Day 4: Acceptance & Trust
Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?
As you begin to allow God to be God in your life and as you accept His plan for you, nothing will ever again be the same. You’ll gradually find a balance in your relationships with the world, with others, with yourself, and especially with God.
This balance stems from a deep sense of God’s abiding presence. It is also fueled by your willingness to put aside self-absorption and your own ideas for how things should turn out in your life.
When your desires and choices are based primarily on what you want out of life, even wholesome goals—such as happiness, health or the desire to remain independent in old age—can become a subtle resistance to God’s plan for you.
The more you resist anything in life, the more pain it may cause you. This does not mean to blindly resign yourself to every condition, but rather that sometimes your resistance to the flow of life merely makes a difficult situation worse.
When you or I see someone who is loving and carefree in their giving to others, you can sense that this person has surrendered to God. This is someone who has found joy by embracing God’s plan rather than his or her own desire for control.
As you talk today to Mary, pray to learn trust and to let go of your normal clinging to desired outcomes and plans. Start by letting go of thoughts for how things ought to be, and replace this with a gentle curiosity about God’s plan for you today.
Blessed Mary of Perpetual Help, I long to see our Lord face to face. For the present, my knowledge of Him is only fragmentary. I believe in His nearness, but He also can seem so very far away.
My knowledge of Jesus comes only through the eyes of faith and trust. My desire is to trust so deeply in our Lord, so completely, so powerfully that this trust will sustain me in all adversities.
But what exactly do I mean by trust? How do I gain such acceptance of God’s plan for me? I notice at times I am working so hard to protect myself, fearing that something might go wrong or that I or those I love might come to harm, that there is almost no room left to feel God’s presence.
Yet it is only when I allow God’s presence to fill me and flow through me that there is ever peace or joyfulness.
Blessed Mary, I guess in some way I’m asking you to help me relax and accept God’s plan. To watch with some detachment and indifference all the thoughts and doubts and fears that cross my mind. To watch these thoughts without clinging and without becoming obsessed by them.
My hope in Jesus cannot be an intellectual process, but a deep yearning in my heart to be with my Lord at all times, in all situations. It is a recognition that my capacity to be in His presence can be deepened by His transforming grace.
Mother Mary, since you are pledged to be my Perpetual Help, now help me to increase my capacity for trust so that my faithfulness to your Son will never be obstructed or contained.
Mary, take me by the hand and show me the way to your Son. Do not allow me to lose hope. Help me to overcome whatever doubts I may have. Help me to look to you at all times and avoid placing too much faith in my own feeble powers to make it on my own.
The trust that comes from our Lord will give me a sense of my place in time and the universe. It will enable me to live each day in peace: looking to the past with grateful remembrance, living in the present with joy in each created moment, and looking to the future with quiet anticipation.
Hoping always in our Lord, and strengthened by your perpetual help, Blessed Mary, I offer all my days to you.
Hold a squeeze ball (any kind of rubber or synthetic ball used for hand exercises) in one or both of your hands, and squeeze it tightly. Notice the tension it causes in your hand, arm and shoulder and even in other parts of your body.
While still holding it, imagine releasing it without really doing so. How would your hands and body feel if you let go?
Next, imagining Mary encouraging you: “Do what he tells you,” as you say a short prayer such as, “Lord, I release all my pain and worries to you;” or “Lord, I accept your plan for me.”
Release your grip on the ball as you say this prayer. Pay particular attention to how different it feels to grip the ball tightly or to relax your grip. Can you use this prayer throughout your day when you become particularly tense?