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Diamonds and Pearls

I am a great believer in the value of adversity. I believe because it is the way I have learned the hardest but most important lessons of my life. I know and accept that some of Creation’s most precious things arise from colossal pressure and perpetual friction. A single grain of sand triggers a reaction, catalyzes the bivalve to make a precious bead, a pearl. And that pearl improves over time as it rubs against skin. Molecules of carbon, buried deep in the crust of Earth, under immense pressure convert into diamonds. Catalysis and conversion.

Do we, like diamonds and pearls experience a similar conversion with chronic, persistent, seemingly unending pressure?

It is Divine Mercy Sunday, the Octave of Easter, eight days after the Holiest of Days in my faith. Imagine being visited by God. I wonder if their are mystics among us, visited by Jesus? Each day, to see and hear the voice of God and yet manage to escape the locked-down psych ward and the intramuscular injection of anti-psychotic drugs. For in this modern world, can we accept that Jesus might – and likely does – visit SOMEONE. And that those people are writing down his words and messages? Thus, Divine Mercy Sunday. While Catholics believe and practice plenary indulgences and observe the feast days of saints, most Christians don’t. But, what I am sure most Christians can agree upon is the MERCY promised by Jesus.

And so, on this day, we pray, “Merciful Jesus, I trust in you.”

As we drove to church this morning, I stared out the car window and said the prayer. And then I asked myself, “Do you REALLY trust Jesus?” Do I really believe in his Mercy for me; me specifically? And for my particular situation? And, honestly, what do I have to be griping about? I am not hungry, ill, homeless, imprisoned. I am not alone or lonely. I live in the First World and I have First World Problems.

But it is all about perspective, right? And in my burdens and struggles, I cannot see past my fears, my doubts, my uncertainty. And I am tired of fighting, tired of the struggle. I search for hope and fail. I seek assurance without success.

But on this day, all I am asked to do is pray these words: Merciful Jesus, I trust you.

So, with a weight of lead in my stomach, gnawing at my resolve, I faintly whisper the words. Through doubt, I pray the words. Without conviction, I pray.

I do not need to be convicted. Jesus was convicted for me. His mercy, his ultimate compassion and love was opened wide and poured forth upon the world. All I need do is tell Him that I trust him. He is the grain of sand that triggers the changes in me. And I must trust in that conversion.

Merciful Jesus, I trust you.

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