneself to the other. This is not easy, when one experiences helplessness. But believing in the love of the other, one decides to trust.
Do not pretend to be perfect and prove you are superior to your spouse. One may be a better cook or be more patient and understanding or a better listener. Each one is blessed by God in many ways so that together you may build a home and parent your children.
Many people are haunted by their past. If they did not receive contact comfort as infants or their needs were not consistently met, there could be a lack of basic trust. If they grew up in insecurity and constant tension between their parents, they may lack trust, because most of us catch God from our parents and from being brought up in a loving home. If parents do not keep their promises to children, the children will never be sure that what is promised will be theirs or not. So they fail to trust. Inner healing is required to overcome this. In extreme cases, people can become suspicious and paranoia, always fearing that they are being watched and spied upon. Sometimes spouses have experienced infidelity and after that they will not trust each other. If one has an alcoholic or drug or gambling dependency, the spouse may lack trust. Both spouses have to realise that they are helpless over the addiction and trust in God one day at a time.
Some spouses evade the present moment and live anxious, mistrustful lives. Right now they can begin again and establish a relationship where they decide to trust and to entrust themselves to the other in love. The water of their relationship is once more turned into wine, as they recommit themselves to God who calls them to be a sacrament and to each other anew. I have witnessed so many miracles of this sort take place on Marriage Encounter weekends and after that, as long as the couple decides daily to live their sacramental calling with God's grace and help.
Some spouses live in fear and anxiety of the future. None of us can foresee, with certainty what the future will bring. Life is unpredictable. So many may meet with accidents or lose their jobs or emigrate or become widowed. Children may not succeed in life according to their parent'' expectations. But if we are still and allow God to be God in our lives, he will always provide for us , because we are more precious that the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.
Blessed are those couples who enthrone the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in their homes and allow Him to be Lord of their lives.
"Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you" is a prayer that has come down from one generation to the next. There is a story told of a boy who was trapped in a burning house on the top floor. His father stood on the ground and shouted out to the kid to jump from the window, assuring him that he would catch him. The boy answered: "Daddy, I cannot see you with all the smoke." His Father replied: "Son I can see you. Jump and I will be in the position beneath to catch you." Some times, we cannot see God because of the smoke. But He can always see us. He is always there to catch us.
Our lack of trust may come from our upbringing, the media, our feelings or experiences of betrayal or being let down when we trusted. We need inner healing so that we may be freed to trust again and live in the present moment, one day at a time. Why should we remain imprisoned in the past or in fear of the future, which is uncertain and unpredictable for all.
A couple, who were married for 62 years, sent me a card with these words on it: "Our lives are in God's loving hands in everything we do. He is with us constantly and always sees us through. We'll never walk alone, for with His great and perfect care, He takes care of His own. So any time that trials or burdens seem to come our way, we find strength and hope in knowing God is with us everyday."
Marriage Encounter lists some barriers to trust, that lie in negative attitudes, that married couples have and cling to:
- Denial that there is a problem
- Fix the problem without trying to understand and accept each other
- I have a right to remain angry
- Keeping score / I deserve more
- Peace at any price
- It's a waste of time
- If you loved me.
- Me first
- Fear of conflict
- Self centred
- I have a right to escape
- It's not my fault
- It's not my job
- You don't care/poor me
- Taking for granted
- Independence/I will do my own thing
- I have a right to my time
Such negative attitudes prevent us from walking humbly with our God and entrusting ourselves to God and to each other. Psalm 23 encourages us to trust in the Good Shepherd who accompanies you on your conjugal journey.
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