My family and I arrived in Iowa a few days ago, and we are now looking for a home to rent until our home back in Virginia sells. We are thrilled to be here with a new parish, and looking forward to serving God as a part of St. Aidan's Church (and all of us are really looking forward to entering the Ordinariate). We still have much to do, and are staying quite busy. Mass was wonderful today, and my whole family feels truly blessed. Our move here was unique in virtually every respect. We have moved a few times before, but this time truly stood out from the rest. I could go through a long list of things that would bore you, but let me just say that it is more amazing than it sounds. We expected, "A, B, C, and D", and God chose to give us "Q, G, W, and E". This is not to say that we experienced a series of disasters and are deep in misery. As St. Augustine said, God never takes away one thing we want without giving us something that is even better. Scripture speaks the same way when we are told that God, "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Eph 3:20). Knowing that we do not deserve anything from the hand of God, having received such amazing providence from Him is truly humbling.
It would be easy to look merely at the disappointments that have occurred and begin to fret and ask questions like, "why has the Lord done this to us?" Yet, there is another way to look at these things; it is harder, but more faithful to say "why has the Lord not let worse things happen to us?" My wife and I spoke yesterday about the fact that the last two weeks have been a string of providential deliverances by our gracious Lord. Where a person of doubt would fixate on the circumstances and fret about what this would lead to, we chose instead to throw ourselves on the mercy of God and trust Him. This is not the same as throwing caution to the wind, but it is the same as when the Apostle Paul says "The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing" (Phil 4:5-6). Jesus is nearby, so stop fretting about every circumstance. When we put our confidence in what the Lord is able to do, and stop putting our doubts in what we can do, we retain the right focus and find that God's blessings are always beyond our greatest expectations.
I know a couple people who say that they are not entering the Ordinariate, and it appears that the reason is because the Apostolic Constitution is not what they were hoping for. Whether we agree with them or not, they are saying that they wanted one thing and were offered another. Disappointed expectations are always painful, but the ecclesiastical type are frequently the worst. I expect that there are aspects of how the implementation of the Ordinariates is being carried out that are disappointing to many people, and it will probably continue to be that way until it is established (and likely after also). Yet the way that God works things out is usually beyond our expectations. We want "A" (because we are sure that it is the only possible good way), and instead He gives us "B" (which we are disappointed with); then we come to find out that "B" is far better than we ever hoped that "A" would have been.
Whether we approach things with the heart of faith or the heart of worry and doubt will make an enormous difference in how we respond to it when things begin to develop. Will there be some disappointments? Likely. Will there be some things changed that we did not want changed? Likely. Will we see decisions made that we would have made differently? Likely. If I was in charge of the universe, I know that I sure would not have made our recent move go the way it did; I would have made a complete mess of things and made everyone miserable. A friend of mine used to say, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." Quite true indeed. So I decided that I was going to allow myself to have hopes and dreams about the Ordinariate. I have some desires about the liturgy we will be given, and how the ordination process will go. I have a preference for the Ordinary, and the timing of it all. Yet each of these things are "my" plans. These are what I want, and wisdom says that I should be willing to give them up for that which is better by far. Our gracious Lord knows what we need before we even ask and is able to give us more than we can "ask or think".
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