Create in me a pure heart, o God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
~ Psalm 51:10
I recently attended a weekend retreat that was incredibly rejuvenating and fruitful. On my way home, I stopped at Home Goods. Despite having a concrete plan for how I was going to live out what I’d learned, I know myself. I’m incredibly forgetful. I wanted to buy something I could put in my office that would remind me to stay true to what I’d learned and how I now want to live.
After some serious searching, all I could find was a simple wooden block that says: “Don’t wish for it. Work for it.” Initially, it didn’t resonate. So, I walked right by it. But after several loops around the store, it was the only thing that even came close to meeting my needs. It now sits on my bookshelf.
After meditating on it daily, I’ve come to realize just how appropriate it is. It points to the fact that I’ve been wishing and praying for God to give me a new heart and restore a steadfast spirit within me. Yet, the real truth is—I haven’t participated in the process AT ALL. I’ve been sitting back in my slothfulness, waiting for Him to do the work for me as if He’d swoop in with a magic wand and transform me.
Yes, God can move mountains. But He also helps those who help themselves. Praying each morning with that wooden block reminds me of what I want. But more importantly, it reminds me of what my part is in getting it.
When Allison asked me to join this blog tour, she gave me the prompt: “What legacy of faith do I hope to leave in this world?” Initially, I didn’t have an answer. Now, after my retreat, and praying with my new reminder, I realize I want to be that wooden block.
I want my life to point people to God, and remind them of their part in collaborating with Him. Through my writing and speaking engagements, I want people to witness how I always take my struggles to God so He can show me how to transform them into grace. I also want people to see me carrying out those transformations so they recognize the benefits of partnering with God.
It’s important to note that I don’t view the quote on my wooden block as the secular world would: The more I sweat, the longer hours I work, the more I’ll be rewarded. God doesn’t work on a quid pro quo basis.
I view the “work” in a spiritual sense: The more I turn to God, the more I turn away from the traps and quicksand of this world that try to suck me in and away from Him. The more I turn to God, the easier it is to walk the narrow path.
When I succeed, I become a road sign for others — showing them which way to go, pointing them to Jesus who not only stands at the gate, but is the Gate. If my wooden block of a life reminds even one person to stay true to God’s call so they walk the path He’s marked out for them, my legacy of faith will be complete.
Copyright Claire McGarry, 2022
Claire McGarry is the author of Grace in Tension: Discover Peace with Martha and Mary, and the Lenten family devotionals Abundant Mercy and With Our Savior. The founder of MOSAIC of Faith, she endeavors to fish for more people to bring to God through her speaking engagements, retreats, women’s groups, and writing. A regular contributor to Living Faith, Mornings with Jesus and CatholicMom, her freelance work has appeared in These Days, The Secret Place, Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Keys for Kids and various Guideposts publications. A former lay missionary in Guatemala, she now lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children, and blogs at ShiftingMyPerspective.com.
Our Novena Prayers for the Holy Souls In Purgatory
*May be prayed in a cemetery or from home
We’ll be using this gem I discovered in the Pieta Prayer booklet. While it is intended for praying at cemeteries (staying in your car counts), it can be done from home or at church. I have done it for years, and try to attend Mass each day as well! I love walking around the cemetery, prayerfully reading each name while I recite the following Novena Prayers:
- Five Apostle’s Creeds;
- One Hail, Holy Queen;
- One each of the Our Father (Lord’s Prayer), Hail Mary and Glory be; &
- Conclude with Requiem Prayer:
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them, and may they rest in peace. Amen.