To listen to a podcast of the readings for daily Mass, click the link below and then select the date of the reading you wish to hear. Podcast
Worry is one of the common denominators of our human race. It’s a universal tendency that cuts across all human boundaries. Young, old, rich, or poor – to some extent every one of us is a worrier. Some of us do it more, some less; but we all do it. And there is a sense in which worry is understandable. We are presently involved in a war against terrorism. Bad things can and indeed have happened to people and we have no way of predicting when or to whom. Put those two factors together, and some degree of worry seems almost inevitable. We may as well face that fact and not waste a lot of time feeling guilty about it. In this life we may never completely conquer the problem.
But at the same time, we need to know that worry is a dangerous and potentially deadly enemy. At best, it wastes energy, undermines happiness, paralyzes effort and reduces productivity. Our word “worry”, as you may know, comes from a word, which means “to strangle”. And that is an accurate definition of worry at its worst. It literally has the power to sabotage health and even destroy life.
Then once we have recognized worry for what it is – a serious threat to effective living – we need to take some practical steps to overcome it. And that is where our Catholic faith comes in. In the gospels Jesus talked with His followers about his problem of worry.
The first thing we need to remind ourselves of is the presence and providence of God. Most of our anxiety about life grows often out of an awareness of our own inadequacy. Instinctively we know that this business of living is too big a challenge for any person to handle in his or her own strength; and the longer we live, the clearer that knowledge becomes. So many of the things that affect our lives are seemingly beyond our control. To some extent, we can control the way we react to certain events; but we cannot control the events themselves.
So Jesus remind us over and over again that we sometimes overlook the old but important fact of God. To illustrate His point, Jesus directs our attention to the birds, who God feeds, and to the wild flowers, which God dresses in regal splendor. Then He asks this question: “Will He not provide much more for you?”
In the midst of our worries, we need to remember that we are not in this thing alone! Everything does not depend upon us. We have a heavenly Father who is with us all the way. He has brought us safely to this point in life, and we can trust Him for the future. He will see us through. Our challenge is to do the best we can, and then trust Him for the rest.
Then we need to train ourselves to live one day at a time. Jesus also said: “Enough, then, of worrying about tomorrow. Let tomorrow take care of itself. Today has troubles enough of its own.”
So we should not make the mistake of trying to carry tomorrow’s burdens today. There is a great deal of wisdom and maybe even a touch of humor in these words of Jesus.
We need this same concept – one day at a time. No one is strong enough to carry today’s real burdens and tomorrow’s imaginary burdens at the same time.
What a difference it would make in our lives if we could learn these simple lessons from the Lord – remember that God is with us, and learn to live one day at a time. We might not completely solve our problem or worry; but we could handle it, instead of allowing it to handle us.
Father Robert F. Grippo