by Bryan Francisco
Do you remember the movie Finding Nemo and a certain cute blue fish named Dory who seemed to be rather forgetful? She famously ssay, “When life gets you down, you know what you got to do? Just keep swimming.”. Funnily enough, this quote applies to my own spiritual journey and in my walk with the Lord. We must keep going, especially when we fall and stumble.
Many times in my life have I found myself at the crossroads where I felt like my choices have pulled me away from the Lord, and that I was “too far away” to return. I still struggle with the lie that His love is one that has to be earned, but in reality, I am loved simply because I am His beloved child and this is the one truth in which allows us to see that our failings and weaknesses are not what define us. We may feel that with every stumble, we are deeper in our caves and further away from the Lord. But, He reminds us that this is far from the truth. Our failings are more like speed bumps along the journey rather than an actual dead end. When a vehicle approaches a bump, it doesn’t actually stop nor does it reverse, it simply slows down and goes over it, and soon enough, the vehicle would be able to continue on its journey. Similarly, the failings in our lives are, of course, things to be aware of and wary of, but they do not signify the end of the battle.
In Lamentations, we are reminded that “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). We have a Heavenly Father who calls us by our name and not by our sins or our failings. His mercy truly never ceases, as regardless of our shortcomings, He desires so much good for us. To know that with every speed bump we encounter in our lives, He does not ridicule or belittle but instead, He will be the one giving us the push we need to pick ourselves up and to continue ‘swimming’ towards Him.
So why do we fall?
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 2515, we are made aware of one of the consequences of original sin, that is concupiscence; any intense form of human desire that unsettles a person’s moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines them to commit sins. The unsettling nature of these inclinations is likened to a child learning how to walk, the child slowly discovers how to use his or her lower body to find equilibrium, to eventually find a way to balance and eventually walk. Similarly, these inclinations are us as individuals struggling to find the moral equilibrium of our lives, especially with regard to our own desires. Our spiritual life is essentially a journey of learning how to walk, we will fall and continuously get back up to begin again.
So what now? Can we just accept that we fall and do nothing about it?
Well, no. Just because the child fell the first few times, does not mean that he/she resigned to that and remained on the ground. We are called to more than that. So yes, we are prone to falling and it is what makes us human, but it is also important to not grow apathetic towards our sins and failings. We are instead called to be aware of the weaknesses that pull us away from God and to strive for a life free from the chains of our sins. So how do we do that? Again, “just keep swimming”. We continue to ‘swim’ by clinging on to Jesus, by crying out to Him in our moments of agony or temptations. We are called to ‘keep swimming’ by staying close to the Lord and by maintaining a relationship with Him through prayer and thanksgiving, regardless of the situation.
St Paul shares, “and the Lord has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). It is through our weaknesses and failings that the Lord’s glory can be seen and that He is the one who brings us true healing, comfort and peace. He is fighting for you and for all of us right at this very moment and will continue to fight for us, for the rest of our lives.
So my brothers and sisters, this journey that we call life is filled with many bumps and struggles, and the Lord is already in the front seat. Many of us are still clinging on to the steering wheel in a bid to remain in control of our lives, but perhaps it’s time to let Him take the wheel for a change?