By: Therese Benz
A few weeks ago, I was having a dilemma (a tiny dilemma, but a dilemma nonetheless). You see, this semester my friend Joe decided to start a Dead Poets Society here at Notre Dame. Every Monday night at 11:30 pm, a group of us meets outside in the woods and everyone brings a poem to read. Honestly, it’s incredibly exhilarating to stand outside under the stars, listen to the poems other people have chosen and enjoy a break from homework. But it is always so difficult for me to pick a poem because there are so many good ones out there!
I don’t remember how it ended up crossing my mind, but the poem I ended up choosing is a very prayerful poem (or I think it might actually be a poetic prayer). It was written by Teresa of Avila, who was a nun living in the 1500’s, and I included the original Spanish below because that’s where you can really hear the poetic nature of it. It goes like this:
Wow. Every time I read those words, it resounds with me so deeply because it is so simple and true! The entire prayer is very beautiful, but especially the final line: God alone is enough.
I don’t know about you, but those words challenge me a lot! I can probably think of a few hundred things that I think I couldn’t possibly be happy living without (or at least, would be really, really hard for me to let go of): tea (maybe for you it’s coffee), or my soft pillow, or fuzzy socks, or Snapchat, or listening to music. There are more serious things too: good grades, going to a great college, getting a good job in the future... the list goes on and on. Maybe for you, there are some other things that you think you really need: becoming friends with people who are really popular, getting a lead role in the school play, excelling at playing a sport, etc. And guess what? All of these things are good! It is good to have a wonderfully perfect pillow, and it’s good to listen to music, and it’s good to get into your dream college, and it’s good to make new friends. But the dangerous thing is when we think we can’t be happy if we don’t have one of these things. What if one of these things, especially one of the bigger things, doesn’t happen, or doesn’t work out? Where does that leave us?
This is why, as scary and challenging as it might be, to really believe that God alone is enough. When you really think about how God alone is enough, it is incredibly freeing! You don’t have to be the smartest or prettiest or most talented, and if something you want doesn’t work out, then you still have everything because you have Him!
So how do we live this out? It’s really easy to say, ‘Yes! God alone really is enough!’, but it is much harder to reflect that in the way we live. Thankfully, right now we are in the season of Lent, and this is what Lent is all about! It is about letting go of everything that we rely on if it isn’t God. This is why we give up even things that are good (like chocolate or movies or, for me, bell peppers), because we want something even better, and that is to be closer to God Himself. And so I want to encourage all of you Revolutionaries, whatever you have decided to do for Lent, to keep on fighting and stay strong to make it happen, because our goal is to grow closer to the One who loves us, and that is worth sacrificing everything for.