• Sarah Raad


Pleasing my Beloved is the only thing that matters…

Saint Peter and Saint Paul

Recently, my children and I discovered a BMX bike-park very close to our home and we have been spending many a Sunday morning or afternoon during this latest Sydney COVID-19 lockdown watching my children enjoy that bike park.

The very first time that we went to that bike park my eldest son jumped on his bike, started pedalling and began trying to work on his jumps and stunts. On the same day, my daughter sat at the top of the very first hill and panicked and worried and thought about whether she would be able to handle that very first hill – it was very steep – and waited and watched others and finally, finally, after a very long time of thinking she finally agreed to wheel down that first hill holding onto the brakes with both hands to slow her speed. My middle child – my second son – took one look at that massive drop and said, “No thanks. I’m not planning to die today. I’m not going down that thing at all.” Now, I easily could have left it at that, walked away and pretended that he never had to face his fears. But of course, I never did. We spoke about it, and I firmly supported him and encouraged him and told him to be brave – and finally – finally – off he went.

Now, all of that happened on our very first trip to the bike park, but it is not the first trip that has remained in my thoughts over the last few days and weeks – but the second…

You see on the second trip, that is where we discovered what each child believed and could commit to.

My eldest son was back into practising his jumps. He is now convinced that a BMX bike – rather than a mountain bike – will be of invaluable assistance to his newly fledged BMX racing career. My daughter got back on the bike, but with hindsight decided that she had been slightly crazy last time she had tried this bike riding thing and what she would really like to do is never ride a bicycle ever again. Eventually she did go down that hill, but man oh man did it take her a long time to trust that she would be able to do it! And then there is my middle child – my second son – now he was itching to get back out there. Now, this second time he was ready. He was planning how he would approach the track. Now his fear was parked to one side, and he was focused on the jumps. How to get enough speed and traction to make a jump and how to land with accuracy.

You see, this second time things were different, and this difference caused me to think of our lives in Christ…

You see, my eldest son wants better tools to do better tricks. He is interested in a different bike and different gear and in the detailed intricacies involved in BMX biking because that would help him to become a better rider, though he does not disregard the importance of practice. This is what happens when people seek out different prayers and different opportunities for fasting and sacrifice. People who truly embrace their faith know that they need to adopt practises that will help them to grow in virtue and then they need to actually practise those practices. Such practices could include the more frequent reception of the sacraments, spiritual reading, spiritual direction, the Rosary daily and the Divine Mercy each day.

My daughter was afraid, she was over-thinking things. Things that had been relatively easy to her on the first trip now seemed impossibly difficult. This is what happens when people spend their time rationalising their way out of faith. This is what happens when people tell you they will only believe in God if they can describe Him and understand Him and rationalise Him with their own tiny mind. It is an absurd argument – sadly but clearly formulated by the Evil One… I cannot rationalise many thousands – if not millions of things – and yet this does not stop me believing in them. I cannot rationalise how a space shuttle works or how minerals are extracted from the planet Mars or how a virus can be eradicated from the world through vaccine, and yet I believe in these things. So, the argument that we can only believe in a God who we can rationalise, is ridiculous – because God, by His very definition as the CREATOR is so far beyond who and what we are that it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to rationalise and understand Him… Can a robot or computer actually understand its human creator?

My middle child – my second son – went in there to that bike track determined to get better. He had been thinking about the mistakes he had previously made and now he was determined to do better this second time. This is what happens when people experience a conversion or true belief in faith. When we truly believe in the power of reconciliation we know that once we have apologised for our sins, we can start again and try better and harder and push further. Saint Faustina wrote in her Dairy 745, that Christ told her, “‘My daughter, just as you prepare in My presence, so also you make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyse what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of, open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light.’”

And so, as I watch my boys practising their jumps on that bike track out there, my heart is warmed, because it reminds me of trying to please my Beloved, and at the end of the day, His pleasure is the ONLY thing that matters…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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