Most people like either having control or being in control. It gives us a sense of comfort or assurance that everything is in order or that there is a plan in place that we are following. This idea of desiring to be in control seems almost universal. The truth is, as difficult as it is to admit, we really have no control at all. This does not mean that we should be irresponsible or not plan ahead for the well being of ourselves and our family. It does mean that we need to understand that trying to be in complete control of our present and our future is ultimately a futile task and we need to place our trust in the Lord, not in our own planning and creativity.
I write this as someone well aware of my own tendencies to want control over a given situation. This article may be as much a confession of what I need to work on as it is a challenge to others to lessen their desire for control. The time in which we are currently living is as stark a reminder of the futility of seeking total control that I have ever experienced. A tiny virus, a billionth of our size, has virtually shut down the world and crippled society. People who worked for years investing in their retirements saw those accounts practically flattened in a few days. Others who thought that their jobs were secure or that they would never have to worry about unemployment find themselves out of work. Some people who are almost always healthy have become sicker than they ever could have imagined, and tragically others lost their lives to this pandemic. We don’t have control. So what does this mean?
There are a few ways we could look at this seemingly frightening reality of not being in control. The first is to panic and try to grab control of the situation in whatever way we can. We see this when a person buys exorbitant amounts of products that we all need, as if to show that they will not be lacking the basic necessities, even to the detriment of others who need the same things. Others may be glued to the news to try to be informed of the latest update as the situation unfolds. There are other responses as well, but the one that I think is the most beneficial is to accept the fact that we really don’t have control, so instead we put our trust in the One who has complete control over heaven and Earth. This is perhaps more challenging than usual since we do not have access to the sacraments as we normally do, but there are other ways for us to strengthen our connection to the Lord at this time as we seek to place our trust in Him.
It is so important for us to make time every day to spend with the Lord. Psychologists say that daily meditation helps to alleviate stress and anxiety and is very important in moments like this. If it is possible for us to get to a church and sit in front of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament this can be a great blessing for our spiritual and mental health. If we are unable to get to a church we recall the Lord’s word when he said, “Go into your room, close the door and talk to your Father in secret.” When we meditate we are not just trying to calm ourselves but are engaging in a conversation with the One who loves us and desires to comfort us at this time. This has proven to be invaluable for the men who are discerning a call to the priesthood. Their own increased prayer has given them greater clarity and peace with where the Lord may be directing them. It is true that we have no control, but we can choose to put our trust in the One who controls everything.