First Down (June 25, 2017)

Dear Friends,

It is very affirming to me when I offer spiritual advice to someone or preach about it in my homilies, and people reply that it has helped them. First of all anytime our spirit and hearts are moved it speaks well of our lives, because we are open to God coming into our lives. It takes some effort to listen to someone speak about God, the values of our faith, and how God wants to work in our lives. This can be a very challenging attitude to have for many. For others there are times in our lives we are open and other times we are

One advice that has worked well for me in my life is making sure I begin my approach to God and life with being grateful. I can at times feel overwhelmed with stresses and challenges of life that my attitude is one of complaining and focus on what is lacking in my life. For some of us we can begin to feel sorry for ourselves, we can blame others for our concerns, and we might even lessen our relationship with God and his people. I believe we have all been there or might be there at this moment.

I slowly began to learn that if my first approach to God would be of just being grateful to what I already have, thank God for ALL my blessings, and even reflect on how God’s hand has been guiding me throughout my life, my attitude began to be more peaceful. It takes time for anyone to make it the good habit to approach God daily. Over time I found my life to be peaceful and content. Now that does not mean that my life is perfect, nor all my concerns and challenges have left me. Rather, I deal with those things with more confidence and knowing God is not the cause of such things.

Over the many months I have talked about this to people there has been more and more people contacting me to let me know that they are beginning to understand that this gratitude has made a difference in their outlook on life. They even say the problems have not all gone away but that they are seeing God’s presence and blessings in many areas of their lives. There is a learning curve for many of us and sometimes we have learned to approach God with an attitude of bothering the heck out of him until he will eventually give in to our demands. Or that we are so closed minded about God being there for us because he does not fix all our problems.

I guess an example to use would be like people who love to hike or camp outdoors. When learning to carry the load on one’s back, one learns to adjust the load to better carry it. We adjust so that the muscles, back and legs can help out. The weight of the load does not change but the adjustment helps out. I guess that is our spiritual attitude as well. The load is shifted from being seen as a curse to one of being seen as God with us on this journey of life. An attitude of gratitude is a journey we can all take.

Peace in Christ, Fr. Eric