A few months ago, I asked one of the ladies to whom I give spiritual direction how things were going in her “faith life.” She replied, “Actually, things are going amazingly well. I am making some time in my schedule just to allow Jesus to love me.”
She started visiting her local parish during the day, she said, when the church is quiet and mostly empty, and she sits down in one of the pews and tries to be present to Jesus. There is no cell phone, no noise, no worries — just Jesus.
I know so many women who are always giving, giving and giving — to the point of wanting to give up. Moms take their kids from one place to the next, constantly worrying about their practical and personal needs, keeping the refrigerator well-stocked, making sure quality food arrives on time for every meal, and watching out for so much more.
They are the ones, generally speaking, who keep track of doctor and dentist appointments as well the social, athletic and academic calendar. There is a lot of stress, little sleep, and it’s even worse for the moms who work a full-time or part-time job. Unfortunately, most husbands do not express enough gratitude for what their wives do and are not always sensitive to the heavy burdens their wives lift each day.
Most kids take their moms for granted, too, and get easily upset if things do not happen right away and on their terms. Nothing and nobody can soothe and massage a tired and weary soul better than Jesus. Moms need to give their neediness to God — so that they in turn can churn out this unconditional love to their family.
God can “spring across mountains and leap over hills,” as a passage in the Song of Songs explains. If you pray, God puts an extra kick in your step, the burdens become a little lighter, and obstacles are more easily overcome. But the terrible reality is that God will not force His way into your soul. He can leap over mountains, but He will not climb over the walls that we put up to prevent Him from getting inside.
He “gazes through the window and peers through the latices” of our soul — but He fully respects our freedom.
As Pope Francis reminded us not long ago, “It appears that the people of today no longer love to think of being liberated and saved by the intervention of God; in fact, people today are under the illusion that their liberty is a force with which to obtain all things. They even boast of this! … We are always freed by the merciful hand of God, who raises us to Himself and leads us to new life.”
Jesus wants to love you, but He doesn’t want to be on the sidelines. He wants to be in the mix of your daily lives. He wants to help!
Please make time for Him. Make time in your busy schedules for Him to love you.
Fr. Michael Sliney, LC, is a Catholic priest and the New York chaplain of the Lumen Institute, an association of business and cultural leaders.