I first encountered this reflection of St. Teresa of Avila last year.
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing distress you;
While all things fade away,
God is unchanging.
Patience overcomes everything.
With God in your heart,
Nothing is lacking.
God alone suffices.
The first time I heard it was when I heard this musical version on my daily pray-as-you-go podcast. I made me stop and think. I played it over five or six times as the beauty and certainty of the message settled my mind.
It's about God. He doesn't change. He is unchanging and certain. That's a reassuring thought when everything around me is shifting and changing... including me. God is stable. My understanding of Him changes, but He doesn't. Because God is Truth and truth doesn't change. If something has been proven true once, then (under those same circumstances) it is aways true and can be used to determine the truth of something else. Maybe that's why I like math. I like the structure of the argument. That, given something that is true, we can build on that statement, and other statements to determine more true statements. What is often more interesting, though, is to determine things which are not true.
For us, here and now, on this earth, I think the number of seemingly true untruths are much more abundant than the seemingly true truths. We need something to help us sort through what we perceive to determine what is really true. Because the thing is, the untruths look really attractive. They're usually wrapped up in a pretty package and come with all sorts of attractive looking futures. We don't see the whole truth, because we are blinded by the things which appear to be attractive. And we put blinders on when things aren't going our way, or when we are suffering in some way and insist that it is the suffering part which isn't real. Because it hurts and we don't think that it should.
The thing is, sacrifice is one of the most beautiful things. Jesus came and sacrificed himself for us because of His love for us. The fruit of love is offering one's self in love. It might be in the little things. It might be in larger ways. It might be in ways that no human will ever recognize. It's not aways easy. In fact, I find it to be very difficult. I get so wrapped up in the things that I want, whether it's what I want to do with my time, my money, or my energy... or my emotions. I forget that these things aren't really mine. They just appear to be.
Because the truth is that everything we have is a gift from a loving God. It's a gift freely given to us, but that doesn't mean that He wants us to use it selfishly. No, He is Love and so His example of sacrifice should make it apparent to us what we are to do with the gifts He has given us. We are to offer them up- back to Him, because it is in the exchange of love that we truly experience love. We may offer them back to Him by sharing them with others. For if we are determined to become one with Him, then we should join in His work. In His efforts to bring love to everyone. He offered Himself for us. He sacrificed His life so that we could live with Him and abide in Him. He suffers daily from His immense love for us, and somehow, I manage to convoke myself that suffering is the bad part. When in reality, those feelings are also the fruit of love. When it hurts because we can't fix everything... that's just the smallest piece of what God must feel when His children turn from His love. So instead of complaining, instead of asking Him to take it away, we're given the chance to share in it. To share in His suffering, to comfort Him just a little. Because part of being given a gift is in receiving the gift. His greatest gift to us is Love itself. In order to receive it, we must use it. And sometimes, that means that we must join in the pain of His love for us.