Every time I step foot inside a church or chapel, my heart gives a deep sigh of relief as it realizes that it has come home. There’s a moment of welcomed peace and excitement, but it’s quickly followed by a dreaded realization of what I’m bringing through those doors with me. I realize that along with the weight of the world, I’ve brought with me my own personal baggage, or dirty laundry, if you will.
Then comes fear. Specifically the fear of what this dirty laundry says about me. Here I’ve come, to see my loving Father who welcomes me into his home with open arms to spend time with Him and His Son - my brother - and what do I bring? Dirty laundry.
As I take my seat in the pew, I feel like EVERYONE in the church can smell this pile of stinking mess. Certainly the kind family seated in the pew in front of me can’t help but notice it. From up on the altar, the wise priest HAS to be able to see the odor wafting throughout his church. And here I am trying to trying to hide my laundry under the seat.
As I try to move beyond my feeling of self-disparaging, I begin to hear Jesus’ words well up in the silence of my heart, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?”
I’m convinced it’s outrageously easy for us to let the “perfect” be the enemy of the good. In other words, we can convince ourselves that we’re not ready to pursue the ultimate good found in our vocation just because of the baggage we carry. We’ll hold off until we “figure things out.”
Jesus proclaims a year acceptable to the Lord every time our hearts turn to him in prayer. Every time we come to him, carrying what we are given by the world and what we pick up ourselves along the way, He invites us - as we are - into the goodness of our relationship with Him. The more we practice giving ourselves to God, the more we become aware of the abundance of love, mercy and compassion he gives us. It’s such an abundance that we are invited to give it those around us as a single person or priest or husband/wife, even right now if you are still discerning your vocation.
If you’re praying about your own vocation, today, ask the Lord to shed some light - specifically His light - on those areas in your life that weigh you down. Listen to what He’s trying to tell you about who He knows He created you to be.
If you’re praying for those who are discerning, ask the Lord to show them His healing power.