I have been reading Pope Francis' book entitled The Way of Humility and so far I have learned a lot from this very wise man.
Let me share some of his quotes as I also narrate personal struggles in my life.
"Negative criticism leads us to focus on the faults and failings of other people; as a result, we can feel superior."
Lately, I experienced a huge setback in my life. Someone stole a huge amount from my bank savings. I confided it to my closest friends and family. Sadly, some of my family members I sought refuge from and look up to were the first ones to criticize me and what happened to me.
After I read the book, I realized that it is easy for people to criticize than to really listen and to empathize. It is easier to hurt others than to comfort. All my ailing heart needed was comfort.
I realized that maybe my condition was not really the issue at hand when they decided to criticize me. Maybe they also had an ailing heart or were going through some tough times of their own. I can only try my best to understand them. But I thank God for all my friends who supported me through it all. Even if they weren't blood relatives, they proved to me how they are true sisters and brothers in Christ.
"Those who have fallen into the habit of being suspicious about everything little by little lose the peace of mind that comes from trusting confidence in God."
After I have learned of this huge setback, I also fell into anxiety even to the point of not being able to sleep. After months of agony, I realized that worrying is causing me to become faithless and prideful because I am not able to surrender these feelings to God. Thankfully, God touched my heart and now I'm back to doing my regular prayer time, Gospel reading, and have grown to constantly rely on praying the rosary to help me. It is true that in the worst case scenarios of life, when I have no one to turn to, it is God who is left available to turn to. It is saddening to realize that I sometimes tend to try to resolve things on my own before considering the power of Christ to save me. But today I am humbled. I need and accept His saving grace and I surrender.
"But if we carefully seek out the root cause of our disquiet, we always find the same: the fact that we do not practice self-accusation. This is why we feel crushed and never at peace. It is not surprising that all the saints say there is no other road than this."
I was very disquieted. Inside I had bombs exploding in my chest asking the Lord, "why me?!" But then Pope Francis reminded me, "why not you?" As Christ, my Lord, died on the cross, so too must I carry my cross. And this is the cross He allowed me to carry. And by His grace I can carry it. As the Lord is crushing my prideful heart, He is replacing it with a more humble one. A new heart that is stronger than the one I once had. A heart capable of truly sharing in His pain now and later on, His glory.
"Look at a beast of burden. If it is sturdy, it cheerfully carries the heavy burden that is loaded onto it; if it loses its balance it gets up straightaway and suffers no harm. If it is weak, however, any load is too much for it; and if it falls, it needs a lot of help to get back on its feet. The same is true with the soul."
"Christ knows better than I whether I should obtain satisfaction, and he himself will take care of this thing or this food."
On the day I learned I lost most of my life savings, I realized that maybe God is telling me I really do not need those things. I do not need to be secure in myself. I only needed to be secure in Him and to trust Him that He will take care of me. I should have 100% faith.
"But in his wisdom the prophet knew well that nothing attracts God's mercy upon the soul as much as trials, especially those that come in the time of misfortune and persecution."
And I trust in these words. I put them in my heart. I feel God telling me to relax. He will take care of me no matter how hard and no matter how impossible circumstances seem to be.
And as I end this entry, I would like to leave you with a final quote I love:
"Everything happens by God's providence, according to what is best for each person."
God bless you!