Kianna Garmanian, Staff Writer
“Dear Kianna, I’m currently struggling with my faith because I am going through some difficult moments and daily battles. Since I have been so down lately, it has been harder for me to follow Christ, pray, read the Bible, etc. I’m not sure what to do or how to strengthen my relationship with Jesus. Do you have any words of inspiration?” -Anonymous
To whomever sent this letter, I would like to thank you for your openness and honesty, as I am certain that most individuals can relate to the feelings and experiences you described. Often in life, we do not fully understand who we are, who we are meant to be, or the purpose of our lives. Some days may feel empty, long, endless, or incomplete. You may find yourself doubting your worth and importance. How am I supposed to follow Jesus during difficult moments in my life? During these low moments, as you mentioned, it may seem impossible to spread the good news when the last thing you want to do is smile. You probably feel stuck in a whirlwind of negativity as you face challenges that seem too overbearing.
The truth is, we all experience low moments in our lives and have crosses that seem nearly impossible to carry. So, the question is this: How can you and I continue to serve Christ amidst all the daily challenges and setbacks we face? My dear friend, let me share with you a passage from a book I am reading by St. Francis de Sales, titled “Roses Among Thorns”
“How happy you will be if while you are in the world you keep Jesus Christ in your heart! Remember the principle lesson he left to us: ‘Learn of me, for I am meek, and humble of heart.’ At every moment give such a heart to our Savior, and let it be the heart of your heart. You will see that to the extent that this holy and considerate friend (Jesus) takes up a place in our mind, the world with its vanities and trifles will leave you.”
Offer your heart, your very being, and your entirety to Christ each and every day. Try beginning the day with a simple prayer and tell the Lord that you give your heart to him and wish to do his will. Allow your soul to connect with his and offer up the crosses you bear for the goodwill of others. Jesus himself says in Matthew 16:24, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Christ knows that this life is not easy, and so he offers himself to assist us in all we do. Even when it’s difficult to pray or when you are not in the mood, dig deep within your being and trust in the Lord. Trust that he is with you and will never leave your side.
In fact, in moments of suffering, Christ draws nearer to you and his Sacred Heart showers you with plentiful love, mercy, and grace. Therefore, do not be discouraged or lose hope because our God is greater than all pain, all trials, and all suffering. Take up your cross, follow Christ, and know that he will give you all the necessary graces to do this. We shouldn’t be afraid of the crosses in our lives, since they do not define us. Our identity is in Christ- we belong to him, and as his sons and daughters, we are infinitely loved. It is through our challenges that we draw closer to Jesus and unite our pains with the pains he suffered on the cross, which is both sacred and beautiful.
Let me leave you with a final quote from Father Mike Scmitz: “I may be afraid, but I’m not alone, God, because you are with me. I don’t know where this path is taking me, Lord, but I’m not afraid, because you are with me. I may be in the midst of great pain, great sorrow and great uncertainty, but I’m not afraid, because you are with me. Today, I invite you to choose joy, knowing that God is with you.”
May God bless you on your journey.
PULL OUT QUOTE: Therefore, do not be discouraged or lose hope because our God is greater than all pain, all trials, and all suffering. Take up your cross, follow Christ, and know that he will give you all the necessary graces to do this.