At first sight, Instructing the Ignorant sounds kinda harsh. I picture me doing a Stephen Colbert “wag of the finger” and then making a pompous statement with my chin up in the air. But . . . after some reading and reflecting, I had a flashback of a time in my life when my deepest prayer was:
“Lord, what is the right thing to do? What is it that You want me to do?”
I don’t know if you have ever had a time in your life where you felt this way. But I can tell you, for me, Our Lord’s answer was not clear to me. I needed instruction.
I needed the priest I confided in to tell me it was okay to take anxiety medication.
I needed to hear and read that God does not want me to constantly look back, beat myself up for things I could have done better and think that if I done things differently a certain relationship would have not ended.
I needed to be reminded and assured that the right thing to do is trust that I was exactly where God wanted me to be.
I was, for lack of a better word, “dying” to be instructed.
I am grateful that I discussed my concerns about taking anxiety meds to a spiritual director. That holy, caring priest assured me that it is perfectly fine and not sinful at all to take those meds. I needed to hear that.
The rest of my concerns haunted me for what felt like years. I know a lot of people tried to give me advice, but I felt their advice was practical and not spiritual. I sought counsel and instruction for the good of my soul. I desired to not just hear the words from above that “it’s okay” but I starved for my heart to feel peace. I needed to not only forgive myself, but believe that God had a plan and that I was on the right track.
I needed an instructor. Perhaps if more people could have shown me spiritual direction my suffering would not have lasted as long as it did.
I look back on myself now and think, “boy, I really did walk around like a lost sheep. I needed help finding the Good Shepherd.”
For those people who we may meet in the future that feel “lost” in their present; let’s prepare ourselves to instruct them. Here are a few ideas on how:
Read Pope Francis’ books, letters and tweets.
Read testimonials of faithful Christians and saints. Last week I spoke of Immaculee and her books which discuss how her faith helped her survive and live a faithful and successful life after the Rwandan genocide. Personal testimonies of faith can help us see God’s will in a deeper, more beautiful light.
Read articles written by knowledgeable, faithful, prayerful Christians.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
Or simply, “Holy Spirit, guide me.”
Ask the Lord to guide your words. Ask your guardian angel for help too. Ask the saints to pray for you.
Share your heart, your empathy and your sympathy first and foremost. People listen when they feel like you “get” them. I know I felt like no one “got” me.
Share those faith articles on social media! Share the Saint quotes! Share those Bible verses! Retweet Pope Francis! In an age where the Kardashians are all over my newsfeed, please, share some spiritual inspiration, direction or something! Our souls are starving.
Share your story. Share the book you read that made you feel better when you were down. Share your therapists phone number. Share the fact that your parish priest gives great homilies. Share your time and pray with one another.
Share your candy . . . especially your chocolate. Also, share your wine.
Hey . . . it helps!
Hopefully doing these three things (reading, praying and sharing) will help us see and identify a lost sheep who is looking for an instructor and then give holy, sound and helpful guidance. And hopefully along the way, we’ll be instructed too.
In case you miss a Mocha, Mercy and Monday post, here are a few: