A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Posts Tagged ‘busyness

“How are you?”

I’ve noticed, that, besides the usual “Good, thanks,” or “Not too bad. How about you?” a common answer is “Busy!”

Now, most people are not looking for a litany of our problems when they ask how we’re doing, but it’s sad that “Busy!” has become such a regular and accepted response to the question.

Sometimes life seems to rush by in a flurry of work deadlines, appointments, chores, school events, and worries. We think, “If I can just make it till the weekend or the end of the month or the summer…”

Is that any kind of way to live—wishing the days would go by so that we can take a deep breath—when our lives will be too short for us to accomplish all of our goals or all the good we could do?

I understand feeling that way. For me, it goes something like this: “I’ll like myself more when I’m thinner…If I could just sell the house, that would be one big item off the to-do list…” And I quickly find myself overwhelmed by what’s on my plate.

No, this post is not about chunking, or breaking down our goals into smaller pieces. It’s about pausing for a moment here and there during our day to bring our cares and concerns to God and letting the weight slip off our shoulders and into his hands:

Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7*)

It’s about crying to him if we need to and seeking comfort through the Holy Spirit, finding that listening ear we desperately need, and remembering that God has good plans for us (see Jeremiah 29:11).

If we need a little extra motivation, here’s a thought: do we want our children to keep putting off enjoying life until some event happens—to wish their lives away? Or do we want them to see that, despite the curves life throws us, we can still find comfort in God, pleasure in the blessings he gives us, and a deep-rooted joy?

I pray that, if we find ourselves postponing our happiness until some future event unfolds, we would stop to smell the roses, or enjoy cooking dinner, or play with our children, or appreciate whatever other gifts God has blessed us with.

(*Scripture quote taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, 2nd Catholic Edition.)

I’m a server by nature.

I’m one of those people who volunteer to chaperone school trips and bake treats for school and church functions. And I also join committees, even though I really don’t like meetings.

Yesterday I offered to help a parish committee because I didn’t want to see its hard work go to waste. But I’m already on two other church committees, and I have other parish and family activities and responsibilities. I think a newspaper article I read the other day got it right: When did “Busy,” become the right answer to the question, “How are you?”

As people of faith, we want to be involved in our parish and wider community and make a difference. But there comes a point where we need to ask ourselves whether we’re doing too much and why.

Are we helping because it’s “the right thing to do,” or do we have talents that would serve a group well? Do we really feel called to work in children’s liturgy, pastoral care or sacramental preparation, for example?

Are we involved because we feel pressured to participate or because the Spirit led us to help?

And are we really taking into consideration everything else in our lives when we agree to help? Do we think about our workload, our activities and those of our children, and our parish or community commitments?

When we consider taking on a new responsibility—a committee role, a volunteer position, or another family activity—we can ask God to guide our decision making through the Holy Spirit.

Section 1303 of the Catechism tells us that Confirmation “increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us,” but we don’t need to be Confirmation candidates to want or need these gifts:

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. . . . They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations. (s. 1831)

I pray that, before taking on new commitments, we would ask God to increase the gifts of the Spirit in us to guide us in making the right decision.


Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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