And so, if I should fall even a thousand times a day, a thousand times with peaceful repentance I will say, Nunc Coepi [Now I begin], my God, my God!
–Venerable Bruno Lanteri
There was a song that our son, Craig, played over and over again when he was a teenager. The song, Tubthumping by Chumbawamba (and yes, Craig, I remembered it without looking it up), went like this:
I get knocked down, but I get up again
You’re never gonna keep me down.
The song has verses, but the bulk of the song is this part of the refrain being repeated over and over. I can hear Craig’s voice, belting it out along with the CD. It seemed to be more than a favorite song; it was although he was shouting it to the world. A mantra of sorts.
Yesterday, I started a new series through Good Catholic and the Catholic Company called Nunc Coepi…Now I begin. When I received an email about a week before Christmas about this study, I actually laughed out loud. Somebody custom wrote a study just for me!
One of my favorite quotes is, by John Steinbeck, is “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” or as I say, “The best laid plans of mice and men, soon will come to no good end.” That is my go-to phrase, as I often run ahead of God and make my own plans. (As I have talked about quite often on this blog)
I often find myself lying flat on my face, wondering what happened, especially when it comes to my Christian walk. I feel like a child, forever having to go to my heavenly Father, ask for forgiveness and start anew. But you know what? That’s exactly what he wants us to do.
If we wait for a sign…for a lightening bolt from heaven to act, to move, to begin…we will be waiting a very long time. And, while we wait, what opportunities are we missing? I’ve found that to be true in my own life. I’ve always had the dream of getting a novel published. There are times when I stop writing because I’m waiting for that “big break” to come through. In doing so, I’m failing to fulfill what God has called me to do daily…just write.
The fault is not in the failure; it’s in the giving up. To throw up our hands and walk away in disgust. Or, to turn our backs on God, blaming him for our human error and short sightedness. Sometimes I think it would be easier if we had an owner’s manual or set of rules to guide us through the ups and downs of our life. And before anyone jumps on that last sentence, let me clarify. Yes, we do have God’s word…but finding our will in the midst of it can be like trying to find a light switch in a power outage. (Think about that one…lol).
But there were those who went before and those today, who seem to be light years ahead of where I can ever hope to be spiritually. How do they do that? How did the saints become so deep in their faith that not even torture and death could sway them? There are so many spiritual giants that we can look to for inspiration and guidance.
One noticeable quality I’ve found by studying their writings is their ability to be honest about themselves. If they have a weakness, a temptation, they were open about it. Here it is, in black and white. No beating about the bush. They simply said, “I am imperfect and weak. However, I believe and trust that, with God’s grace, I will grow spiritually.”
God knows we are not perfect creatures. But he delights every time we “get knocked down, but get up again.” Every time we utter, Nunc Coepi…Now I begin.