Friday, 01 March 2019 17:17

Yes, I believe

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I know a wise woman; I believe her to be wise for many reasons. Her faith insures that at least some part of her day is dedicated to prayer. She’s a daily Rosary lady, reads scripture and tries, whenever possible, to open herself up to divine beauty. So when I talk to this woman of faith with such daily practices, I am more likely to glean some wisdom from her words, or from observing her actions.

Further, the Lord has granted her the capacity to look at many disparate details, analyze them and create educated opinions based on the evidence before her. She might see patterns or have insights that I simply miss. We’re very different and this is good for me. I need different people around me, with a strong Catholic faith as the common denominator, to help me in this life. 

She recently read and studied an article and thought it wise to expound upon it, for the topic interested her. The question at hand was ‘How do we make wise choices consistently?’ 

Hmm. 

Good question. Given my respect for her, I thought I would make an attempt to answer the question in writing. Here we go:

I wish I could say that I was a consistent, wise decision maker. If I look back in time, there are ample examples of poor decision making. What was I thinking? Or, was it just not thinking? I don’t know for sure, but pondering the past sometimes makes me blush in embarrassment.

Although a sometimes uncomfortable activity, reflecting on past decisions can be quite healthy, too. While I shouldn’t ruminate on the past as it did happen and there’s no way of changing history, couldn’t I learn something and grow? 

Of course. 

I believe at some level, all decisions either point towards or away from our Lord.  Whether I realize it or not, my decision-making plays a great role in how the Lord will regard and judge me. He has given me the gift of free will to choose Him or something else. If I make a self-less decision of sacrifice, then I am turning towards the Lord. The inference here is ‘Lord, I read and study your words, I have seen your miracles, your daily action in my life. I will imitate you, I will try to replicate your life, albeit, imperfectly.’ 

When I steer clear of the Lord, when I break my relationship with Him, I am having a ‘me’ moment. I am selfish. I am worried and fearful of missing out on something the world values. I choose ‘me,’ and all the loneliness it leads to. There’s no more solitude with the Trinity, the most important persons in my life.  I have forgotten the Blessed Mother and her nurturing love for me. 

If I desire to be wise, then, I am striving to become more Christ-like. With this assumption, I ask the same question as in the beginning of the article: ‘How do I/we make good (wise) choices, consistently?’ 

First, who are my role models? Who am I studying, trying to emulate? If we can agree that our environment, our surroundings and what we read, study and watch matters, then my role models matter. These are the people who have led good, holy lives here on earth. They are worthy of study. They are people to emulate. If I want to make good, wise decisions, I need to have great mentors. 

As of late, Saint Padre Pio comes to mind, as well as Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati; and, I’d be remiss to forget the Blessed Mother. After all, she’s the #1 apostle: She said ‘YES’ to the angel, opening up the gateway of my own salvation. She said ‘yes’ to rearing the Christ-child. And her ‘yes’ wasn’t easy. Throughout it all, including the public ministry of her son, she never complains, always obeys, regardless of the suffering she must endure. She is a most worthy role model. 

These three characters are from a list of many Christ-like people. Under the microscope, they are the proverbial standouts. They are, after all, saints.

When I reflect on St. Pio, yes, the miracles of healing, bilocation are wonderful. But perhaps the most wonderful of all is his disciplined prayer/prayerful discipline. This man prayed. This man prayed and prayed some more. His prayer of choice: the Holy Rosary. How many times per day? Many. Are the miracles a direct result of the humility that results from constant prayer? Could we all be saints by learning and implementing the prayer practices of Pio? I think the answer is ‘yes.’ Might my decision-making improve if I pray throughout the day and replace my thoughts with ‘His?’ Absolutely.

When I reflect on Blessed Pier Giorgio, I think of many things. As a young man, Pier Giorgio had to persevere on the home front. While his parents provided for him materially speaking, more often than not they either ignored or belittled him.

He also had a natural proclivity, a grace, for charity. His parents could not understand their son and his heart, as they were so material and power driven.  While the parents were seeking the world’s short-term glory of riches and fame, their son was literally in the streets of his hometown, Turin, Italy, administering to the needs of the poor. When he died at the young age of 24, thousands of poor people showed up at his funeral. His parents, looking on in dismay, realized they had no idea why their son was loved by so many of society’s poor. Who was their son, truly? Could my decision making improve if I absorb Pier Giorgio’s example? After all, isn’t his example directly aligned with how Christ asked us to lead this life, to love the poor? Yes.

And with Mary, what can I say? She is the God-bearer. This role intones human perfection, the hallmark of sinlessness. Couldn’t I try to replicate her ‘Yes,’ in this life? She said ‘Yes,’ to the will of God, not counting the costs, not complaining. She pondered all in her heart. She surely suffered a lot, yes, Our Lady of Sorrows suffered. Might I not make wiser decisions when asked to engage and participate as a Catholic, a practicing Catholic? 

This might mean listening and obeying my sister when she asks me to call my little brother, to encourage him in a difficult situation. Or, to respond to a priest’s request to go to Adoration and spend not only time with our Lord, consoling Him, but let Him console me.

This is what God does in Adoration. As Saint John Paul the Great explains in his Theology of the Body, God is an exchange of love through three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Although God does not need my love, He would like me to freely give my love to Him, just like any loving parent, just like how the Holy Trinity. And when I love Him, guess what. He pours His heart out into me. If I look at this exchange of love transactionally, my gift of my heart to the Lord always pales in comparison of His gift of His heart to me in Adoration. Adoration is always a win-win, but I win more with my personal ‘yes’ to love God. He will and does transfigure me, especially in Adoration. 

So, if I say a Marian ‘Yes,’ which is to always towards her Son in everything, am I more likely to make wiser decisions in this life, more consistently? Absolutely! 

But more importantly than thinking ‘yes,’ is it not more important that I say ‘Yes, I believe.’?

DaneBairdDane Baird has been a witness member of the Home of the Mother for over 3 years. He has two daughters, Jean and Susannah. The newest addition to the family is Halo, wonder-dog! His profession is teaching autistic children and he enjoys acting in several parish and diocesan ministries, as well as supporting the Home of the Mother.

His blog is called "Fathers Floreat!" Floreat is a word he heard on retreat, it is latin for to flourish, to bloom. Men should be blossoming according to God's plan.

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