The more I think about the human suffering in our world and my desire to offer a healing response, the more I realize how crucial it is not to allow myself to become paralyzed by feelings of impotence and guilt. More important than ever is to be very faithful to my vocation to do well the few things I am called to do and hold on to the joy and peace they bring me. I must resist the temptation to let the forces of darkness pull me into despair and make me one more of their many victims. I have to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and on those who followed him and trust that I will know how to live out my mission to be a sign of hope in this world. - Henri Nouwen
These words from one of my favorite authors really resonate with me today. It is so easy for me to become paralyzed by feelings of impotence and guilt. We are not all the same, of course, and I know many people who are fueled by anger, which can be a powerful force for re-forming our world. Sometimes, I wish that were true of me, but it is simply not how I am wired. Truthfully, I tend to feel anxiety and guilt before I feel anger. And these feelings can be paralyzing, as opposed to motivating. So, for me, it is important to recognize this about myself, and to live by this teaching from Henri Nouwen.
So, today I renew my resolve to be faithful to my vocation, and to do the few things that I am called to do as well as I can. I will keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, and trust that I will know how to live out my mission to be a sign of hope in this world.
And when I am not sure whether I am doing this, I will remind myself of a prayer from another of my favorite authors, Thomas Merton, who trusts in this prayer that the desire to please God is itself pleasing to God. And all that I can ever hope and pray for is that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. - Thomas Merton