An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Monday, July 25, 2011

Learning to Strive

I am a mess.

This was the sobering thought that swirled through my head as I sat in silent prayer while waiting for Mass to begin this past Sunday.

I wasn't happy with myself, but in my self recrimination I couldn't come up with one single, glaring thing that I had done wrong; rather, it was a bunch of smaller ways in which I could have been better ... lost opportunities in which I could have been a better wife, a better mother, a better steward, a better friend, a better writer, a better homemaker, a better example.

If I were being honest (and I was trying to be) then I would have to also admit that lately I had been coasting -- just doing the minimum -- and not taking opportunities to be more: more kind, more generous, more spiritual, more patient, more charitable.

And by not being better or by not doing more meant that I had been ... mediocre, at best. Lukewarm.

Ick. No wonder I wasn't happy with myself. God was calling me to holiness, and holiness wasn't even on my radar.

Or was it? Could these feeling of dissatisfaction and restlessness be God's way of pulling me back? I thought of John Paul II who said that the call to holiness was not only a state, but a task; that we are not so much called to attain perfection, as to strive for perfection.

Strive. I pondered that word for a few minutes.

I once read that in our walk of faith, one either goes forward or one goes backward, but one does not stand still.

This, then, was what God was telling me: I can't be better or do more unless I strive to be better or do more; that unless there is the task, nothing is accomplished. This is not to say that strive is synonymous with success, but that the attempt is better than nothing at all.

Sanctuary of La Verna
Tuscany, Italy
Where St. Francis of Assisi received the stigmata.


Catherine B. said...

Thank you for sharing your "struggle". It hits close to home!

Lisa said...

Yes, yes... It's in the striving. =sigh= It's good to know that others feel these same disatisfactions and find the same Hand that is urging us forward. I feel so blessed to be walking this same walk with you, Bia.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

Absolutely, be the daughter He wants you to be.

You're closer than you know because you are in His grip--but we all want to know He is smiling down on us, the pure expression of our Father's love.

And sometimes that takes work, conscious effort, yep, strive for it. Anyone who reads this should think, "I must strive for this too."

Really, we have that success--His grace assures us, but we can show our Love for Him more through all we do.

Anonymous said...

Speaks straight to my heart!

La Rue

Nikki said...

I too have heard that we don't stand still and often question what direction am I moving?

This week's gospel was a good reminder about being ready to give all that we have for the pearl of great price. We can't attain heaven without giving our all. So we must always be striving to give more.

Beautiful post!

tiziana said...

Cara Maria, sei stata un po' troppo severa con te stessa.
Secondo me sei una delle persone più belle che conosca.
Sono certa che sei una mamma, una moglie, un'amica, una figlia meravigliosa e che con i tuoi blogs mi fai tanta compagnia e mi insegni tante cose buone.
Certo si può sempre migliorare, ma penso che la mia strada sia più lunga della tua.
Un grande abbraccio.

Do Not Be Anxious said...

Wisdom of an old man (it's taken me a lot of years to learn this): Whenever I feel that I may be coasting, not doing enough to grow in holiness (spending too much time in front of the tv, e.g.), I don't get down on myself. I just ask myself one question: Who can I help?

Some of the biggest leaps I have made in growing closer to God have been when I helped someone else; I learned from them things I didn't know I didn't know. When I PLAN how I am going to grow in holiness, usually not much happens.

Mary @ A Simple Twist Of Faith said...

What a beautiful post, thanks for being so honest.