Life today is one worry after another, isn’t it? Just because you have faith, and are not wrapped up in concerns like global warming, pandemics and population growth, doesn’t mean you are free from worry altogether. I think most informed Catholics worry about the growing hostility of society toward them. How are we supposed to respond to legitimate worries?
We need to get back to our roots here. How did Jesus deal with thoughts like these? Some worries He cast away all together. He didn’t care about politics, what Herod and Pilate were up to. His mission didn’t depend upon the political climate of the time, or even how people took Him. But He did come to make a statement, one, indeed, with political implications. In fact, He would set off massive political ripples. But he wasn’t interested in political parties, and fitting Himself into the political landscape such as it was. But He did come to make divisions. He didn’t come just to blend into the background.
The type of division He came to set up in the world was simply that between good and evil; not that between Jews and Samaritans or between Israel and Rome. He sort of treated the concerns of His fellow citizens with cavalier disinterest – “Should we pay the Temple Tax or not?” (Mt 17:24-27) Should we pay Caesar or not? He didn’t seem to care very much about the questions that were so important to His fellow Israelites.
But once inside the Temple, He had zeal for His Father’s House. (Jn 2:13-17)
To Jesus it was simply true that,
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Often, I think we don’t have the mind of Jesus within politics. “My kingdom is not of this world.” (Jn 18:36)
But how do we gain the sort of freedom Jesus possessed? And how do we learn what we are supposed to care about and what not supposed to care about? It’s not easy. But it has everything to do with prayer. And perspective. You have probably heard about the ‘Four Last Things.’ These are death, judgement, hell, and heaven. Talking about these things has fallen out of fashion in recent years, but I would say that this has been for all the wrong reasons. Being aware that the things of this world are passing is something that can bring real freedom, real peace of mind. I think one of the most beautiful lines in the whole Bible is from the Book of Revelation: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rv 21:4)
To have the right attitude about the world’s problems, go to prayer. Put on “faith and love as a breastplate.” (1 Thess 5:8) These will protect your heart, in other words. You will not have peace without prayer. You will not have the right perspective on things without prayer. Anxiety comes from too much busy-ness. Slow down, stop, pray. Then you will become truly useful, and not just busy.
Your armor is gained in prayer.
Colin wrote this Article for the Knights of the Holy Eucharist. He has been married to Anne-Marie since 1999, and they are proud to raise their six children, in a small town in Ontario, Canada. Colin has a PhD in Theology and works tirelessly to promote the Gospel. “Just share the Word,” is what he believes the Lord says to him – and so he does. He recently founded The Catholic Review of Books, a printed journal and website dedicated to “all things books” from the perspectives of faithful Catholics. He is fascinated by the concept of chivalry as it applies to being a man and a father in today’s crazy world.