21 May Listen and Respond
Yesterday, I had the utmost pleasure of attending my first Latin Mass alongside my parish youth ministry core team.
At first, I was reluctant and hesitant to attend due to how much earlier the mass was going to be to the ones that I typically attend weekly in the evenings. My good friend kept encouraging me to go because it would be beneficial for my soul, but I was stubborn in my own ways. However, due to the overwhelming amount of graces and blessings that the Lord has showered me within the past week, I truly felt a huge calling and gravitational “pull” to attend the Latin mass.
Regardless of what I initially felt about attending the mass, I knew that I needed to and wanted to do something special for my Lord. He was blessing me with so many opportunities that I would have never dreamed for myself, yet I was still hesitant on offering an hour or two of worship for Him? I knew something needed to change.
I needed to change; specifically, my heart and my attitude.
My reasons for not wanting to attend was ultimately selfish. I kept thinking of lazy reasons and excuses that took me away from bonding alongside my core members, and experiencing a new different form of Mass that I haven’t encountered before.
The Lord changed my perspective when He reminded me of how much more I am able to do and accomplish if I just trusted in Him alone.
In the dance of life, I am the dominant one. I am that dancer that dances to the beat of her own drum, unwilling to let go, and not letting others take the lead. But the Lord is patient and does not force His way to me. He is a gentleman and kindly knocks in my guarded heart if He can enter and if I am willing, He will lead me.
Getting to terms with my decision of self-denial and attending Latin Mass today, despite the distance and time, felt like dancing with the Lord.
I was wobbly and clumsy on the dance floor, yet the Lord’s strong presence kept me up on my feet. He kept His eyes on me, reminding me to always focus on Him, and to trust that He has everything under control. I had to learn that I couldn’t rely on my own strength alone, because it is through Him that I can do all things (see Philippians 4:13).
He led me into this beautiful waltz that freed me away from my shell. I was able to step out from my comfort zone, allowing the Lord to take full control of what happens next. I couldn’t be stubborn or be set in my ways. He wanted me to listen and follow His lead.
He wanted me to be comfortable, so He showed me the graces of trusting in Him.
The moment I stepped inside the parish, my heart burst with so much joy. I witnessed a vast sea of women who were all wearing a chapel veil (or mantilla). As a young woman who recently started wearing a veil, I have always been a little self conscious of what others might think of my devotion.
But in that moment, I felt at peace because I knew in my heart that it was where I was meant to be. I no longer “stood out” in the mass, but one of many who were reverently humbling themselves before the Lord. Women of all ages were wearing a veil. The colours ranged from the traditional black and white to basic colours like pink and purple. It was truly a magnificent sight that I will never forget.
I felt at peace knowing that I am so deeply loved by the Lord. It was so evident in the way that He led me closer to Him, that I was where I was meant to be.
The Latin Mass allowed me to witness and view mass in an entirely different light. From the beautiful choir singing, the Latin phrases and prayers, to the overwhelming scent of incense, I felt His presence so strongly inside the parish.
I kept praying that the Lord would reveal what He wanted me to learn from this experience, and to my surprise, it came during communion. As a woman (like many others) who is battling temptations and sin, I couldn’t receive the Eucharist that day. It saddened me deeply because it felt as if I was being left out from a party. I didn’t receive my “goody bag”. Of course, the Eucharist has more significant meaning than a simple “goody bag”.
But in that moment when the priest gave me a blessing, I felt this huge thirst inside me. It reminded me of what Fr. Gaitley explained in his book, 33 Days of Morning Glory, about the thirst that Jesus had for us, and what St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) had felt in the last remaining years of her life.
“By accepting her own thirst (with Mary’s help) and not running away from it, Mother Teresa could understand the thirst of others – both Jesus on the Cross and Jesus in her neighbour…”
Like St. Teresa of Calcutta, I felt the Lord’s thirst for us. I felt his thirst for me, and my soul. In turn, I longed for Him, too. I wanted Him to be with me, and to be a part of me. Most importantly, I wanted to be with Him.
I felt weak without Him, as if I was reverted back without my trusty dancing partner. I felt alone and longed for His presence in my life so much more. It was at that moment where I knew that I was meant to offer all that I had to Him. I was meant to give up and lay down all my worries, my anxieties, and my fears on the foot of His cross, and to willingly let go of my baggage so that He can work through me. I was learning how to listen to His call, and to respond to Him, willingly without restraints.
After experiencing the beauty of allowing the Lord to take the lead, all I ever want to do is to continually dance with Him for all eternity. I want to experience the goodness that He desires to show me, what He desires within me, and what I am meant to share with those around me. I want to no longer fear the unknown, but to trust that the Lord has a plan that will ultimately lead me closer to be who I am meant to be.
It may start with one small “yes”, but it is this little “yes-es” that allows us to trust in the Lord’s lead to much bigger “yes-es” that fundamentally leads us closer to Him.
My darlings, trust in Him. He has it all under control. He always has.
Will you let him take the lead?