Monday, March 03, 2014

Homily - "Our lives are in God's hands"

Click HERE to listen to Sunday's homily.
I was reading about a study on that involved 68 college students and analyzed the relationship between spiritual meditation and anxiety. Some of the students were trained to do a spiritual meditation for 20 minutes a day for two weeks while others were trained to do a non-spiritual relaxation technique for 20 minutes a day for two weeks. After the two weeks, all if the students came to the lab.  The researchers had the students do their meditations for 20 minutes, and then had them put a hand in a bath of cold water for as long as they could.  They measured several things including anxiety.  The results showed that the students who had practiced spiritual meditations had lower levels of anxiety than those who had practiced non-spiritual meditations.  Many studies have been done over the years, and the majority have come to the same conclusion: those who practice religion or spiritual meditation have lower levels of anxiety than those who don't.

Two points to make on this tonight. The first is the importance of daily, spiritual meditation.  Every GW Catholic should be meditating for 20 consecutive minutes every day.  It takes at least that much time to get quiet with the Lord and out of the noise of the world.  Two solid daily practices that take about 20 minutes are Lectio Divina and weekday Mass.  And, these are awesome practices to do during Lent! We have sheets in the back of Church to teach you how to do Lectio, and daily Mass times in our bulletin.

The second point is the importance of spiritual meditation with regard to anxiety, as the study points out.  College is a time of stress and anxiety for most people; it's off the charts here at GW! I don't know how you all deal with it and still stay as composed as you are.  I just hope that it's within the realm of reality...that you're not escaping reality to "take the edge off". If you're keeping it real, that's amazing. Christ takes the edge off and gives us peace and calmness like no other.  He says in Matthew 11:28 to come to Him, "all you who labor and are heavy burdened and I will give you rest".  In other words, all you who are stressed out or anxious or worried, give that to me.  Give God your worries! He will give you rest... He will give you call...He will give you peace.  It's a peace that the world cannot offer.

Jesus says in tonight's Gospel: DO NOT WORRY.  He says it over and over again.  It reminds me of John 6 when He teaches over and over again about the Eucharist.  It's like what marketers say, that consumers need to see an ad 7 times before they will buy the product.  That's why I talk about the Eucharist and Confession so that you will get it.  It took me 20 years to get it! The Lord is saying it over and over again so that we will get it.  DO NOT WORRY.   He's not saying do not work or do not plan.  He is saying that your worry should not exceed your work.  Do not overworry.  Give your worries to Him! Live in the present, let go of the past, and don't worry about the future. Living in the present has been a helpful focus for many students with whom I work in spiritual direction.  Consider doing spiritual direction which can help with letting go of anxiety, developing a prayer life / spiritual meditation, and living according to God's Plan.

That last point is what I will close with.  If we put together tonight's first reading and Gospel, we get to the idea of Providence.  Providence is God's protection and governance over all creation.  It means God has a plan for your life...and that He hasn't forgotten you.  The major part of that word is "provide". He will provide all you need.  Jesus says that the Father knows all you need.  He will provide all you need to do well with your mid-terms, your internships, your relationships, your careers, your vocations, your finances...everything.

Our lives are in God's hands.  Meditate on this during Holy Communion tonight. Your life is in His hands.  Give Him your worry.  Give Him your heart.   Give Him your life.  Say, “Jesus, I trust in you.  You will provide.  My life is in your hands”.

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