Ever wake up in the middle of the night with the conviction that anything that possibly can go wrong with your life will? This week I had one of those moments. Nothing bad had happened. I was in the middle of an ordinary week of teacher training, grocery shopping, laundry, and parenting our two sons. Blame it on the drizzle outside, but suddenly small concerns in every facet of my life—in the parenting, professional, and financial departments—rose together and came crashing down on me in a big wave of anxiety about 1 a.m. Wednesday. My faith gives me a way to cope when angst ambushes me: prayer.
Nothing is new about worry. Prayer beads are found in every world religion. As early as 500 B.C. in India, people were praying with beads. The use of prayer beads spread along trade routes to the Middle East, where Muslims call them misbaha, and to China and Japan, where Buddhists call them malas.
My worries arise when I begin to imagine that I am the one controlling the outcome of my efforts. Praying my Rosary calms me and reminds me that our Triune God, and not me, is the master of my universe.
When I awoke Wednesday morning, I cried and ruminated for several minutes. My Rosary was outside in the family van, hanging from the rear view mirror, so I prayed a series of prayers I often do to calm myself: ten Our Fathers, ten Hail Marys, ten Glory Be's. I count them on my fingers. I didn't even get through the ten Hail Marys before I had fallen back asleep, secure in the knowledge that God had taken my worries away, along with my illusions of control.
I am Catholic because I know God willed me into being and that I remain under his effusively loving care, no matter the uncertainties and frustrations I face. What did God send His Son to tell us?
Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.