God is not asking us to do this alone.
This past week, I had the privilege of spending time with 20 other Ignatian educators for our second week of a program called the Seminars in Ignatian Leadership. We spoke a lot about pilgrimage, journey, and cannonball moments (moments that knock you breathless and have the potential to lead you to change your life).
I entered the week with some unexplained anxiety, honestly. I was tense and uncertain and not quite 100% into what we were doing for a host of reasons – not a one related to the incredible interactions we were having despite myself. It really took until Wednesday for me to feel the tension disappear. It took until mid-week for me to recognize the community that was forming around me. On Friday, our last day, we were given this quote “… It is terrible to walk alone, terrible and tedious, walking in community, with friends, with those who love us: this helps us, it helps us to arrive precisely at the destination where we must arrive.” (Pope Francis) I realized by the end of this week that every one of the wonderful Ignatian educators that I have the privilege of encountering through my work are a part of my journey… even those I may only see once in a decade… if I let them be.
This Sunday’s readings are tough. We are still working our way through the Sermon on the Mount. So, we hear a lot about following the law and the Ten Commandments and letting the wisdom of the Holy Spirit guide us. We hear a lot about what we should be doing to follow God. And all of this is important. Sometimes, however, I think we can look at a list like this and get discouraged. We can look at the other tenets of our faith that ask us to love and care for even our enemies and feel inept.
Perhaps this is because we read through this Gospel thinking “How can I do this?” Instead of looking through this Gospel and realizing we can not do this alone. We need other people to journey with us. We need other people to help us discern whether or not we are following the path God has set for us. Most of all, however, we need God.
God is not asking us to do this alone. God is also not saying we will be perfect. God is asking us to trust, to have faith, to push forward, and to ask for help along the way.
I have heard another quote many times, but it was brought up this week as well, and it seems relevant here. We must remember – “God doesn’t call the equipped, God equips the called.” Seek wisdom, seek understanding, seek to follow God’s commandments… but do not forget to ask for help.
My prayer for all of us this week is to recognize those that have walked and are walking with us on our journey. Let us be grateful for them and allow their presence to set our hearts at ease as we move forward in faith.