We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Trouble in the playpen called life.

Do you experience heightened anxiety in the workplace? Anxiety raised by a coworker who is uncooperative, perhaps even a little devious and given to undermining others' work? How about a boss who, no matter what effort you give to a project or task finds fault, even though your work is, by all objective standards, exemplary? How about a similar boss that has you jumping through needless hoops or who micromanages everyone's work, even to the point of imposing his or her uninformed decisions upon employees who know better their jobs? How about a client who comes to you with conflicting requests and, no matter what action you recommend or service that you provide, he or she waffles and changes commitments mid-service leaving you to absorb the fallout?

The lamentations list could go on and on and... .

We, all of us, can be unreasonable at times. Some much more than others. Most of us manage to examine our consciences, formally or informally, and try to correct our course and make better decisions in the future. There are those who play well with others, and there are those, however, who want others to bow down at the altars of their egos.
What about those really odd and very unsettling confrontations when, given your every attempt to be reasonable, another person or persons' actions make life a circus or a dungeon? Do you retreat with your tail between your legs? Do you grab an imaginary chair and whip to fend off a rabid dog? Do you give them your coat and go the extra mile? Do you shake the dust off your feet and leave that place in peace? Some courses of action are appropriate for Christians to take. Others are, most certainly, not appropriate.

What are the remedies for odd confrontations? Change one's job or employment? Take a holiday that makes use of those vacation days that have been piling up? Go to counselling? Talk to a priest? Pray?

Amazingly, it's easy for believers to forget that the first line of defence, so to speak, is to pray: for wisdom; for protection from wicked thoughts and behaviour, either from oneself or another; for patience. Sometimes help comes in the form of practical tips from a friend or stranger to help one avoid being drawn further into conflict. Conflict is part of life this side of heaven, but conflict need not rob us of vitality, of hope, etc.

The path to resilience.
resilience (n.) 1620s, "act of rebounding," from Latin resiliens, present participle of resilire "to rebound, recoil," from re- "back" + salire "to jump, leap". "Elasticity" (1824).
God's grace can help us become authentically elastic, or flexible, like a stream able to flow around rocks, a river that gently but unrelentingly erodes the obstacles in its path.

Being immersed in prayer disposes oneself to God. God's grace will give one confidence and clarity of mind that enables one to become most excellently resilient in the face of adversity. When we give our trust to Jesus, He does not disappoint. He leads us through the darkest valley past the wicked behaviour of men and women who know not what they are doing. He leads us to the promised land of His truth, goodness and beauty, for He—Jesus Christ—is the way, the truth and the life.
What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies; who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?—Saint Paul's Letter to the Romans 8:31
God takes on the struggles of those who trust in Him! Entrust, therefore, your lives to God. Entrust to God, also, those who wound you. God is your hope and your shield!

Angelic Aid

A friend reminded me today to pray to my guardian angel, to ask for assistance in the midst of current challenges. It was a most timely reminder that seemed to be flavoured thoroughly with the grace of God. Our guardian angels know things that are a great aid to our safety and well being.

Take a moment to thank God for your guardian angel.

Liturgical Armor

Psalm 43 (42) forms the core of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar of the Mass (Extraordinary Form and Ordinariate Divine Worship). It can be an immense source of consolation. Pray the Psalm slowly and trust in the mercy, love, protection and justice of God!
Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; from deceitful and unjust men deliver me! For thou art the God in whom I take refuge; why hast thou cast me off? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Oh send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me to thy holy hill and to thy dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise thee with the lyre, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.
Approach God with honest intentions; He knows our hearts and every thought. Except when you want to charm God by becoming child-like and by wanting to please Him by keeping His commandments, do not try to lie your way into His "good books" nor attempt to charm Him simply to gain some favour from Him. It is enough that we humble ourselves in His Presence and place before Him our true needs and the needs of others.

And, do not forget to ask Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God, to pray for you! Word has it that she has the ear of her son.

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