Anxiety, with Trust
(27th Ordinary Sunday: Isaiah 5:1-7; Philippians 4:6-9; Matthew 21:33-43)
St. Paul writes, “Have no anxiety at all.” Surely this is unrealistic. In fact, the same Apostle wrote to the Corinthians, “I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling” (1 Cor 2:3).
The world we live in has always provided every generation ample cause for worry. Natural disasters, disease, social unrest, economic uncertainty are all around us. We also deal with personal loss, conflicts and self-doubt, etc. How is it possible to be without anxiety?
For some it is even hard to find time to pray, or have a proper frame of mind for prayer, so as to live in the peace of Christ.
Strangely, Isaiah’s song about his friend’s vineyard was, in fact, meant to heighten his people’s stress. The things the Lord will do to his vineyard are listed in order to get his people’s attention. He would rather not punish them, but how else can he persuade them to change their ways?
At La Salette, Mary used the same approach as Isaiah, and for the same purpose. If her people refuse to submit, the causes of their anxiety will only get worse, and it will be their own fault for, in their own way, like the chief priests and the elders in the Gospel, they have rejected her Son.
It certainly is appropriate for us to apply Isaiah’s message, and Mary’s, to ourselves. The vineyard lovingly planted in each of us by God at our baptism, needs to be watered and pruned, so that we can produce sweet grapes to make fine wine. The Beautiful Lady provides us with an examination of conscience, in view of our ongoing conversion.
St. Paul further says, “In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” When thanksgiving is at the heart of our prayer, trust is reinforced. This is part of praying well.
In this context, I highly recommend the Book of Tobit as a marvelous example. Two unhappy persons, in separate scenes, pray for death. In each case the prayer begins with praise of God!
Are anxiety and trust incompatible? No, but Mary’s love and tears will inspire trust and relieve anxiety.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.