Facing Fears: Draw Near to the Burning Bush

#MyMassTakeaway for the 3rd Sunday in Lent.

Moses reacts to the burning bush in a way I never would.

Something uncomfortable and inexplicable happened in Moses’ life, right in front of his eyes. A bush was engulfed in flames, but it didn’t burn.

I would have been out of there so fast.

No way would I have gone and taken a closer look. But Moses didn’t run away. Moses entered into the mystery.

“Moses decided, ‘I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.'”

Exodus 3:3

And when Moses draws near, God calls out to him.

“God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!'”

Exodus 3:4

When something uncomfortable happens in our lives, we often have the fight, flight, or freeze reactions. We allow ourselves to be ruled by fear and anxiety.

But Moses set an astounding example of faith and courage.

Moses didn’t try to put out the fire. He didn’t run away. He didn’t stand there shaking in his boots (or shepherd sandals or whatever).

Instead, he looked that question in the eye. Something out of the ordinary was happening – something strange, unusual, uncomfortable, frightening – and Moses asked why.

He drew nearer to that uncomfortable phenomenon. And when he drew near, God called out to him.

What followed was an encounter that would change Moses’ life.

When we encounter fear in our lives, we can seek to respond more like Moses. Instead of running away, we can allow ourselves to pause and question: Why?

  • Why is this bad thing happening?
  • Why does God allow suffering?
  • Why can’t I reconcile with that friend?
  • Why do I keep sinning and failing when all I want to do is follow Christ?

It’s okay to ask why.

It’s okay to draw nearer and seek the purpose behind the unwelcome things that happen in our lives.

When we allow ourselves to enter in to the fearful, uncomfortable, and unexpected – when we open our hearts to seek answers – when we draw nearer to our suffering instead of running away – then God can call us.

Like he called out to Moses, God will call us by name.

When we draw nearer, God can tell us his plan for us. He can give us direction and place our mission before us. He can help us move through the fear, and onward into a life of purpose and hope.

God let himself be known to Moses and sent him out into the world. But notice that Moses never received an explanation about why the fire didn’t burn the bush. He simply received knowledge about God’s presence in the phenomenon.

In the same way, we may not be able to connect the dots on our suffering. We may not understand the reasoning behind our trials in this life.

What we can do is open ourselves to seeing God’s presence there. And when we recognize his presence, we can abandon ourselves to him, trusting in his plan. He knows the reasons behind all the good and bad in this world. He will use it and shape it for his purposes.

What uncomfortable things are happening in your life right now? What are you responding to in fear? What makes you want to fight, flight, or freeze?

Allow yourself to face that fear, draw nearer to that burning bush, and ask God: Why? Open your heart to his call and his plan for your life.

#MyMassTakeaway Linkup

#MyMassTakeaway is a community building hashtag. I encourage you to use it to share your thoughts about the Mass, Eucharist, and readings every Sunday.

Check out these reflections, and head over to Instagram to join!

tojesussincerely

Here’s my takeaway (in shortened form) over on Instagram!

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#MyMassTakeaway – Draw near. When something uncomfortable happens in our lives, we often have the fight, flight, or freeze reactions. We allow ourselves to be ruled by fear and anxiety. But Moses set an astounding example of faith and courage. Moses didn't try to put out the fire. He didn't run away. He didn't stand there shaking in his boots (or shepherd sandals or whatever). Instead, he looked that question in the eye. Something out of the ordinary was happening – something strange, unusual, uncomfortable, frightening – and Moses asked why. It's okay to ask why. When we draw nearer to our suffering instead of running away – then God can call us. When we draw nearer, God can tell us his plan for us. He can give us direction and place our mission before us. He can help us move through the fear, and onward into a life of purpose and hope. God let himself be known to Moses and sent him out into the world. But notice that Moses never received an explanation about why the fire didn't burn the bush. He simply received knowledge about God's presence in the phenomenon. In the same way, we may not be able to connect the dots on our suffering. We may not understand the reasoning behind our trials in this life. What we can do is open ourselves to seeing God's presence there. And when we recognize his presence, we can abandon ourselves to him, trusting in his plan. He knows the reasons behind all the good and bad in this world. He will use it and shape it for his purposes. What uncomfortable things are happening in your life right now? What are you responding to in fear? What makes you want to fight, flight, or freeze? Allow yourself to face that fear, draw nearer to that burning bush, and ask God: Why? Open your heart to his call and his plan for your life. 🌟Full reflection on the blog🌟

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surprisedbymarriage

Jen and Logan remind us to never give up, even when things are hard.

“God doesn’t give up on us, so we shouldn’t give up on each other either! ▫️”The Lord is kind and merciful” – from the Responsorial Psalm.”

joyfilledfamily

Lena reminds us of the spiritual battle at hand, and the importance of imitating Christ.

“And it is especially at this season of combat against Satan that we must imitate Christ.”

