Tuesday, 31 January 2017

The Duty of Putting Yourself before Others

I bet the reader was somewhat taken aback by the title of "putting yourself before others," but the concept is actually a necessary one in the spiritual life. Of course it is in our human nature to be selfish and not remember our neighbour at times, but this article is going to focus on a main issue people often don't see.  It's the problem that we put our neighbour before ourselves to the extent that we neglect our own needs. Here's an example, imagine two young men that work on a farm. They have a very labourous job, but the first young man always makes sure he's taking his breaks, that he's in good shape, and that his mental and spiritual health are benefiting from the job. The second young man doesn't exactly do this. He always asks the farmer for more jobs, pushing and pushing himself to make sure every detail is complete, working very long hours and skipping his breaks so he can get more work done to benefit the farmer. Who is doing better in the eyes of God? Maybe to the eyes of the world it would be the second man, since he's sacrificing himself so much for society, but in the eyes of God it would be the first. 

God does not give us merit for straining ourselves because we think we're doing more for the world and those around us. He gives us merits for taking care of ourselves as He wants us to. It is extremely necessary to care for ourselves first before we help our neighbour. How are we supposed to love our neighbour as ourselves if we're not even loving ourselves? It is our duty and obligation to take care of our physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing in every single situation. If you're being overworked and it's beginning to effect you, it's your job to rest and heal yourself. Oftentimes it may seem like rest is the last thing we want to do if we want to achieve great things, but it's always in the little perfections that we merit the most.

If we care for ourselves first, our neighbour will always benefit far more than if we had exerted ourselves too much for their "well being." God spreads merit and goodness where His will is followed, so never forget that if we take care of ourselves first, everyone else will benefit. Even if we're lying in bed, resting finally after a life over over working, the world will gain great grace.

And so my dear reader, care for your own soul, care for your body and mind, and always heed to the will of God. For the will of God guides us to not only happiness, but wellness, health, and peace.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Clinging to Peace

As Catholics we tend to sometimes have a gloomy view of life. The idea of "offering up all our trials and sufferings" takes over and blinds us from what true suffering is, to bring us to the greater good. God never intended for suffering to be the main focus, rather the main focus in everyone's spiritual life should always be peace.

Peace of soul is essential, because without peace there is nothing to fall back on. Peace is the clarity of conscience, the confidence in our Faith, the solid love and trust we have in our God. If at the end of the day our hearts aren't at peace, and are rather struggling with all our trials and trying to hold onto the fibres of peace left in our souls, then we're doing something very wrong. The first thing we must always remember is that we need to be doing God's will at all time. If you are in a situation, whether it be a job where people are mistreating you, or there are people in your family who are influencing you in a negative way, or your general environment is bringing you down, you need to find a way to fix these things, work around them, and make a change. Of course avoiding suffering is impossible, but unnecessary situations that are causing strain to your life need to be avoided, as it isn't God's will. God wants you to have a happy life in this world and the next. He may give us tests to strengthen us, maybe a situation to go through to help us be better people, but my dear reader, cling to the peace of your soul, for it is there and there alone that Our Blessed Lord dwells. If your heart calls you to a different environment, or a different vocation, or even a different circle of friends, follow it confidently! God is peace, and will always show you where you will be most happy in life as long as we trust Him.

For example imagine a young boy who was disabled. This boy is still a precious soul created by Our Lord, but the right environment is necessary for him to thrive and get to heaven. Why, with all our pride, do we think that we have to live in conditions that aren't peaceful and good for our souls? Do we think that God only wills us to take the cruelty of the world? Of course not! God wants us to fight for our peace and find where that peace lies!

Never let anyone take away your peace. Because where peace lies, grace and salvation dwells also.