Revolution of tenderness

November 9, 2014 at 4:58 pm Leave a comment I have been in a little bit of a funk which is bad for I am impatient and irritable. I dread participating in the world and worse, the awkward, ungainly teenager who suffers from low self-esteem, zero confidence and a pessimistic world view reigns. She brings me back to the place of failure, regret and self-recrimination, and holds me there, prisoner to fear and paranoia.

My vision of others, God and the world distorts wildly and I withdraw into an introspective half life, much like the disciples before both the Passion and Pentecost. I run away. I lie to myself first, then others. I deny Christ. I stop praying and I reject love which could strengthen me and bring out the best in me. I react childishly constantly. I lose the wisdom and maturity to make good decisions. I am faithless. Worst of all, I betray the ones who love me most.

In this defeatist state of mind it is so easy to think nobody loves me and that what I do is worthless. Why would God bother with useless, petty me? He must be mad to love a sourpuss like me.

The grace that has aided me through this season of winter has been a certain level of faith. This has kept me afloat so that I made it to work, Bible classes and ministry meetings without being a complete grouch despite my lack of inner joy.

My faith is founded on better days, days when I knew I was the disciple whom Jesus loves. As my SD pointed out, this is the thrust of John’s Gospel: to abide in God so much that I can identify I am the beloved disciple, the one who lays her head on his chest, knowing He sayangs* me; and who recognizes, “It is the Lord,” when my senses tell me otherwise.

As Pope Francis writes in Evangelii Gaudium (84):

With the eyes of faith, we can see the light which the Holy Spirit always radiates in the midst of darkness, never forgetting that where sin increased, grace has abounded all the more (Rom 5:20).

Apart from allowing my memories of past grace moments to fuel my enthusiasm to serve, I also hold fast to what Saint Paul was told: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9). So if I surrender my weaknesses to the Lord, His strength and power will grow in me, perfecting me.

Two recent events stand out as testimony to His love for me and encourage me to a renewed encounter with Christ every day. The first is this:

I had completely forgotten I had a client to teach at eight in the morning two Fridays ago so I was prepared to get up late. I had already woken up but was still lolling around in bed when in my head I heard the name of my client spoken. Immediately that sparked a memory of us making the appointment and I jumped out of bed, raced to get ready and I managed to make the appointment by a hair. Thank God for guardian angels who remind perimenopausal, brain-clouded women where they need to be.

The second incident happened last Saturday after I attended All Saints Day mass at Saint Ignatius and was on the bus home. I alighted only to discover that I had dropped my wallet on the bus. Without a cent on me, I needed assistance desperately. Completely helpless, I prayed. I asked Saints Jude and Antony for their intercession, as well as my mum and A, who happened to text me at the time.

Then I asked a man who was waiting at the bus stop if he could be so kind as to donate the bus fare for me to get to the bus depot and track my wallet down. He handed me two dollars without hesitation. When I boarded the bus and explained my plight to the driver and he acceded to my hitching a free ride. I then returned the money to my Good Samaritan who was reluctant to take it. Thankfully, I managed to retrieve my wallet when I reached the depot.

Words cannot begin to describe my gratitude. I am grateful for the kindness of strangers as I am for the communion of saints, but I am most thankful that even in my insignificant, small life, God has shown great interest and love. How can I therefore stay uninvolved when I am shown such care at every turn?

Meanwhile, the Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction. True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness. EG 88

The saints of yesteryear are proof that a revolution of tenderness existed when they walked this earth and still exists to change the world today. If I am to be part of the revolution, I need to shape up and ensure I keep exercising my faith. But first, I need to find my joy back. Bit by bit.    

* Malay for dotes or loves.


Entry filed under: Inspiring Faith.

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