Calvary Love

“Amma” Amy Carmichael (image public domain/Wikipedia)

If when an answer I did not expect comes to a prayer which I believed I truly meant,

and I shrink back from it;

If the burden my Lord asks me to bear be not the burden of my heart’s choice,

and I fret inwardly and do not welcome His will,

then I know nothing of Calvary love.

(If, by Amy Carmichael, p.48).

A prolific writer and missionary to India, Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) founded Dohnavur Fellowship, where she served for 56 years, rescuing dozens of “temple children” to know and love Christ. Elisabeth Elliot’s biography of “Amma,” A Chance to Die, was such a profound influence on my own spiritual journey that I took Amy’s name at confirmation.

What I love most about Amy — in addition to her beautiful hymns, her legacy of service, and her breathtaking faith in God — is how she (like Mother Teresa) never waivered in her trust in Jesus, or in her confidence that he had called her to this place in the southernmost tip of India, where she would live and die without ever returning to her homeland.

It is this trust — even in the face of harrowing and faith-shaking circumstances — that we all need a little more of these days. Listen, and take to heart, as this “hidden saint” recounts the words of Jesus to her.

Trust Me with a humbler heart and a fuller abandon to My will than ever thou didst before. Trust Me to pour My love through thee, as minute succeeds minute. And if thou shouldst be conscious of anything hindering the flow, do not hurt My love by going away from Me in discouragement, for nothing can hurt love so much as that. Draw all the closer to Me; come, flee unto Me to hide thee, even from thyself. Tell Me about the trouble. rust Me to turn My hand upon thee and thoroughly to remove the boulder that has choked thy riverbed, and take away all the sand that has silted up the channel. I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. I will perfect that which concerneth thee. Fear thou not, O child of My love, fear not.”

If, p. 69

St. Amy Carmichael, pray for us.

Weekend Ponderings: God, the Just Judge

The Gospel reading this weekend is from the Gospel of Luke 18:

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’” The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

When we implore God to help us, over and over, do we really expect that He will hear . . . and answer?

Maybe. Maybe not. And maybe we’ll only accept the “answer” if it aligns with our own sense of justice.

This week, how can I lean on God with greater abandon, entrust my life to Him even more completely?

When God says, “NEXT!”

Exciting news!  As of today, Behold Your Mother is available with a beautiful new cover, courtesy of my publisher Cheryl Dickow. Cheryl is in the process of putting together the Spanish edition (Contempla a tu Madre), which will be available this fall. The English edition now also includes pages where you can write your own Mary meditations. Fun, huh?

Ah, yes …. Changes can be a very good thing. Today I sent out the first CMN newsletter, in which I recount a time in my life when I sensed God was moving me on to something else … but I didn’t know just what.

I’m in that place again, to be honest. When Sarah and I got back from the Catholic New Media Celebration, I found myself feeling as though I was poised on the edge of a precipice, holding on by my fingernails and unable to see beneath my feet.

Sarah, wise woman, said this to me. “Sometimes when we feel this way, we’re really holding on to God’s shoulder … He wants us to let go so we’ll be safe in His hand.  (My priest told me a variation of this when I went to confession on Saturday, so I’m guessing this is something I need to act on.)

Are you feeling on edge this week? Do you sense change is ahead, and wonder how you are going to cope? Or is the change not coming quite soon enough for you, and are you growing impatient?

Breathe. What you are feeling is normal. It is the simple call of the Father who loves you to wait for Him, to trust Him, to give Him everything in your hands, so He can make something beautiful out of it all.