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Letting Go in Order to Hold On

First Reading: Wisdom 13:1-9

All men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God,
and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is,
and from studying the works did not discern the artisan;
But either fire, or wind, or the swift air,
or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water,
or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods.
Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods,
let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these;
for the original source of beauty fashioned them.
Or if they were struck by their might and energy,
let them from these things realize how much more powerful is he who made them.
For from the greatness and the beauty of created things
their original author, by analogy, is seen.
But yet, for these the blame is less;
For they indeed have gone astray perhaps,
though they seek God and wish to find him.
For they search busily among his works,
but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair.
But again, not even these are pardonable.
For if they so far succeeded in knowledge
that they could speculate about the world,
how did they not more quickly find its Lord?

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 19:2-3, 4-5AB

R. (2a) The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

Gospel: Luke 17:26-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be in the days of the Son of Man;
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage up to the day
that Noah entered the ark,
and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot:
they were eating, drinking, buying,
selling, planting, building;
on the day when Lot left Sodom,
fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all.
So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
On that day, someone who is on the housetop
and whose belongings are in the house
must not go down to get them,
and likewise one in the field
must not return to what was left behind.
Remember the wife of Lot.
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it,
but whoever loses it will save it.
I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed;
one will be taken, the other left.
And there will be two women grinding meal together;
one will be taken, the other left.”
They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?”
He said to them, “Where the body is,
there also the vultures will gather.”

NAB

nov 13

“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.”

I am a planner. I like to make sure all my ducks are in a row because, surely, if everything is set up just right, the proper outcome will occur.

How often does that happen? Probably never.

But the point of planning isn’t to have the perfect outcome (or it shouldn’t be). It should be to have the best outcome. And guess what? I really don’t know what the best outcome is. Only God does.

When I act with a certain neutrality about the outcome, room is left for God to act. If I cling to my outcomes, wishing them into existence, I am likely to miss the lesson our Lord is attempting to teach me in this experience. If I push with all my might, in the hopes it will be just so, I worship my pride (and often my anger, my impatience, and my slanderous words) over and above the Creator who truly performs the handiwork in every situation.

On the day before I was to be married, my mind was running through all the logistics I was hoping were perfectly in place to execute the ceremony and celebration the following day. At the rehearsal dinner that evening, my very wise maid-of-honor took me aside and told me that I had come to an end of all the careful planning. It was time to give it all to God (and friends who were helping out) and take in every moment from that point on without a care of the outcome.

It was not easy to let go, but the result was the best memories of my life, the most sacred, grace-filled moments that became tangible that day because I wasn’t holding on. I was letting God work through it all and living in His grace.

We are able to do this even in the daily moments—trusting in His providence as we take an exam, watch our children walk off to school, provide for the bills to be paid, lay our newborn to sleep, send our husband off on a tour, deal with an unwelcome situation with our neighbor. So many opportunities to practice.

Give it to Him. He will provide.

“To escape the distress caused by regret for the past or fear about the future, this is the rule to follow: leave the past to the infinite mercy of God, the future to His good Providence, give the present wholly to His love by being faithful to His grace.” ~Jean-Pierre de Caussade from Abandonment to Divine Providence

photo by Jacqueline Kayleigh

Laurel Muff is a creator and appreciator of beautiful things. She resides with her husband and daughters in Northern California. You can find more about her here.

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