By Tricia Frey
“If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above.”
Life may not be easy, but it sure is simple. All we need to find happiness, peace, and fulfillment is to seek God first. Anything else is vanity.
I know so many young women who give up their mirror for Lent in an order, they say, to curb their vanity. Many teenage girls, and many who are now young women, give up make up when they go on retreat in an effort to give over all vanity to God.
Every time I hear things like this I am just so confused.
I think that it is so curious how different I must be from other females. I just don’t spend that much time on my appearance, though certainly more now than I used to. And so I go about my business patting myself on the back for having that pitfall of a sin on lock down. Good job! I’m not vain!
Except, I am so vain. But for me it doesn’t come out in getting a manicure every month (duh, I get my hair colored and meet up with a friend for pedicures). My vanity is rooted in thinking that I have a better plan than God. I know more about my life then He does, I know more about what I want and what will satisfy me and certainly about how to get it. And how ludicrous! My God, the God of the Universe who doesn’t stop thinking of me for even one instant, created me. I know this, I believe this, I trust this.
Most obviously there is no one more suited than the Creator to know what is perfect for the created.
With that settled, how do I stop living in this intense cycle of vanity and seek instead what is above? By simply doing it, seeking God. When I am seeking Him first I have more peace and joy than I could ever express. When my life is focused only on sainthood it is more exciting than the best suspense novel, action movie, hip hop song, crazy dance move, zip-lining-rock-climbing-white-water-rafting-swimming-with-sharks reality anyone could invent.
We need those things to amp up our adrenaline because we haven’t jumped off the cliff of trust into the life our God has designed for us.
In case you find yourself needing to know more practically how I go about working on this, here are four steps that work for me.
GO TO MASS MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK
Getting to Mass more than once per week. If you are able to find a way to get to daily Mass, do it. The Eucharist is our source and summit. When we receive Communion we literally receive Christ into our body, into our blood stream. He most certainly will work in us, with us, through us, and for us to point us toward life.
PRAY WITH MARY
Pray with Mary. More specifically, I recommend a daily Rosary. If you already do this I recommend doing the Consecration to Jesus through Mary. The book 33 Days To Morning Glory is excellent. Mary is the most perfect example of a human who put God first in her life always. Pray with her and ask her to help you to seek God with the same fervor.
REVIEW YOUR DAYS
Do a daily Examen. What are the high points and low points of your day? What aspects of your day are you proud of/not-so-proud of? The book Reimagining the Ignatian Examen is practical about time and very user friendly while still helping you recognize blessings and areas that need to be offered to God each day. Then ramp up how often you receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
GET OUT THERE
Find good, healthy community with people who lead you closer to God. Check out events going on in your area that help you build friendships and community with others that you enjoy spending time with and want a faith life for themselves and you. Some churches have groups that play volley ball or softball, some sponsor local Theology on Tap events, some of groups that get together at each other’s homes for prayer, Catholic book study, etc.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tricia is the Director for Teen Faith Formation at St. Mary of the Falls Parish, working in ministry for middle schoolers, high school teens, and young adults. Her top three loves are Jesus, family, and Cleveland, closely followed by sleeping, popcorn, a perfectly chilled glass of white wine, and a great comedy show.