The phrase “do not worry,” is repeated by Jesus 3 times in the Gospel from this past Sunday, along with the question, “Why are you anxious . . .?” (Matthew 6: 24-34).
As much as we don’t want to worry, it appears to be a natural part of being human. But Jesus offers us this guidance, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all [will] be given you besides.” This is a reminder to ask ourselves, “what is most important?” This has the potential to keep our eyes fixed on God and to make those choices that will bring peace rather than worry.
This past week the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer experienced many opportunities to turn from worry toward God.
When the the students from Michigan State University arrived four hours later than planned for their Alternative Spring Break week of service, due to snowy conditions along their journey, the Sisters waited to welcome them with dinner and a place to rest.
The next day all were prepared for another onslaught of snow. It became the storm that wasn’t – all the worry about another foot of snow dissipated when we only received a dusting.
We experienced the start of the School Garden program this season with Classroom visit to prepare the students for planting seeds in the greenhouse. The children were surprised to learn that what we need to grow strong and healthy is very much what plants need too! Air to breathe, water, food, exercise, sunlight, warmth, shelter, caregivers and friends, etc. And God promises to provide all these things – so “do not worry.”
Ash Wednesday arrived and reminded us not only to turn away from sin (and worry) -all that keeps us from following Jesus and keeping our eyes on God – but also to receive the love and mercy God so abundantly wants to share with us. As Sisters we enter this Lenten season with the theme to guide our reflection and prayer, “Draw Me Near.” It is to know that we are called to open our hearts and lives to God’s love so that God can draw us close – be it in joy, in suffering, in our ordinary moments.
One evening the Sisters joined the College students for Faith Sharing. We listened as they shared about going out of their comfort zones to be present to others in their various service activities. Their fears and worry soon faded away as they connected with others and their stories.
The First Friday of the month brought with it Eucharistic Adoration – an opportunity to let God draw us near and to let go of any worries and fears. What a gift to just be with God in this sacrament.
Saturday, March 8th marks the first National Catholic Sisters Week. This celebration joins Women’s History Month and highlights the vocation of Religious Life and the history, contributions and presence of Religious Women. We celebrate the courage and trust in God that overcame worry so often in the history of Religious Life and in the lives of so many Sisters.
So, what are your worries this week? Look at them honestly and bring them before God. Let God’s love overcome worry and anxiety.