It is human nature to complain. I dare say we require grace from God not to complain. When we are wronged or misled, most of us have a tendency to jump onto the opportunity to speak our piece– hence leaving no one around us in peace. Our grumbling in the wilderness leads credence as to why gossip shows are so popular.
Taking time to smell the roses
But how can one smell roses when these plants naturally don’t grow in the barren desert? At times life on this earth may appear to be a series of disappointments. Things might not pan out the way we expect. We might be like the Israelites during the time of Moses: In those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘ Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?
A lot of our murmurings spring out of impatience. We want things done by our timing and in our way. I have often heard some say that they are waiting for their ship to come in, all the while missing out on living life in the present moment. These same persons later look back and reminisce about “the good old days” that they had overlooked. As someone who is middle-aged, I can definitely testify that some of the simplest events of my life have become the most joyous memories. I often wonder what I am failing to notice before it is too late.
The value of living in the present moment and following the will of God
Jean-Pierre de Caussade in his classic book, Abandonment to Divine Providence speaks of the value of living in the present moment and entrusting ourselves to God:
God, who is all goodness, has made easily available for all the things necessary for life, such as earth, air and water. And what could be more vital than breathing, eating and sleeping? And what is easier? When we turn to spiritual matters, love and loyalty are just as vital, so they cannot be as difficult to acquire as we imagine. Consider your life, and you will see that it consists of countless trifling actions. Yet God is quite satisfied with them, for doing them as they should be done is the part we to play in our striving for perfection. There can be no doubt about this. Holy Scripture makes it very plain: ‘Fear God, and keep his commandments, since this is the whole of man’ (Eccles. 12:13). This is all we have to do. This is active loyalty. If we do our part, God will do the rest. Grace will pour into us and will perform marvels far beyond our understanding, for ‘no eye has seen and no ear has heard things beyond the mind of man, all that God has prepared for those who live him’ (I Cor. 2:9). To be passively loyal is even easier, since it implies only that we accept what very often we cannot avoid, and endure with love and resignation things which could cause us weariness and disgust. Once again this is what being holy means.
Acceptance is key
There is no doubt about it. Life is tough and in it there are inevitable outcomes. I remember studying the American poet Robert Frost in high school. His poem entitled Acceptance summarizes the secret to not only getting by, but thriving in the psychological and even spiritual sense:
Now let the night be dark for all of me.
Let the night be too dark for me to see
Into the future. Let what will be, be.
The existential approach to psychology advocates embracing death and the acceptance of sufferings rather than fleeing from them. This is not contrary to taking up the Crosses that might come in our lives. A lot of psychological illness stems from people not being able to accept a situation for what it is.
Righteously discerning what not to accept
There are many things not worth crying about. I’m not one for an argument. In fact, I tend to avoid confrontation. But there are some things that must not be passively accepted. Even Jesus was known to display anger when he overturned the tables of the moneychangers in the temple area and said, Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace (John 2:13-25). In fact, Jesus used His harshest language in dialogs with the Pharisees.
Righteous anger is used to vindicate an injustice. It should not however be used for retribution or revenge. There is a big difference. Believers have a right to become upset when their religious liberties are threatened. Unfortunately this doesn’t only happen in the Biblical times, but even now there are challenges on many fronts. A current example is the recent Health and Human Services (HHS) health care mandate that forces employers to pay for birth control and drugs that cause abortions. Such a governmental ruling violates one’s ability to follow their moral conscience and teachings of the Church. This recent ruling is not only a threat to the Catholic Church but an affront to every American’s inalienable rights that are spelled out in the Constitution.
G. K Chesterton in his book, Christendom in Dublin once wrote, Once abolish the God and the government becomes the God. Chesterton also said that A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it (In his book The Everlasting Man).
“We Hold These Truths” (as featured above) is a video that was produced by Spirit Juice Studios in order to clearly state the main issue in regards to the (HHS) Health and Human Services Mandate. The main issue is Religious Liberty. The mandate, as it stands right now, violates the Constitution and specifically the 1st Amendment right to the free exercise of our religion without violating our consciences. Every American should see this as an important issue. It is not a Catholic issue. It is an American issue.