#MyMassTakeaway: A Thorn in My Side

Today’s the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Find the Mass Readings here: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 8, 2018

My takeaway:

I’ve been a bit of a crabbycakes lately.

Everything is “a thorn in my side.” All of life’s little annoyances are like a bunch of tiny pricks.

I get St. Paul, in today’s readings. He begged the Lord 3 times to take away his burden.

I’ve been moping at God, too. Why don’t You just fix all of these little problems for me? Not yet? Well how about now. Or maybe now.

My eyes have been fixed on me and how every little thing is getting in my way.

I’ve become, as Paul said, “too elated.” Too proud. I have been looking for God, not to transform me, but to transform everything around me to fit into my perfect little worldview.

But St. Paul reminds me that God’s grace is enough for me.

It’s in these times of (very small) adversity that He wants to draw me closer to Him. It’s in these moments of (very small) sacrifice that I have the opportunity to enter into the greater sufferings of the Universal Church, and Christ’s suffering on the Cross.

These annoyances open the door to small trickles of grace.

If I allow them, the trickles will run together, and grow into a stream, a brook, a river. They will flow and rush and erode the nasty corners of my personality. They will carve away all that’s weak in me, and transform me into the person God wants me to be.

These moments of weakness, when I’m unhappy with myself, with others, with life. When it seems like thorns are pricking me with every step, these are the moments where God wishes to make me strong.

Not by changing my circumstances, but by changing me.

During Mass today, I realized my complacency in the offertory.

I write my little check and throw it in the basket while the priest prepares the gifts.  I wait for him to get the offering ready – the bread and the wine. And I wait for Jesus to take over with His offering – His body and blood, His very life on the Cross.

Once again, I’m looking for Him to change everything, to suffer everything, to endure everything, to fix everything for me.

But I’m not called to be a bystander at the Mass.

At the offertory, I’m called to give more than a few dollars, then wait idly by. I’m called to be more than an onlooker.

I’m called to enter in to the sacrifice.

To give my entire self as an offering.

It’s when I unite my personal sacrifice, all that I am, in union with Jesus’ sacrifice, that when He comes to me in the Eucharist, He can truly transform me.

Then, I will be ready to accept all the graces He wants to pour out to me.

Then, He can unite me to Himself and change me from the inside out.

So my God, my Jesus, today I’m going to try to embrace all my little thorns. All my little annoyances, burdens, and sacrifices.

I acknowledge their littleness before the great sufferings of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I admit the insignificance of my small suffering before the immense pain and suffering You endured when You sacrificed Your life for me on the Cross.

Nevertheless, I lay all my burdens, my thorns, before You today.

Not to remove them, but to surrender them to You.

Please use these small sacrifices as a channel of Your grace. Please unite them to the thorns You endured during the Passion. Please change my heart to be one with Yours.

Let my crabbiness dissolve. Give me renewed forgiveness, peace, and joy.

Let me be content with adversity, like St. Paul.

Humble me, and open my eyes to the power of redemptive suffering. Unleash Your power in me – the power of virtue, the power of grace.

Because when I’m weak, only then can I be strong.

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#MyMassTakeaway – A Thorn in My Side. I've been a bit of a crabbycakes lately. Everything is "a thorn in my side." All of life's little annoyances are like a bunch of tiny little pricks. I get St. Paul, in today's readings. He begged the Lord 3 times to take away his burden. I've been moping at God, too. Why don't You just fix all of these little problems for me? Not yet? Well how about now. Or maybe now. My eyes have been fixed on me and how every little thing is getting in my way. I've become, as Paul said, "too elated." Too proud. I have been looking for God, not to transform me, but to transform everything around me to fit into my perfect little worldview. But St. Paul reminds me that God's grace is enough for me. It's in these times of (very small) adversity that He wants to draw me closer to Him. It's in these moments of (very small) sacrifice that I have the opportunity to enter into the greater sufferings of the Universal Church, and Christ's suffering on the Cross. These annoyances open the door to small trickles of grace. If I allow them, the trickles will run together, and grow into a stream, a brook, a river. They will flow and rush and erode the nasty corners of my personality. They will carve away all that's weak in me, and transform me into the person God wants me to be. These moments of weakness, when I'm unhappy with myself, with others, with life. When it seems like thorns are pricking me with every step, these are the moments where God wishes to make me strong. Not by changing my circumstances, but by changing me. During Mass today, I realized my complacency in the offertory. I write my little check and throw it in the basket while the priest prepares the gifts. I wait for him to get the offering ready – the bread and the wine. And I wait for Jesus to take over with His offering – His body and blood, His very life on the Cross. Once again, I'm looking for Him to change everything, to suffer everything, to endure everything, to fix everything for me. But I'm not called to be a bystander at the Mass… ***To be continued on the blog***

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Thoughts from my blogging friends:

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The priest today mentioned that His entire life, Jesus had to distinguish Himself – not as “the carpenter’s son,” but rather, “Mary’s son,” and ultimately the Son of God. He defied expectations of people around Him, and acted exceptionally. . . And, “as followers, as believers… as Christians, we are also called to live exceptional lives.” They will be lives that might be difficult, might give way to many temptations, and may find us being encouraged to respond to situations in the manner “ordinary” people would respond. But, we are called to not respond in ordinary measures; rather, we are to respond with faith, hope, and love. Even when everyone around us thinks we are nuts. . . The priest didn’t mention the Rosary as a way to connect us with our radical, and sometimes challenging ways to witness as faithful Christians. But, the Rosary changes us, and changes our outlook on life – and, changes the way we approach situations. Meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary – or rather, various times of Jesus’ life – allows our hearts to open up and truly embrace the radical, exceptional approach of Christianity. . . So, if you haven’t prayed your Rosary in a while, dust it off, and give it some time to encourage you and strengthen you. If you are a regular Rosary reciter, teach the devotion to someone – or, at least, encourage another person to give it a try, and pray with them. . . For all of us who are believers and followers, don’t allow our beliefs to become stale, stagnant and rote. Rather, every day, commit to growing in some manner… and, commit to living in a way which will set us aside as exceptional. . . #mymasstakeaway w/ @tojesussincerely #catholicsofinstagram #catholicsonline #catholicinspiration #catholicblogger #catholiclife #proudcatholic #praytherosary #rosary #powerofprayer #prayer #rosarywarrior

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I want to know your Mass Takeaway too! Comment with your thoughts on the readings, your pastor’s homily, or anything that struck you during your time at Mass.

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