Be Satisfied*

Photo by Fischer Twins on Unsplash

A few years ago I read this post on David’s blog with a long prayer attributed to St. Anthony of Padua called Be Satisfied With Me. On its surface I don’t disagree with the concept. He writes:

Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone,
To have a deep soul relationship with another,
To be loved thoroughly and exclusively.

But to a Christian, God says, “No, not until you are satisfied,
Fulfilled and content with being loved by Me alone,
With giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me.”

It is true that we should all be satisfied with God alone before we need other people.

I was reminded of this poem/prayer by a coworker when I was having a particularly rough day being okay with my singleness. The women in our chat were a mix of married people, dating people, and single people. One remarked that this prayer was always a comfort to her. I said that I had seen it before, but it’d been a while since I read through it again.

Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found,
Will you be capable of the perfect human relationship,
That I have planned for you.
You will never be united to another
Until you are united with Me.
Exclusive of anyone or anything else.
Exclusive of any other desires or longings.
I want you to stop planning, to stop wishing, and allow Me to give you
The most thrilling plan existing . . . one you cannot imagine.
I want you to have the best. Please allow Me to bring it to you.

As I read through it though, I found myself only becoming upset rather an comforted. I was reminded of my inadequacies, my unworthiness, and how I’m not enough yet. I know that wasn’t St. Anthony’s intention. I believe the intention of the poem/prayer is for us to be reminded that the Lord comes first in our lives. Additional human love is gravy. If we aren’t satisfied with the Lord’s love, then we won’t be satisfied with another person’s love. Only God can fill the “God shaped hole in our hearts.”

That is something that I believe.

However, this poem/prayer lays out a condition on the Lord’s goodness. It doesn’t say, “wait on me, I’ve got great things for you.” Instead it says, “You’re waiting for these great things because you haven’t trusted in me enough yet, you aren’t holy enough yet, you aren’t fully satisfied.”

And then, when you’re ready, I’ll surprise you with a love
Far more wonderful than you could dream of.

You see, until you are ready, and until the one I have for you is ready,
I am working even at this moment
To have both of you ready at the same time.
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me
And the life I prepared for you,
You won’t be able to experience the love that exemplified your relationship with Me.
And this is perfect love.

It reminds me that there’s something wrong with me today, that’s why I’m not married. I’m alone because there’s something missing from the love I have to give to another person, not because it’s just dumb luck. I don’t think that’s the intention of the poem/prayer, but words have meaning, they create worlds.

This poem/prayer is saying that daily Mass, the regular reading of Scripture, earnest novenas, a devotion to the Rosary, honest praise and heartfelt prayer time each morning and evening just isn’t enough. Believing that I am satisfied with His love just isn’t enough. I’m still missing something, some magic pill that no one’s told me about and no one who has found it (ie: married people who have found their love) will share about. It implies that something is lacking in me and that is why I’m unmarried while all of my friends are married. It implies that once you have found that special love that the Lord has in store for you, you won’t doubt Him again, struggle with prayer time, or have any struggles in your life. Because you’re fully satisfied with Him, how could you ever struggle? And every married person I know will assure me that’s not true … even if they don’t say it, I can see it plain as day.

The poem/prayer isn’t helpful for me. I dare say that it’s harmful and is someone’s odd attempt at explaining why there are so many great Catholic single women. [I know there have got to be some great Catholic single men out there longing for a spouse, but I don’t know them … if I did I might not be in this current waiting state. Okay, there probably are some out there, just not in my general vicinity. If you’re out there, give a shout … I know a lot of amazing single women you might be interested in knowing.]

When the truth is the reason for all of this waiting is that we live in a broken world, not that we are individually the only ones broken. Our world is broken.

And the long and short of why I’m still single, or you are still single, is that “we haven’t met the right person at the right time” not that “we aren’t satisfied with the Lord.” No one on earth is fully satisfied with the Lord, that’s a condition of our humanity, our brokenness. We are all longing for more because this world will never satisfy. Terrible things will happen, suffering will be presented, and we will wonder where is God in all of this. We might turn to him directly, but we will still be longing for something more. Longing for a world that isn’t this one. Longing for the time in Heaven when all will be revealed and nothing will be in the way of fully experiencing the love the Lord has in store for us.

*or the post in which I say that a Saint got it wrong. This might not help my canonization for sainthood. Maybe the internet will erase all markings of me after I die so this can’t be entered into evidence.

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40 Reasons Why: no. 26

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no. 26: the triduum

Speaking of the crucifix a few days ago, let’s talk about how amazing the Triduum is! These are the three days before Easter, an entire Liturgical Season! The Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord. The Holiest Season of the Church!

My first experience of the Easter Vigil was my junior year in high school when my best friend was baptized, confirmed, and received communion for the first time. I was to be confirmed a few weeks later, but since she was “doing everything at once” it was at the Vigil. I remember it being the most amazing Mass.

I try to attend all three services each year now (and since I moved to Charlotte) because I need to be reminded of what Christ did for me. I need to be reminded of His love for me, His glory, and His goodness. Without it, I don’t know how to be a Christian. I get lost in the mess of it all. It is a whole lot of church over the course of three days, and it’s wonderful and full of delightful traditions.

 

40 Reasons Why: no. 21

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no. 21: divine mercy

In college I was really introduced to Divine Mercy when I read Faustina’s Diary for a class. We read it in 50 page increments throughout the year with a 2 page paper due each week on a virtue. My virtue for the year was prudence. It was a great class to read through the diary and also discuss.