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THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT (OCULI) The Introit of this day's Mass, which begins with the word Oculi, is the prayer of a soul imploring deliverance from the snares of the devil: INTROIT My eyes are ever towards the Lord: for he shall pluck my feet out of the snare: look thou upon me, and have mercy on me, for I am alone and poor. To thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in thee, O my God, I put my trust: let me not be ashamed. (Fs. XXIV.) Glory be to the Father, etc. . . (Today’s complete readings and reflection are in my stories/Lent II) . Jesus, the blessed Virgin's Son, is in the highest degree the model of virginal purity; and in today's Gospel we see Him contending in a special way with the unclean spirit; for so do St. Matthew and St. Luke describe the devil whom our Lord cast out of the dumb man by the finger of God, that is by the Holy Ghost. So does the Church drive out the same unclean spirit from the souls of the newly baptized. Lent was a time of preparation for Baptism and in administering this sacrament the priest breathes three times on the person to be baptized with the words: "Go out of the child, unclean spirit, and give place to the Holy Ghost." St. Bede in his commentary on this Gospel says; "What then took place visibly is every day accomplished invisibly, in the conversion of those who become believers. First the devil is driven out of their soul, then they perceive the light of faith; and finally their mouth, until then dumb, opens to praise God" (Matins). In the same sense in today's Epistle St. Paul says; "No fornicator or unclean or covetous person … hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Fornication and all uncleanness, let it not so much as be named among you." And it is especially at this season of combat against Satan that we must imitate Christ. #domgasparlefebvre

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emmykrueger

Emily focuses on the fact that we need to open our hearts to God. Don’t let your hearts be hardened, and don’t put up barriers to his love.

“Guard your heart with repentance and service to the Lord, but don’t let it be hardened.”

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Today's readings: Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15 Psalm 103:1-4, 6-8, 11 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12 Luke 13:1-9 All praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ, now and forever. Are all people who die in natural disasters and accidents sinners who deserve to die? No. Are we all sinners? Yes. Are we all repentant of our sins? No. Will those who repent of their sins go to the promised land, to heaven? Hopefully yes. Will those who do not repent their sins go to the promised land? Most likely not. Do we know the day or hour of our deaths? No. Should we prepare for death by repenting of our sins and striving to sin no more? Yes. The Israelites spent 40 years following Moses in the desert, living the same type of lives and eating the same food as everyone else. From the outside, they all essentially looked the same, but their hearts were different. Those whose hearts were not in the right place with God did not get to see the promised land. We do not know the hearts of those around us like God knows them. We do not know who is repentant of their sins and who is not. Indeed most of the time we don't even know how our neighbors are sinning. We don't need to know. We must tend to the beams in our own eyes first before contemplating the specks in their eyes. We do not know who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. Anyone who says they know is merely speculating on something only God can see. Guard your heart with repentance and service to the Lord, but don't let it be hardened. Don't put a barrier between yourself and God. Barriers don't allow good fruit. If you are caught in a natural disaster or a random accident and you aren't producing good fruit, God will honor the barrier you've put in place. He will not force Himself upon you for eternity. Psalm 103: The Lord is kind and merciful. #mymasstakeaway Pic taken 5/3/17

A post shared by Emily Krueger (@emmykrueger) on

thecozywife

Megan reminds us that we need to prune the things that are distracting us… such as our phones. Convicted!

“Find that thing in our lives that is making us less fruitful, and prune it out. I know mine is excessive phone use.”

prayerwinechocolate

Amy shares a powerful story about checking our hearts, and working towards change. So many of us can relate to getting the 5am grumpies with kids who wake up too early!!

“I find myself wanting to make a difference in the world. ..the Lord pointed out to me that it starts at 5 am with a beautiful baby boy.”

chasingtimeanddrinkingwine

Tammi has a beautiful reflection on the importance of kids in the Church. And she reminds us that kids aren’t the future of the Church – they’re the Church today.

“However, I do not doubt in the Lord’s faithfulness and his perfect plan for their lives. I know that the seeds that we have planted as faith-filled parents will continue to be nourished. I know the Lord will look lovingly upon these trees as they grow. He ‘shall cultivate the ground around them and fertilize them; that they may bear fruit in the future.'”

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Today a parishioner addressed the congregation about a mission trip that some of the teens from the church were going on this summer. “Many people say that our youth are our future church, but I say they are the present church. They are our Church Militant!” 😇😭yesssss. I thought. Tears flowed down my cheeks as I looked down the pew at these two. They are such good kids. They surround themselves with good, faith-filled friends. They see the darkness of evil and abhor it. They are confident in who they are and that’s foundational in our home. As teens, they are struggling to find their place in our home, and in this world. They need guidance, direction, and support. They need their soil cultivated and enriched. Parenting is so hard. I struggle to show these two Christ in my actions and words while I juggle discipline, virtue training, and helping their relationship with the Lord. I often pray “Lord, fill in the gaps in our parenting. Convict us of areas where we struggle with pride and hurt. Remind me daily that these children are not mine but yours. “ However, I do not doubt in the Lord’s faithfulness and his perfect plan for their lives. I know that the seeds that we have planted as faith-filled parents will continue to be nourished. I know the Lord will look lovingly upon these trees as they grow. He “shall cultivate the ground around them and fertilize them; that they may bear fruit in the future”. Luke 13:9 #mymasstakeaway

A post shared by Chasing Time And Drinking Wine (@chasingtimeanddrinkingwine) on

ginnykochis

Ginny celebrates a smooth morning! I love this especially today, because we had a smooth morning too – and I know just how difficult it can be to get out the door for Mass.

“Truly, the Lord is kind and merciful.”

strivingandsteadfast

Sarah reminds us of the importance of evaluating our habits – and pruning the ones that are not producing good fruit in our lives.

“All I could think of was how intentional I need to be in building my habits. Is it bearing fruit? If not, what do I need to cultivate? How can I fertilize it? Does it need another year to really take root?”

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