Sherry Antonetti ponders her need to pay more attention to God's call to do what love demands.
As a mom and a teacher, I’m used to creating the list and the set battle plan for getting things done. As a Catholic, I’m still working on that docility of spirit to hear and respond to God’s will. I know what is needed; I just need to will to do it.
I know I need to eat healthy and exercise. I eat junk and don’t. I know I need to read, research, and edit more, but there’s a Top Chef Last Chance Kitchen I haven’t seen yet.
We know that this pandemic has encouraged sloth emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and physically. It compounds our flaws because we can mask them with caution, protection, and exhaustion from managing all the woes of the world.
Last week, I came upon a phrase that I knew when I read it, when I wrote it down, that this was the theme for the year. “Today, do what love demands.” It’s attributed to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. It’s become a not-so-gentle jab to the spirit when I would prefer not to. It’s a reminder that the Holy Spirit is to be brought to all we encounter. We are the Body of Christ, sent after the Mass to flood the Earth and renew it by what we think, do, and say.
The problem with recognizing that God is speaking to you is the very Jonah response of, “Are you kidding me?” and “I’m out of here.” The problem with recognizing you know what God wants means not doing it is direct defiance. The problem with recognizing it, agreeing with it, and knowing it is true is, that you have to will to do it even when you would rather, somehow, it would be someone else’s job.
“Is there someone else you could pick God? Like ... anyone else?”
However, the answer to that is, “No, but it is still your choice.” Knowing, “Today do what Love demands,” is a command from the Heart of Christ to the heart of me means: what is standing in the way of doing God’s will? Me. Me and my big mouth for receiving the Eucharist, for knowing God is, for knowing in my bones with everything, that Christ is what we are promised, and all and more is what God is owed from us for all Christ has poured out.
The funny thing is, every time we follow this phrase, and my husband and I have taken turns saying it to each other as obstacles and problems reveal themselves, grace abounds and we have to wonder: why were we being obstacles? Why were we being obstinate? A new challenge rears its head and it’s like we forget that God just weathered us through the last one and the cycle starts all over.
Every grace we receive reminds us we are to say, “Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will” and wait for God’s still small voice. Every time, no matter how hard the burden, and this past year has been full of challenges big and small, God offers to let us rest on His shoulders, and we keep discovering, what love asks, if we love, we cannot but do, because loving others demands no less.
So what I’m learning is to whisper, “Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will, and I pray, I will to do it willingly” because I know, today God will ask me to love, and all I do will reveal, if I do what love must.
Copyright 2021 Sherry Antonetti
Image: Canva Pro
About the Author
Sherry Antonetti is a Catholic published author, freelance writer and part-time teacher. She lives with her husband and 10 children just outside of Washington, DC, where she's busy editing her upcoming book, A Doctor a Day, to be published by Sophia Institute Press. You can find her other writings linked up at her blog, Chocolate For Your Brain! or on Amazon.