When I had to face the particular challenge of company downsizing many years ago, I reacted by trying to take control of the situation. I turned to other people that I knew to keep myself within my level of comfort. I succeeded, but the effect was that I had to make a choice between maintaining a higher position with my employer or risk my relationship with my wife at home. This is where I hit the pause button on myself and invited the Lord back into my life through prayer.
My new job that prevented me from being downsized was not as comforting anymore. I sought the Lord’s guidance and tried to place my trust in him. My wife and I decided to return to Michigan and found new work. I was able to remain with my current employer in a different position, one that did not involve much travel. It was three years after that time that I discerned the call to the diaconate, which changed my life in more ways than I could imagine.
Venerable Father Solanus Casey once said; “We must be faithful to the present moment, or we will frustrate the plan of God for our lives.” That moment for me came during that life challenge. The Lord was always present with me, but until I made myself present to him, I could not discern his invitation to return in relationship with him.
We all have times in our lives where we are tempted to turn to someone else, to our own ambitions, to our own wants instead of turning to our Lord. We all have times when we enter the dry desert in our lives in which we are tempted much like Jesus. While Jesus was in the desert, he turned to scripture as his guide to battle the great accuser. Our Lord fought for us, to redeem us because he is our shepherd.
Let us not forget to place our trust in the Lord. May this first week of Lent help us to reflect on how we are being tempted and to seek the Lord’s grace through the sacraments. This is a wonderful time to rekindle our relationship with the Lord in preparation for him as he awaits for us. Let us remain vigilant this Lent, because as one nation under God, we all are being tested in our relationships with each other as well as with the Lord. May God bless us on our journey and may it bring us closer together in service to one another.