Then when I worked at St. Mark I was a member of the Women of Joy, the parish’s weekly women’s bible study. These women had a great devotion to Divine Mercy and we prayed the chaplet each week during our pre-study prayer time. We were also one of the first parish’s that Fr. Michael Gaitley gave his Consoling the Heart of Jesus retreat. I didn’t realize at the time how special that was – to be with him. He’s a truly amazing priest!

When I left the parish to be a high school youth minister across town, I received this image of Divine Mercy that lived in my closet on the wall for many years before it took up residence in my bedroom at my house. Why the closet? Was I hiding Him? No, just the opposite – I would go in there at least twice a day and it was featured in a prominent spot that I saw very regularly. It made that space better.

During this time for #sackclothandashes I’m going to reread through portions of the Consoling book because Jesus needs to be consoled during this time and we need His divine mercy!

40 Reasons Why: no. 20

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no. 20: kneelers

What a weird thing to love, I know. But they go with pews (remember yesterday). I was just at our Eucharistic Congress this past weekend with the teens and we did a lot of kneeling sans kneelers. It really is hard on the knees.

So kneelers, with a little bit of padding (I say put all of that into the kneeler rather than the pew seat) are helpful when you are trying to make it through the whole Eucharistic Prayer I, before communion, and after!

One year for Lent I gave up using a kneeler because I wanted to remember that kneeling was a sacrifice. I also went to Stations (not one of my more favorite things) a few times that lent and really felt it. There is a LOT of kneeling during stations. People say Mass is “Catholic Calisthenics” but they are wrong, Stations of the Cross are!

40 Reasons Why: no. 19

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no. 19: adoration

My first experience with Eucharistic Adoration was in High School at a summer conference. It was the event for Saturday evening. We all gathered in the big tent after dinner, sang some praise and worship songs, and knelt to adore Our Lord in Adoration.

The devotion began back in the 1500s or so when parishes weren’t able to have Mass every week, it was another way to experience the beauty of Christ in the Eucharist. Today there are a few parishes around me that have 24/7 perpetual adoration. My parish has a few hours each day of the week.

We can be with God anywhere in His creation. It’s even more special to be with Him when He is present in the tabernacle in a Church. It’s most special to be with Him when He is exposed in Eucharistic Adoration. To sit with, pray with, and talk to Our Lord. Oh, what beauty! I do wish I took advantage of this more often – maybe a good practice for Lent this coming year.

40 Reasons Why: no. 15

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photo credit: catholicallyear.com

no. 15: the morning offering

I started praying this as part of my morning prayer routine about 9 years ago, and I have found it to be very helpful to set my mind in the right place as I begin my day. Once I started praying it again, I was reminded about how we would pray this every morning before school began. The bell would ring, then the principal would come on for morning prayer and announcements. We ended the day with the Act of Contrition.

I didn’t realize it then, but it was the perfect way to start an end a day. Then, 20 years later, I’m now beginning and ending my day in this same way.

Daily Faith: Scripture

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Later this month I’m going to do a youth ministry night for our teens on Having a Daily Faith. It’s going to be all about the habits we need to create related to our faith life, that holiness doesn’t happen by accident, and we need to be intentional about what we do. So I’m going to blog about some of the daily faith things I do to keep my faith the center of my life, instead of letting it hang out in the fringes of my week.

My intention of sharing is to show you how one person lives out this life and hopefully inspire you. It is not to boast, to say you have to do these things to be a good Catholic, or even to judge you for how you live. I hope you’ll enjoy walking on this journey with me.

For many years I’ve been doing the other things I’ve talked about here and known I should be reading the Scriptures more. So for Lent about 3 or 4 years ago I decided to start on a “Read the Bible in a Year” plan. I read every evening according to this plan from that Meg posted. It took me a little more than a year to complete with travel and forgetting my Bible at home but I did finish before the next year’s Easter. Then I promptly stopped reading the Scriptures. I didn’t even prepare for the upcoming Sunday Mass readings, not that I was doing that before I started the plan.

A few things happened in the past year. A friend told me about a ministry she and a few other youth ministers started called Carpe Verbum that I subscribed to and started reading. Each day there’s a Lectio Divina reflection on the readings of the day. You may have noticed that I write for them too and post it on my blog that same day, just the reflection portion. I have also recently taken on a larger role in the ministry by preparing one of the posts each week. This along with the daily Blessed is She email and reflection have become part of my morning routine. Although I don’t read the readings, I do reflect before I go to Mass and hear them [still not scripture reading, I know].

For Lent I decided my “prayer” thing would be 15 minutes of Scripture reading and silent prayer before bed. This is when I really got started. When I was trying to determine what to read, I pulled out my new Catholic Journaling Bible and just started with the chapter and verse that they have popped out and written very beautifully (like in the image at the header of this post). I would read that, reflect, and have silent time.

I didn’t think this would be a game changer or anything dramatic for my prayer life. It really has though. It’s given me 15 minutes of time to set aside in prayer that’s not scripted or wrote every evening. The words haven’t been formed by someone else (not that those are bad prayers, I do them all of the time!), but it’s just me, the Lord, and His Word. One week I reflected on the same psalm every evening, trying to bring it into the reality of my heart. On Easter I began the Gospel of Luke and then Acts of the Apostles as my reading. After the Ascension I started the book of Ephesians.

I find that one chapter, or one book, is better for me though. So I reflect and pray, rather than read it like a novel or a book. Reading 5 chapters of the Gospel isn’t really what I’m looking to do each evening. More like reading a passage, reflecting on it, and praying through it to apply it to my daily life. It’s not easy to do – and even a few months in I have to confess I set a timer. Otherwise I’d pray for like 4 minutes and call it done but I want to be committed to more time.

Last Week’s Daily Faith Topic: Spiritual Reading