It was a typical Saturday in late January. My best friend was helping me install a laminate floor in our living room. We took a break to have lunch together, and chitchatted for a bit before he left. Four days later, I received a series of frantic text messages and phone calls. My friend had collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital. The following day, I learned he had a rare and fast-growing form of cancer. Fortunately, he has responded well to treatment, and is expected to make a full recovery
My friend’s quick descent, from thinking he had a cold to being diagnosed with cancer, provided me with a radical wake-up call. Every morning for the next few weeks, the first thought that entered my mind was the fragileness of our earthly existence. We can go about our daily routines with no concern for the future, and then in an instant, our life can be utterly and irrevocably changed.
We have a common misconception that most people are not suffering through some trial. We all think that we have a great cross, be it a financial problem, health issue, death in the family, or trouble with children, but everyone else, we assume, has it good or at the very least better than we have it. The reality is that most people hide their struggles and sugarcoat their public persona, especially on social media.
Every one of us is constantly fighting through some trial, and if you’re fortunate enough to be in the midst of a short reprieve, thank God for the break but prepare yourself for the future. I am always surprised in my conversation with coworkers, students, friends and family members when I discover that individuals, who on the surface appear to have everything in order, are in fact facing great challenges. Yes, we all have our crosses to carry.
You cannot organize your life to remove all stress. You cannot gain peace through to-do lists. You cannot control your life to find perfect happiness. Any attempt to deal with life’s challenges in a worldly manner will fail. I foolishly think that if I could only get over the hurdle in front of me, then I could rest and relax, but I always find another hurdle immediately after it. The only way to find peace, happiness and joy is to give up the worldly rat race, surrender your will and trust in God.
My younger sister is a sister, more specifically a Sister of Life in New York City. She lived in the Bronx for several years, and she wears a full religious habit. A young sister strolling up and down the streets of New York City is quite the sight, and people frequently approach her with questions. She has quite the collection of stories.
Rather frequently, complete strangers come up to her, and share their problems with her. She has noticed there are two ways of thinking. One group believes that God is not good because of the bad things that happened in their life. They blame God for a death in the family or a bad financial decision. The other group believes they are not good because of something they did in their past, perhaps they had an abortion or a hostile relationship with a family member. When something bad happens in their life, they think God is punishing them for their past actions.
In both cases, these individuals have a poor relationship with God. They do not know who God is, what he wants for them, or how they can approach him. In her brief encounters, she immediately turns to the message of God’s mercy. She has a great devotion to St. Faustina, known as the Apostle of Divine Mercy, who she is also named after, and she had found that St. Faustina’s message is a perfect antidote for the modern, secular soul.
She quickly tells them that God is a loving father, who wants the best for them, and that everyone, no matter their past sins, is loved by God. He wants to forgive all their past evil actions, and draw them closer to His Divine Heart. Don’t fight God over present concerns, instead give them to him. Give him your worries over health, money, relationships and jobs. Place your trust in God.
My sister’s love for this message was forged in her own experiences. She had many questions about the will of God in her life, especially about her vocation. She was anxious and experienced great inner turmoil. It was only when she surrendered her will and placed her trust in God that she found peace and discovered her true vocation as a sister.
She frequently shared the same short speech about trusting in God, and she often wished that she had something in her hands that she could give to people. To that end, she composed a short Litany of Trust (see below), and now, she distributes it to the people she meets. This wonderful prayer will help you to rely more on Jesus and less on yourself. It will help you with your little struggles during the good times, but it will also provide you with great comfort and confidence in the heat of your greatest struggles.
Litany of Trust
From the belief that I have to earn Your love … Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear that I am unlovable … Deliver me, Jesus.
From the false security that I have what it takes … Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear that trusting You will leave me more destitute … Deliver me, Jesus.
From all suspicion of Your words and promises … Deliver me, Jesus.
From the rebellion against childlike dependency on You … Deliver me, Jesus.
From refusals and reluctances in accepting Your will … Deliver me, Jesus.
From anxiety about the future … Deliver me, Jesus.
From resentment or excessive preoccupation with the past … Deliver me, Jesus.
From restless self-seeking in the present moment … Deliver me, Jesus.
From disbelief in Your love and presence … Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being asked to give more than I have … Deliver me, Jesus.
From the belief that my life has no meaning or worth … Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of what love demands … Deliver me, Jesus.
From discouragement … Deliver me, Jesus.
That You are continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me … Jesus, I trust in you.
That Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings, and transforms me …Jesus, I trust in you.
That not knowing what tomorrow brings is an invitation to lean on You … Jesus, I trust in you.
That You are with me in my suffering … Jesus, I trust in you.
That my suffering, united to Your own, will bear fruit in this life and the next …Jesus, I trust in you.
That You will not leave me orphan, that You are present in Your Church…Jesus, I trust in you.
That Your plan is better than anything else … Jesus, I trust in you.
That You always hear me, and in Your goodness always respond to me …Jesus, I trust in you.
That You give me the grace to accept forgiveness and to forgive others …Jesus, I trust in you.
That You give me all the strength I need for what is asked …Jesus, I trust in you.
That my life is a gift … Jesus, I trust in you.
That You will teach me to trust You … Jesus, I trust in you.
That You are my Lord and my God … Jesus, I trust in you.
That I am Your beloved one … Jesus, I trust in you.