I recently read a great article by Father Ronald Rolheiser, titled “Guidelines for the Long Haul”. Terrific advice for all of us wanting to stay on course and stand faithful. It inspires me to pray big and indeed STAND FAITHFUL.
I offer you a few of the guidelines he encourages us to follow,paraphrased in my own words.
1. BE GRATEFUL. When someone gives you a gift, we typically will say Thank You. Do you remember to tell God Thank You everyday for the gifts he gives you – like your every breath, your spouse, your children and grandchildren, sunshine, food, shelter, work, friends and yes, even these – traffic, rain, headaches and stumbles. Father Ron says “The highest compliment you can give a gift-giver is to thoroughly enjoy the gift.”
2. DON’T BE NAIVE ABOUT GOD. Staying on course and standing faithful is not easy. Some people may think all they have to do is pray and wait for God to meet their needs and solve their problems. This is being naive about God. We are to cooperate with God’s grace. This is no small matter.
3. WALK FORWARD – OR AT LEAST TRY TO GET ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER. Life is tough sometimes, we all know that. But keep walking, even when it feels like you take one step forward and two steps backward. Be content with the ordinary – it can be peaceful – and may not last long. We are called to Stand Faithful and keep moving toward God, not matter how laborious it may feel. Be spiritually stubborn, don’t compromise and settle for less than God’s gift for you.
4. PRAY BIG. I always pray that God will keep his hand on me every day and not lose his hold on my soul. Prayer is a place where real people share their real lives with a real God who will never let them go. Trust that he is interested in your prayer, no matter the style, length or content.
5. LOVE. Make place for love in your life. Cultivate it. Father Ron says “nothing can be loved too much”. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I didn’t say “I love you” to someone. I try to always let people know how I feel about them. After their death, my opportunity has passed. I agree with Father Ron, you can’t love too much.
6. DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE SOFT. I remember clearly when God spoke to me of my hard heart. I didn’t know how to cry and felt cold inside. I asked him to chisel it all away and help me find my tears. He did. My tears have helped to soften my heart and heal my wounds. They are now my healing tears. But this “being soft” doesn’t mean you have to be cry all the time. It simply means we are sensitive to others and not indifferent. As Father Ron puts it, “if you will not have a softening of the heart, you will eventually have a softening of the brain. Sensitivity defines the soul. Tenderness defines love. Tears are salt water – the water of our origins.”
STAND FAITHFUL, PRAY BIG AND STAY THE COURSE!!