By: Rebecca Ruiz, Staff Spotlight
I was recently on a plane that was delayed on the tarmac for 2.5 hours. When we finally lifted into the air at 8:30 p.m., the passengers were tired and famished. Having a food allergy, I am accustomed to eating food substitutions that are not very tasty, especially when travelling. I am also accustomed to being served last.
So, when I heard the food carts coming, I was surprised when my food came out first. And, not only was I served first, but the food was amazing! It was fresh and full of flavor. There were beautiful colors all over my tray – a salad of greens and reds that tasted as if it had just been picked, a delicious and healthy entrée, and an overflowing bowl of blueberries and raspberries – the freshest of first fruits.
I sat there savoring each flavor and literally thanking God after each bite.
I felt so blessed and cared for and couldn’t help but recall the Gospel passage: “Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Mt 20:16).
As I savored these freshest fruits, it also came to mind that God wants to give us more than we expect. He wants to give us more than we can even think to ask. Our minds are limited by our human capacity — God’s mind and ways are far beyond our ways. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord, “and my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:8). If we would just let down our guard and really trust Him, He would give us more than we could ever hope to imagine.
Trust is an arguably difficult concept though. We live in a culture that values independence and the individual. To trust in anyone, even in God these days, is completely counter-cultural. Sadly, many people today mistake trust in God and are waiting to allow Him to work as a character weakness or an excuse for lack of initiative. Yet, when we really trust Him and allow Him to work, in His time, He makes things happen that are better and beyond anything we could plan – even with detailed lists and hours of planning.
St. Ignatius of Loyola composed a beautiful prayer called the Suscipe, which has helped me and countless others learn how to let go and to trust God.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.
The Suscipe is a prayer of radical self-surrender. Most people can’t even comprehend what they are saying and asking for when they start praying this prayer — I certainly didn’t. I can tell you though, that it is a powerful prayer, and if you pray it daily, you will see God at work in your life.
And you will see that what He wants for us, His beloved children, is far more than we could even think to ask.
Trust. Pray. Believe.
Staff Spotlight is — in an ongoing effort to get a range of content on Encourage & Teach — content from staff members within the Diocese of Arlington from contributors who do not write as a part of their day-to-day job.
Rebecca Ruiz holds a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.A. from Tufts University. She serves as Development and Communications Manager at Catholic Charities’ Migration and Refugee Services.