Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I can remember when I was a little girl... asking my mother "why me?" when she asked me to do a chore. In fact, anything distasteful to me (sickness, peas, punishment...) would prompt my question "why me?" It seems I thought I deserved everything that was good and wholesome, and anything else I received was terribly unjust. Over the years I have continued to ask this question, but for other reasons. It occurred to me that I am not the only one who has asked this question, and still asks it, so I have decided to relate my own experiences and solution for your benefit.
As a preteen I was immersed in saint books. I often asked the question "why me?" because I wondered why I lived in the time I did, or why I even lived at all. I wondered why God created me as who I was, and not as somebody else. I wondered why I was on earth and why God thought that I could undergo the test of free will. I wondered why I was (as everyone is) called to sainthood if I had not had a childhood like St. Catherine of Siena or St. Rose of Lima. When I would realize how weak I was, how I didn't love Jesus enough, how I was so irresponsible and lazy... I would ask the question again, wondering why me? Why was I called to serve Jesus during my lifetime? Perhaps a contemporary of this question was "how can I?"
Years later, when I realized my calling to the Poor Clares, the immensity of my vocation hit me in the face. Again I asked, and still ask, why me? The more I read and research the privilege of poverty, the more I begin to understand about the relationship of a religious with Christ, the more I see of the great responsibility of a nun to be a missionary to the world... the more I ask, why me? I see how God has worked in my life to bring me where I am now, and I am astounded. Almost indignantly I wonder "why me? Why not someone else?" Why indignant, you say? God has given me a happiness far above worldly joy, a happiness in suffering. He has granted me the vocation I desired most, and will permit me to offer myself to Him for the world. He has spoken His love into the ear of my heart very early, and answered my prayer to ignite me with love. I would wish these things for somebody else, perhaps someone more qualified or courageous... but God has invited me.
But this is not the only reason why I might say "why me?" A certain fear and apprehension also take hold of me. Why must I suffer? Why must I endure temptation, when I may be too weak to fight it? Why must I be so imperfect, to make the road so much harder? Why must I mingle with holy people who can so easily see the faults in me? Why must I be lonely? Why must I pray so hard, when I know my prayers to be so unimportant? Why must I bare my soul in writing when there is so little chance of me helping anyone? In the midst of these questions, something occurred to me.
Every time I ask the question "why me?", I am selfishly overlooking the very heart of my life and my vocation. It is not about me, it is about God. He tells me "you have not chosen Me, it is I Who have chosen you." It is not about my capabilities for prayer or my qualification... on the contrary, it is entirely about God's goodness and His allowing me to participate in the Divine act of Redemption. Of myself, I am nothing. Therefore the answer to my question "why me?" is: not you, but Him. Greatly does this relieve the burden of anxiety and responsibility.. for I have no responsibility but to follow Him and do His will; I need no responsibility to love Him, for this I already do. But it makes sense, because how can one be responsible to be what he is not? That would be terribly unfair... therefore it is our responsibility to trust that God IS what we are not. So do not be afraid... be silent, and know that He is God.