Are you a Princess, a Daughter of the King?
My oldest two daughters, Felicity and Sarah, have been enamored with stories of princesses and their adventures since they were about two or three years old. Ever since, they have role-played the tales of these different ladies of royalty with frilly dresses, crowns, and scepters. More recently, Felicity has been writing her own stories that include princesses, fairies, kings, and queens.
I found it to be a perfect spiritual analogy for her. After she attended a church pajama party last year called “I am a princess, a daughter of the King,” I thought we’d discuss what that meant. “Felicity,” I began, “who do you think the King is if you are his daughter?” “Well, God,” she replied matter-of-factly and without much thought. “That’s right. And why are you his princess?” “Um, I don’t really know,” she admitted. “Because you are called to follow Him every day, and He will always protect you and provide for you.”
In Cora Evan’s Third Letter Lesson, she focuses primarily on what it means to follow God, the King of our hearts. Her primary point focuses on loyalty in the following reflections:
“Loyalty is the unique utterances of the Holy Spirit within us. Loyalty is knowing the mission of confirmation. Through confirmation, we have been sceptered and given the royal purple cloak. We must wear it proudly. Loyalty is to know that God has given us a pattern and code of life. Are we firm in this conviction that a pattern and code is the first understanding, then knowledge, which leads to wisdom and diplomacy? Understanding, knowledge, faith, and wisdom are the hands which reach out to God for more of Himself…”
The color purple is a spiritual symbol of royalty as well as penance. To some Biblical scholars, it also means a blending of red (the Blood of Christ) and blue (the Word of God). That’s why the liturgical colors of Advent and Lent are mostly purple: to remind us of the importance of penance but also the eventual redemption and resurrection (royalty).
Being loyal to God ultimately comes to the virtues of constancy and faithfulness. When one is faithful to God, s/he does not waver in the face of persecution, tribulation, or suffering. There is a grounding of the heart and soul that knows God is sovereign, which is what it means to worship and follow Him as King.
I have gone through several dark periods of my faith, most of which leave me swirling in an array of confusion, restlessness, and deep-seated sorrow. I can’t see anything clearly during these times. It’s difficult for me to even discern simple decisions or know if I am doing God’s will in any aspect of my life.
What has helped me remain steadfast in my faith is remembering that God is sovereign. Nothing happens to me without first passing through His hands. He knows all. He ordains all. He permits even the things that I find most displeasing for the good of my soul. And I must continue to follow Him with this assurance that He is in control of every detail of my life.
“Loyalty is also a fine national culture; kings and queens smile through broken hearts.”
What a true concept: “kings and queens smile through broken hearts.” Why do they do this? I think about medieval times when most countries were ruled by kings and queens. The beneficent rulers thought first of their subjects, not of themselves. Through all of their administrative duties, knowledge of impending wars, economic strife, and political dealings, they smiled through it all.
If I am to be a true follower of Jesus the King, I need to do the same. As a mom, I often do. We have been through a rough patch with Sarah’s behavior for about a month now, and my heart breaks every day. It feels heavy with the weight of every decision about her care and how it will affect the entire family and household.
Every time Sarah kicks the dog, Lily, out of frustration because of her inability to express her emotions verbally, my heart breaks. I don’t always smile, but I do try to keep everyone else calm and find the rainbow that must be hiding somewhere behind the storm clouds.
Finally, Sarah and her sisters went away for a weekend to visit a good friend of ours out of town. The entire drive home, I bitterly wept. It was as if all those tears had built up inside for weeks, and I was finally in the company of my King to just let them cascade down my face in a waterfall of relief and grace.
Smiling through a broken heart, to me, means that I remember that my children are still children. I need to preserve their innocence and not drag them into adult affairs by airing every grievance that comes my way. According to divine law, they are, in a sense, my subjects. And I have to teach them by example that, though life is hard, we can find goodness in every day.
Suggested Scripture to ponder: Psalm 21
“You have granted him his heart’s desire; you did not refuse the request of his lips. For you welcomed him with goodly blessings; you placed on his head a crown of pure gold” (Psalm 21: 3-4)
This part of Psalm 21 is often my lifeline when I feel as if I’m barely swimming with my head above water. Often, as a caregiver to a child with a complex medical condition, I feel more like I’m drowning. This occurs viscerally through insomnia, heaviness in the chest, and heart palpitations. There are days and weeks when I simply do not have any respite. And I can’t find God very easily.
I tell myself that God is sovereign, but I don’t always feel it in my heart. I may intellectually know that He is in charge and is sorting through my life’s problems, but I can’t see what He’s doing. Then I read this part of the Psalm: “You have granted him his heart’s desire; you did not refuse the request of his lips.”
I ask the Blessed Mother to help me remember the times when God has fulfilled His promises, and then – one by one – the recollection of every blessing floods my memory with divine sweetness. It is a comfort that strengthens me when I look upon these words and know that God, as my King, knows my every thought and every fleeting desire.
Through my faithfulness to Him, He will bless me. That is His promise to me and to all of us, regardless of what we’ve been through or where we are today. The pastor at the parish where I grew up said often, “If we are faithful to God, He will be faithful to us.” God never denies me the crown of glory, but I have to be willing to accept and even love whatever He allows to fall into my life, including suffering.
The crown is not won without first kissing the Cross.
Sense Mortification related to the Third Letter Lesson: “Let us try three different times a day to read from a good book one sentence for meditation and think about it several times during the day, making some sort of application of its thought. Let us open the book at random.”
My favorite part of daily prayer is reading a powerful meditation. I have several books through which I rotate – some annually, some based on liturgical season – but there is always something I read that surprises me. No matter how often I’ve read a particular devotional, I glean something new, because I am in a different place in my life.
Each day I begin with these meditations. Often, it’s with a burdened heart. But God knows all that I cannot even describe about myself, and so I open that page and read a sentence that pierces me to the core. Then I pray to live it throughout the day by my thoughts, words, and actions.