Posts filed under: stress

A great new DIY home retreat on “peace of soul.” This is the intro; see the rest here.

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

— Philippians 4:6-7

Dear father, it's hard to love my mom. I don't know how she gets angry at me right after we go to confession and mass. We'll pray as a family at night, and then the next day she finds something to yell about. What should I do? - Anonymous

Yes, that’s a complicated question. It’s complicated because the way that Mass and Confession change us is complicated. Grace always happens there (Jesus comes into us when we receive Communion, and he forgives our sins in Confession) but to a certain extent, the effect that the grace has on us depends on our disposition.

In other words, if habits or desires in me are pulling me in another direction, the divine “seed” can fall on rocky soil, and it will normally take sacramental grace far longer to change us. We have to want to cooperate with God’s grace in transforming us, and we need the strength to do so. Not a given.

So what should you do? First, think of reasons to forgive her. Attenuating circumstances: maybe she had a bad day, maybe she’s suffering, etc. We never fully grasp the stress and the pain that consume other people.

Then find ways to defuse the tension that can develop. Be sympathetic, be understanding, show that you want what she wants, show that you don’t want to answer back by yelling, show that you think you can work it out together.

So pray for her and pray with her, but realize that prayer is therapy to a certain extent. It’s not a sign that instant total change has happened or that we’re “holy,” but a sign that we’re not… that we’re seeking to change, that we’re sinners in recovery. You and me and your mom… we’re all in this together.

I’ll pray for both of you! God bless.

- Father Shane

Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?

— Saint Gerard Majella

Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

— 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

I worry until midnight and from then on I let God worry.

Blessed Luigi Guanella (to be canonized October 23, 2011)

Hey Father, I have a question about something that's been bugging me for a while.
The night before I had to get my wisdom teeth extracted, I was pretty worried because I wasn't sure what to expect - this is typical for me, because I am a "worrier", as is my mother. I was discussing my worries with my parents, and my dad said that my worrying was because of my lack of faith. And that really hurt, because I've been Catholic all of my life, I'm very involved in my faith, and of course, I love God. I know that worrying won't get anyone anywhere, and I know that I worry a lot, so I always my hardest to put my trust in God. But sometimes, it's so difficult! Is worrying really a sign of a lack of faith? Please help!
- Anonymous

Worrying is natural! But at the same time, yes, it does show that we still have a little something to learn about what Our Lord told us:

Do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil. (Matthew 6:25-34)

Some ideas:

  • Don’t worry about worrying. Focus on learning to trust.
  • Pray Psalm 23 a lot. A lot. The “Our Father” too.
  • Try to learn to live in the present, accepting God’s sovereignty over your life with love and joy. Ask him for that grace, quietly, insistently, trustfully.

Worry won’t solve anything… it’ll just make your problems seem bigger and bigger. But it’s an awfully tough lesson to learn and an even tougher habit to break.

So believe that the Lord is your shepherd! That no one else will take care of you like he will! That even when it seems like nothing is working out and things are only taking a turn for the worse… that he’s right there trying to tell you something, encouraging you to learn the greatest lesson of all: That it’s not all about this life. That he has greater things in store for you in the next one.

God bless you!

- Father Shane

Mother dear, lend me your heart. I look for it every day to pour my troubles into.

— Saint Gemma Galgani
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