The one who has God lacks nothing

I was at a support-raising seminar with our new CCO campus ministry staff last week. I am putting more effort into my own ongoing support raising, now that my #1 benefactor—my dad—is gone.

During one portion of the two-day workshop, we were each asked to share Scripture passages that help inform our view of doing this counter-cultural thing: raising the money to provide our salary. It can be anxiety-inducing, to say the least, so I felt led to share from Matthew 6:25-34:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

And then I shared a prayer from Saint Teresa of Ávila.

During my first year of doing campus ministry at Gannon University, this born-and-raised Presbyterian spent almost every Tuesday evening sitting cross-legged on the floor of the freshman women’s residence hall, learning the Roman Catholic mass from the dorm chaplain, Father Susa. It was 1989, and this weekly gathering was retro even at that time; “Mass and Rap” was a throw-back to the 1960s, before Hip-Hop was a thing and when “to rap” meant nothing more than sitting around and talking.

Fr. Susa had a rotation of prayers that served as benedictions, but this prayer of St. Teresa is the one that has stuck with me through the decades:

Let nothing disturb thee,
Let nothing frighten thee.
Everything is changing,
God alone is changeless.
Patience attains the goal.
The one who has God lacks nothing.
God alone fills all our needs.

When I shared it in the context of this support-raising training, I naturally got a little choked up. Because that’s how I roll.

A few days later, the new staff came to visit CCO HQ here in Pittsburgh, and one of them asked if I could write the prayer down for her. Yesterday, I got a thank you note in the mail:

“Thanks for the prayer you shared in class and printed off for me. I taped it in my journal, as it has given me words…to fill in the moments when I’m feeling desperate but unable to pray because words have felt trite or I quickly twist them to complain in unbelief.”

I was moved that she took the time to thank me, and I was awestruck at the ongoing movement of the Spirit, a ripple effect through the decades—through the centuries! (Teresa of Ávila was born in Spain in 1515.) If I can judge the age of most of our newest staff, Erin was likely little more than a toddler when I first heard Fr. Susa recite that prayer in the lounge of Finnegan Hall.

As one of the college students who sat next to me during many a Mass and Rap puts it now, “That prayer got me through unemployment and cancer. It really is a one size fits all!”

The one who has God lacks nothing.
God alone fills all our needs.

Amen.

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