August 2007 - Volume 12, Issue 1

Trust In God

By Rev. Mark Connolly

Black and white photo of Winston ChurchillMany years ago the great Winston Churchill wrote a beautiful line and the line was simply this - "When I was young I was very liberal, when I became older I became very conservative, when I became very, very old I became very spiritual."

If you analyze the word spirituality, one of the necessary ingredients that a person has to have if he is to have any deep spirituality is the personal quality of trust. Trust in a higher power, trust in a personal God and the supreme being. Even many of the psychiatric trends today with all we use to rely on medication and all sorts of tranquilizers, now recognize that trust in God is a great ingredient for someone coping with the battles of life.

If there is any organization that has taught us about the values of personal trust, it is the organization that we know as Alcoholics Anonymous. Those men and women know that by believing in a higher power, by trusting in that higher power, that they have a fighting chance to conquer the problem of alcoholism. That sense of trust is beautifully summed up in the prayer:

"God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference"

Trust reminds us from the teachings of Christ that not every question is going to be answered and every problem will have a solution. For most Catholics, the basic example of trust is that which took place on Good Friday some 2000 years ago. Christ, the most innocent of men, nailed between two thieves and dying in the most despised of manners. Don't you think his mother, Mary, often wondered why her son had to die in this fashion? When you think of all the writings from St. Augustine to St. Thomas about this event in the crucifixion and they still come forth with the fact that this is an event that demands our trust, that if suffering and tragedy did not pass by Christ, it is not going to pass by us. And if Christ and his blessed Mother had to show trust in this particular tragedy, each one of us is expected to show trust whenever a tragedy takes place in our lives.

In the Old Testament, we are taught that this earth is a "valley of tears." In the New Testament we are taught to love God with our whole mind and soul. We have to keep in mind that if everything went as perfectly as we would like it on earth, none of us would ever cultivate the quality of personal trust.

If you look back into the history of our country of over the last 100 years, you can see how the immigrants from other nations who came to this country some not knowing the language, some without two nickels to rub together, but with a sense of trust that God would never abandon them, that God would never let them down.

What we have to keep in mind is that every generation has an earthquake or bubonic plague (black plague) that decimated about ¼ of the population of Europe and there have been no explanations that have been given that are totally satisfying. When you think of the teachings of Christ during his public ministry, there was one theme he always stressed and that was the need for personal trust. He said to his apostles over and over, "look at the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap, yet your heavenly father takes care of them aren't you of much more importance to me than they are?" The same Christ has told us "I will never abandon you. I will never leave you orphans." Those words are guarantees from the son of God that as long as we have trust, no matter what the tragedy, he will always be with us.

Some time ago, I attended a funeral Mass for a family who lost a son in Iraq. The Church was packed. The only one who spoke at the end of the Mass was the mother whose son was killed in Iraq. At the end of the Mass she said, standing before a hushed audience, "I am very saddened at the loss of my son, I now I will see him again in the kingdom of God, my son in dying gave his life for his country. We always knew this was a possibility. But if you read the teachings of Christ in the New Testament you might recall that Christ said "greater love than this no one has than he who lays down his life for a friend." My son did something even more. He laid down his life for his enemy. I believe I will see my son again. As long as I can keep this sense of trust I know that God will never forsake me nor my family."