“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’
For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Cardinal Bernardin, the late, much-loved Archbishop of Chicago, once told a group of us priests that he was a chronic worrier. But he found that using the Ignatian Examen was of great benefit to him in curbing his anxiety. He noted that 80% of the “bad” things he worried about never happened to him. And for the 20% that did, God always gave him sufficient grace to face these challenges. In fact, the things he worried about often became a source of great grace. He wrote eloquently about his struggle to surrender control in his spiritual classic, The Gift of Peace.
The Examen is the one essential prayer tool that Ignatius insisted we never skip. It’s not simply another prayer but the key to turning our lives into a prayer. When today will we step off the worry treadmill and allow God’s still, small voice to direct our steps.
Speak, Lord, when Your servant is too worried to listen!
For I cannot stop – No, I refuse to stop – my commotion
In motion wrought by an overly busy brain.
Yes, my eternal soul longs to rest in Your radiance,
And yet I resist You, Lord of my longing.
Stop me grace-fully, Lord!
Open my ears to the song of Your Voice.
Redirect my gaze from myself to Yourself,
From my thiefdom to Your kingdom,
From who I am to whom You create me to become.
—J. Michael Sparough, SJ