I have the privilege of meeting once a month with a small group of lovely women. Sometimes we meet to talk about a book we’re reading and studying together, sometimes we meet to pray but mostly we meet to encourage each other in our faith walk. My life is richer because of the honest conversation about their celebrations and challenges and the way they weave their faith through it all. We started a new book together recently and the second day’s reading told an amazing and inspiring story with a great lesson. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but the same story grabbed each of us. As we sat discussing the story I realized right then and there it was a story that needed to be shared with all of you too.
The story is about St. Louis de Montfort. He was a great man of God who died in the early 17 hundreds but he lived in such a way his words and deeds are an inspiration to Christians even to this day. The story is told that he gathered peasants to build a giant monument to the Passion of Christ on a hilltop. It took him and hundreds of peasants 15 months to construct the monument as a tribute to the love of Christ. The day before the monument was to be dedicated; de Montfort’s enemies convinced the local government to destroy it because they told officials it was a fortress against the government. As St. Louis and the peasants gathered and saw their work in ruins, he reminded the disappointed crowd that the work they did was to honor God and they could certainly do that in their hearts without a monument; “We will still bless God.” The saint obediently accepted the destruction of his plans because he realized it was a part of God’s plan. (33 Days to Morning Glory Fr. Michael E. Gaitley)
I can get upset if someone wrecks my dinner plans or my weekly schedule gets all tangled up, I simply can’t imagine the devastation St. Louis and peasants felt. Not only was their work disrespected and destroyed, the reason was based on a lie. While I was reading I wanted to yell out… “No, you’ve got it all wrong, he’s a good guy, and you’ve made a mistake!” Instead, he just accepted it and blessed God anyway. There was no anger, blaming, self-pity, retaliation and no talk of justice. I don’t know about you but that’s a lesson I need to learn. It is a great lesson in WHY we do things…especially church things. I suppose if we truly do things to honor God and His plan, our obedient effort is more important than the outcome. It’s tempting sometimes to plan a class or give a talk somewhere and anticipate a huge crowd but the simple truth is, if I’m teaching or speaking as a way to honor God, then I have to realize He will send exactly the number of people He needs to have there and I should be as happy to do His work for 20 people as I am to do it for 200. I think that’s the way St. Louis would tell me to look at it. St. Louis demonstrated a gigantic spirit of humility. His joy and blessing came from “doing” and letting God be in charge of the outcome. He demonstrated that if we are a true disciple the end result has everything to do with God’s plan and not our ego, pride or self-worth. I think we should swap the words self-worth for God-worth! I’ve been bubbling this story over in my heart for days now and what I’m left with is a desire to worry more about my God-worth than my own plans and needs. I’m thanking St. Louis for a great lesson; one as important today as it was 300 years ago.
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of places in your life where you need to let go of the outcome and focus more on the obedient serving.
Blessings on your day!
Copyright 2014 Sheri Wohlfert