I enjoy reading the lamentations and cries for relief from suffering interspersed with worshipping praises, as in the First Reading (Jeremiah) and the Psalms. Somehow it makes me feel better knowing there were thousands of people feeling exactly as I do at times. Call it a tinge of ‘misery loves company’?
After these first readings, though, I also enjoyed reading Philippians and John. It’s certainly too easy to get caught up in your own life, especially if it feels ridiculously busy; but these last 2 readings seem to give me exactly what I need in dealing with that: focus and direction. I wish I had all the answers for running my own life, but these readings remind me that I don’t have to. To me, it’s not just a matter of ‘giving it to God’ when you’re at a loss for how to fix a problem yourself. I think it’s more a matter of focusing on God that the answers become easier to discern. John 12:25 says, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” This passage refers to our ‘self’ which is to be in union with God, not to be as an autonomous being. Hating your life refers to keeping your life as your own and under your control. But seriously, where is the value and joy in that? Are you helping others if that’s your focus? Is that what you would really want? Considering this, isn’t it even easier to try to be a disciple of Christ, of God, than to live your life for yourself? If you keep your focus on trying to be one with God rather than, “I have this list of problems,” might you feel some relief from stress? I sure do.
When I remember my focus, my requests to God – my prayers – are much different. Remembering Christ loved me so much that he was willing to be sacrificed for me makes me love Him all the more and want to be one with Him.