Take Lord, and receive all of my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my entire will. All that I have and all that I possess You have given to me. To You, o Lord, I return it. All is Yours, dispose of it wholly according to Your will. Give me Your love and Your grace, for this is sufficient for me.
In late September of 2016 I had the awesome privilege of attending a three day silent retreat. As I spent the first evening by myself wandering the beautiful Campion Renewal Center in Weston, Massachusetts, I was halted in my tracks by this powerful prayer on a plaque next to the elevator. It's a prayer I had come across several times in the past, but this time the Lord drew my undivided attention to it - so much so that I had to go back to my room and get my journal in order to write it down word for word. This was to be the springboard for the remainder of my three days, and it proved to be quite the challenge for my spiritual journey.
As I prayed this prayer later that evening, I found myself struggling to MEAN it, hesitating as I reached certain phrases. I looked up the word "liberty" - as I felt the Holy Spirit wanted me to truthfully understand the meaning of each word:
"Liberty - the power to do or choose what you want to". Yes, this was something the Lord was waiting for me to offer Him - all of my liberty.
Surprisingly, however, I found myself most discomforted by the next few words, "my memory". It was here that I struggled with fear, and found myself running to Jesus for consolation.
"My memory, Lord? Am I to give You all of those as well?"
This offer in prayer was going to need some Divine Guidance and lots of coaching. The following evening God gave me the grace to sit in the silence of the choir loft of the magnificent chapel of the retreat center and pour out the fears that crept in -
"O Lord, I fear the loss of memories which are so near and dear to me. Here is where so much of my history with You resides: my conversion(s), my brothers and sister and their journey toward Heaven, my touchstone moments of grace during every retreat.... " (At this point the Lord draws my attention to the fact that "my" is a big part of this lamentation)
And here is what I sensed the Lord responded with, in such adorable love and patience -
Jesus+: "My most beloved, have I not given you each of these powerful memories ? Each one is a powerful blessing - even the 'not so good' memories. Each one serves as a teacher and a reminder of where you were and how you got there, and why you are here now ! If you have trusted Me with the treasury of these memories, then trust Me now, My beloved. Trust that I would only hide these memories, or allow them to be hidden, as another provision for your sanctification. Trust that every grace and blessing from Me is always a step forward in your precious journey toward Home. Yes, it is very realistic to expect many of these blessings to 'feel' like a trial. But if I ask you to suffer these trials, handed out to you or allowed by Me, then it is because of My deep love for you. All that I do for you is driven by my unsurmountable love. Yes, my beloved one, I, the Lord, giveth and taketh away. But if I do take away, it is only because I replace it with glory and greater grace..... O, how deeply I love thee."
In sharing this with my Spiritual Director at the retreat house, I felt a great peace wash over me. All fear of losing my capacity to remember past moments of time was completely washed away, and I knew in my heart that nothing would be lost without His promise for greater things in their place. I needed to read this out loud and allow the Lord to deeply plant His promise in my heart. My joy returned once I believed what He had promised.
My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, our God is immeasurably loving. He is perfect in His justice and perfect in His mercy. Our human nature always leans toward fear of the unknown and a hesitancy to trust. We assume that we will be disappointed in what God wants for us, as we measure His actions against the actions of man. But His ways are so very, very far above ours.
In order for me to be a true Soldier of Christ I must first become totally and completely dependent on HIm. This means that I must first conquer the battle within - my will fighting against the Lord's. When my will is in union with HIs, then I experience an unspeakable peace interiorly. Only then am I completely available for God to use me as He wants. Only then do I become a soldier truly ready for combat.
God is love - every true source of it.
God is hope - every reason to be uplifted.
God is truth - an anchor from which to base all truth.
God is joy - the source of strength for all battles.
God always was, and forever will be, our answer for every need.......