I Hear, But I’m Not Listening

We all have those fears.

Fears that seem to rest in our ears, which play over and over again as if we put them on repeat.

They impact us. They cause our skin to crawl. Our blood pressure to rise. And worst of all they paralyze our limbs and make us feel inadequate.

The other day I came across a quote attributed to one of my favorite spiritual guides St. Padre Pio. I feel as though I am meant to share it with you all.

“You need to act according to this guideline without hesitation or argument. You need to move ahead, doing your work without listening to the voice of your fears. Note, I said listen, that is, to give heed to, to pay attention to, and so on. I am not saying hear because it is impossible not to hear those fears, but do not pay attention to any of them.”

It’s a difficult task. To hear the fears so clearly yet refuse to listen. When we hear the fears we feel as though they are a part of us. Our physiology is impacted so we immediately fall into the trap of dwelling on them.

Friends, I encourage you today to allow the fears to be there but refuse to give them any value. Step forward confidently knowing that Our Lord is with you even when you do not feel His presence.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

 

Confusion Prayer

The confusion which you face is the clarity that you

need to abandon yourself to Christ. For in the turmoil

of the moment, He reaches out and grabs you hand. In

delusion He remains Truth alone. In the fear, He is

security. In the restlessness and trembling, it is a call to

let Him take you under His arm. For we are all just

nomads on this earth when we do not have Him, but

our adventure reaches completion when we are ever

present with Him. Jesus, we give you our turmoil so that

it does not prevent us from walking beside You. The

heaviness and fortress of our fears will turn to dust

when we press forth our drooping eyes and stare at

your Loving Heart.

Fighting the Prayer Battle

If you read any quotes, books, or stories about the saints you will see a common theme.

    1.Prayer is always the answer.

And also.

    2. Prayer is not easy.

For many of us we understand #1 but we have great difficulty implementing it into our lives #2.

 

Hopefully, my story can give you hope and allow you to keep persevering in prayer.

________________________________________

I remember sitting outside of my university’s science building a few years ago. I was talking to a friend and asking for some guidance on prayer.

Our conversation went a bit like this:

Me: I’m having some trouble praying. Like I want to pray, but when I do, I don’t feel right.

Friend: What do you mean?

Me: I want to pray but I almost feel restless whenever I do. I feel this deep unrest, and it makes me not want to pray. 

This was a few years ago and it did not get any better. It got so much worse.

Whenever I prayed, I was restless. I felt uneasy about myself and almost felt more unsafe. I felt intense guilt.  I didn’t like it one bit. I felt like a horrible person for it.

Why when I try to draw close to God do I feel horrible?

My folded hands were almost a stimulus for my anxiety.

This “feeling” took a gun to my prayer life. Over the past few years, I prayed a lot less. My nighttime routine seemed to fade away. Praying the rosary became a less frequent occurrence. Even during Mass, I resisted finding a quite place in my heart to talk to God.

My lack of prayer was not apparent. Looking back, I realize this now; however, it was very camouflaged.

Instead of prayer, I would use other “stimuli” to capture my attention. I would jump into the world of social media. I would post funny things in group chats. I would watch a lot of useless youtube videos.

I was constantly distracting myself from this earthly unrest by not living.

Well, this all took a turn the over the last few weeks.

After much reflecting on God, reading about the lives of the saints, going to Mass often, Christ-centered conversation, and more reflection I realized what was going on.

I lost the fact that I was just a human. A human jailed in the flesh, constantly being attacked by the devil. Prayer would not always come easy. The devil wants nothing more than to take us away from our King. The devil wants to destroy our relationship with Christ.

“The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” Matthew 26:41.

So I decided to prayer. I decided to lose my life in order to save it.

I decided to feel the horrible unrest. I decided to feel the guilt and the lack of peace.

I decided to do this all for Him. I decided to fight this battle against the enemy and praise my Lord Jesus Christ even if it did not “feel” correct.

And you know what happened.

Last night, I was praying the rosary.

And out of nowhere, I was hit by a deep peace.

Whenever, I am hit with despair and distress I am inclined to pray. I am drawn to let the Lord know what is going on in my life.

St. Padre Pio once said,

“Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.”

And he is right. My soul was gasping for air the past few years. Each time it got a breath,  I allowed “my feelings” to drown me. I let the voice of the devil and the unrest placed in my heart to stop my lungs from working.

If any of you out there have had a similar experience or are going through a similar one, I encourage you to pray.

