• Sarah Raad


If God “wants anything of you He will fit you for your work and give you strength to do it.” (Saint Phillip Neri)

Madonna and Child Appearing to Saint Phillip Neri (Giovanni Battista Piazetta)

I have been praying very much over the last few days for people who are sick and those who are suffering. I have been praying for those with addictions and their families. I have been praying for people who have lost their faith and no longer believe in God or find comfort in Him, and for their families, who often pray silently for years and years and years so their beloved family members to find peace through the Prince of Peace. Of course, there are prayers for the Lost Souls of Purgatory and my family and yours…

Often, we pray for intentions for years – decades even – and have no Earthly sign that our prayers have achieved anything.

It used to make me terribly terribly tired to pray like this.

I have prayed for an intention very dear to my heart for many many years and – because in the past I had no actual faith – I felt only the exhaustion of despair through those prayers.

When I prayed like that – without hope or trust or faith or love – it felt as though I was gorging myself on water to the point where my stomach was distended and I felt sick, and yet still I felt incredibly thirsty and could not quench my thirst. I could not find my “rest” in Him…

These days I can see so clearly what I was doing wrong, but at the time, all I could see was what God was doing wrong!

How stupid I was!

When I used to pray for that dear intention of my heart, I told God what I wanted. I made a wish list and I sent it to God like a child writing a letter like Santa. It was a list of demands from a child who believed – wrongly – that she had escaped the “naughty list” and was firmly on the “nice list”.

I am a child of God. But when I reflect on how I used to pray, I shudder at the evidence of my great infancy!

These days, that dearest intention of my heart has not changed. If anything, now – after all this time, when despite my deep longing for this intention it seems even less possible that when I first asked for it – now through some miracle of FAITH… IT DOES NOT MATTER.

Pope Benedict explained that Faith has two parts – mental assent, and the personal entrusting of oneself to God.

This was the problem for me in the past, though I could not articulate it at the time...

I did not have FAITH – I BELIEVED but I did NOT have faith. Though I BELIEVED in God and participated in the sacraments, demonstrating my mental assent - I did NOT TRUST myself to Him.

Deep inside myself, I believed that God Hated me first and Loved me second. Now – with FAITH – I KNOW that God loves me FIRST and hates me NEVER…

Now, I try my best to follow the advice of Saint Phillip Neri… “Cast yourself with confidence into the arms of God … and be very sure of this, that if he wants anything of you he will fit you for your work and give you strength to do it.”

God is looking after me and protecting me right now – He is looking after you and protecting you too!

No matter what happens – God will work EVERYTHING to His GOOD. I place ALL MY TRUST IN HIM.

It would surely be far easier and more rewarding for God to have given me whatever I wanted to SHUT ME UP and stop me ranting against Him and complaining against Him and sinning against Him through my distrust of Him. But, surely this would be much the same as me giving my child whatever they demand just to SHUT THEM UP – rather than considering whether their demands will help or hinder them...

I used to be like Job’s wife. Now – through the Grace of God and no merit of my own – I wish to be like Job instead…

“Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die.’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as the foolish women speak. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 2:9-10).

What trust! Job lost everything – his possessions, his children, his health and his response was profound… “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21).

God allowed the evil to befall Job because Job could handle it – no matter how awful it was – Job could handle it and God knew that!

Guess what? No matter how awful, no matter how bad, no matter how unfathomable the problems in my life – and yours – God knows something that we may not ever understand…

We. Can. Handle. It! Because… God is with us! “Blessed be the name of the LORD…”

For with trust, I have faith and can stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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