By Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M., The Christophers’ Board of Directors
In St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, he says, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.” What a profound witness this statement is to the power of hope and the importance of remaining positive even in the face of life’s negative circumstances.
Consider how this simple bit of wisdom can change the way we see the world. We all know how personal misfortune and the bad news of our times can drag us into a spiral of negativity, but St. Paul provides such a perfect solution to this problem by pointing us towards a positive approach to life.
We are constantly presented with the choice of whether to be positive or negative, regardless of the circumstances of our lives. For those who make a habit of succumbing to negativity, that attitude seems to permeate their entire existence to the point where they can be gloomy even during joyous occasions. But the converse is true for those who maintain a positive disposition. They are the ones capable of answering St. Paul’s call to believe that God can bring about good from any situation.
The world today gives us many reasons to be negative, whether its news of war and violence, stories of those afflicted with poverty and disease, natural disasters, or corruption even within our own Church. Each of these situations calls for a different response and the call to remain positive does not mean we turn our backs on these struggles. We must seek solutions to these problems, but remaining hopeful can help us to do so without allowing our spirits to be crushed.
The Christophers’ prayer card Uplift My Spirit offers some simple tips for remaining positive even in trying times. One such tip reminds us to be attentive to the media we consume – the music we listen to, the films or television programs we watch, and the books we read. Are these things mere distractions or do they contribute in some way to making us feel rejuvenated and ready to face the world with a positive attitude? Another thing we can do is to make a point of actually counting our blessings. We can call them to mind or even write them down because sometimes we need to remind ourselves of all the good God showers upon us on a daily basis. And taking care of our health by getting exercise, eating right, and taking time to enjoy the outdoors can be tremendously uplifting for our spirits.
These may seem like small things to do in the face of life’s trials, but we must remember the line from the Bible that says, “He who despises small things will fail little by little” (Sirach 19:1). So we must be attentive to those smaller things in life that can help us to remain positive people. Of course, our News Note points to the most powerful tool of our faith as well, which is prayer, and as Catholics we are provided with the most intimate way to connect with God through the Mass and reception of the Eucharist.
Drawing close to the Eucharist and the sacraments is vital, especially in times of trial within the Church. So practice your faith in trying times and your spirit will remain alive with the power of the Holy Spirit. You may also help others discover that a positive approach to life is the best way to weather any storm.
For free copies of the Christopher News Note STAYING POSITIVE AROUND NEGATIVE PEOPLE, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org