Pray even when you have insane doubts.

Pray even when you don’t want to.

Pray even when you feel won’t be heard.

Because prayer is a fight.

And the good news is.

Christ has already declared victory.

 

 

 

It’s All Good

 

In my house above one of the doors there is a sign that reads,

God’s got a plan, and it’s all good.

It’s a nice little slogan.

Looking at it usually gives me a surge of peace.

It is a call to action: trust in God.

In reference to the Bible it probably relates to Romans 8:28.

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” ROMANS 8:28. 

This past year for me was not really what I expected it to be.

I had a lot of troubles enter into my life that I did not understand.

I had a lot of moments where I felt like Lt. Dan from Forest Gump as he shouted at God while on the fishing boat in the middle of the storm.

Lt. Dan Loud Conversation with God link

Like Lt. Dan, I did not understand. I could not grasp why my life was turning out such a way.

Thoughts flooded my mind…

Why was I in this situation? 

When would I have hope again?

Where was God going with this?

I am sure you have found yourself stuck in the middle of such a storm and confused about God’s plan for your life.

Humanity and confusion basically mean the same thing haha.

With this confusion, can come a lot of anger and bitterness.

For me this was visible in how I viewed my Creator.

I started to see God just as Lt. Dan did. I saw God as a coach forcing me to do as many sprints as I could to become stronger. I saw God as a military leader doing all he could to train me to become a warrior.

While I do believe God does exemplify some of these traits, I was missing the largest piece of all.

The mercy of Our Lord.

Surely God was their through my trials, yet I viewed Him as the cause rather than the comfort

Thinking about this now is extremely sad for me.

My perception of my Lord was stained all because of fear and pride.

My way had to be the right way.

My way must be the best for me.

My way was what I worked towards.

How often, in your life, have similar thoughts filled your mind?

So what are we to do?

We are to remember, Romans 8:28.

We are to remember that God is not the cause but He is the comfort.

In Him all trials, pains, suffering, and fear can be transformed into gift.

For this to happen, we must humble ourselves.

Look courageously towards Heaven.

And remember our way is not the right way.

Because God has got a plan, and it is alllllllll goooood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

His Palms are Sweaty

We have all been there.

So nervous, our palms are like little lakes.

And then, of course, you are going to have to shake someone’s hand right away.

Ashamed of the fact, that they now have to grip onto your slippery fingers.

Are you a member of the clammy hand club? Because I sure am.

Sweating, to me anyway, reminds me of humanity.

We cannot escape it. It keeps us cool in the summer. It shows up under our armpits when we go on a first date. It embarrasses us when we have clammy hands. It stings our eyes when we go on long runs.

 

The other morning I was just waking up. Super groggy and going in and out of sleep.

I was delirious, and out of nowhere a thought popped into my mind,

“Jesus sweat”

 

For some reason, this little thought struck me. I could not stop thinking about it.

I saw Christ in the garden, with palms sweaty in anticipation of his Passion.

I saw Christ carrying the cross, sweating on the way to His crucifixion.

I saw Christ, preaching to the apostles on a hillside with his hair drenched from scorching sun.

Knowing of the divinity of Christ, sometimes it has been difficult for me to understand His humanity. It has been hard for me to empathize with the fact that He fully understands the human condition.

We know He understands pain through His crucifixion.

We know He understands loneliness through His betrayal.

We know He understands anger, as He walked through the temple.

For some reason, meditating on the fact that Christ sweat has opened my eyes up to His humanity. It has allowed me to trust that Christ gets it. Our Lord understands the trials and tribulations of our time here on earth.

So, next time the world has got you sweating. Take heart! Because physiologically our Lord experienced the same thing.

When your palms are sweaty, remember Christ in the garden.

When your hair is drenched, meditate on our Lord’s preaching.

When you are exercising, thank the Lord for carrying the cross.

His palms were sweaty friends, let this give you comfort.

For it is a comfort to remember, that our Lord gets it.

 

100 words to fill you with zeal.

I know life is hard. But know, you are built to break down walls. You were made to conquer with love. I know you are sad. But you have joy resting in your veins and peace sleeping in your mind. You are strong. Braver than a front line soldier. You face your day with a sword made of trust and a shield crafted with confidence. The morning sunrise is your battle cry. The night stars are your spectators. You plant flowers of compassion and shout echoes of empathy. Today is not your day. All days are your day. Go now.  

 

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