So often we as Catholics see our choices as between sin and Grace, or perhaps salvation and damnation. And we pretty much know how to handle the results of such possible decisions, too. If we sin, for example, we go to confession. We practice our spiritual lives so that salvation is within our grasp at least, and not condemnation. We are so clear about making these choices for Grace and salvation, that we desire them for our families, too. In other words, being convinced of our path to God we may insure that everyone in our family goes to confession, and that at least our children attend Mass on a regular basis.
But are these the only choices available? How about the choice between being optimistic and pessimistic? Do we choose to see a Grace-filled world, with every opportunity there for us to achieve most of our goals? And are we willing to see in non-accomplished goals the possibilities of better, more realistic goals, one’s that God really wants us to have? How many people can say: “Ah! I can see now as a result of reflecting on why I was unable to achieve this or that goal that there were lessons to be learned, all wrapped up in my failure! And now that I have integrated these lessons, my next goal is to apply what I have learned toward the accomplishment of a new set of goals.” With such a statement, one recognizes that one of the hard learned lessons, at least, was to be able to see what God really wanted all along. One’s former goals were just so wrong for me to achieve! Now, filled with zeal and increased energy, I find that the new goals that I can set for myself are now more easily accomplished. Sad to say, many people get frustrated and depressed as a result of failed goals, and as a result are unable to learn anything constructive. Surrendering to depression, rather than to God’s wider optimistic perspective, they either fail to grow at all, or simply find their actual growth slower and more painful than it needs to be.
The above scenario represents a real possibility. But it is also possible that I will get guidance somewhere; I may find someone who is inspirational to me, and eventually come out of my dark moods and back into the light of optimism, and thus once again into a Grace-filled world. You see, ultimately, what I am learning is to deepen my relationship with God. I am choosing to live a deliberately chosen relationship with God because I really want to. I do this by simply by asking Him frequently if this or that is right for me. A learned lesson as this is, I may find, will be the greatest lesson of all for it constitutes the very essence of genuine Wisdom.
If you look closely, you might notice that all of the choices I mentioned above parallel each other. In other words, living for Grace and Salvation as themes is intertwined with optimistic living. Likewise, those dark, pessimistic feelings that can take me over could, if continually embraced, lead to eventual sin. Viewed in such a manner, doesn’t it make more sense to choose optimism as our number one best choice, especially if I really do not want to sin, and I really want to live a life worthy of salvation? Wisdom is this: Live for God. Live optimistically. Expect Guidance for it is there for you. Expect a Blessing. Expect it today.
Peace, Fr. Walter