Mary felt like she was lost. She really couldn’t figure out what God was up to in her life lately. So many of the things she could count on were vanishing away. And now, with all the restrictions of the current situation being imposed on everyone, she felt trapped and very alone. Although Mary understood the need to stay at home, it wasn’t helping her emotionally especially since she lost her husband just over a year ago. Seeing her grandchildren virtually and the rest of her family, or waving from the driveway, was getting a little old now.
Mary had always been a faith-filled person, but she thought to herself, “I seemed to have lost my way”. I just wish it could be like it was before—-life seemed so much simpler then—-and happier.
Mary also felt frustrated that she couldn’t control her weaknesses. She still allowed herself to become angry and say mean things to those closest to her. She still got too caught up in gossip, and was quick to judge others. She also wasn’t the most forgiving of persons. She held onto resentments and that would feed her anger. As she listened to Mass this Sunday and heard the Gospel passage where Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” Mary thought to herself, “How I wish I could believe this.”
On this Mother’s Day, I think there are many who feel like this person in the story. Probably Thomas’s question is more suited to where we are coming from these days: “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” We would like a simple, clearly marked road to direct us through the often dark wood of our lives.
What is Jesus’ reply to this? “I am the way, and the truth and the life.” In other words, look to me instead of the plan. Ask God to help you not to give in to your fears and anger. So, what we are offered is not a “map” but a person. It’s better to start with Christ rather than just give in to our emotions. Yet, relying on the person of Christ may seem risky business. A map or a plan seems so much more clear. But how often does the map still get us lost anyway?
Take the person rather than the map. The person of Christ will teach you to trust. The person of Christ will teach you patience and perseverance. The person of Christ will guide you along the way. When both the way and the traveler with us is Jesus, you should journey with the greatest confidence.
Let me leave you with a prayer from Jesus Calling. It’s a good one to pray when we are down on ourselves and confused with what God is doing:
Don’t be so hard on yourself. I can bring good even out of your mistakes. Your finite mind tends to look backward, longing to undo decisions you have come to regret. This is a waste of time and energy, leading only to frustration. Instead of floundering in the past, release your mistakes to Me. Look to Me in trust, anticipating that My infinite creativity can weave good choices and bad into a lovely design.
Because you are human, you will continue to make mistakes. Thinking that you should live an error-free life is symptomatic of pride. Your failures can be a source of blessing, humbling you and giving you empathy for other people in their weaknesses. Best of all, failure highlights your dependence on Me. I am able to bring beauty out of the confusion of your mistakes. Trust Me, and watch to see what I will do.
Saying a prayer like this will help us to better understand what Jesus means when he says, “I am the way and the truth and the life”.