Chilling out before contradictions

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THAT amusing episode about St. Joseph thinking of quietly separating from Our Lady because he found her already with a child in her womb before they lived together (cfr. 1,18-25) is a good lesson and reminder that we just have to chill out when faced with some contradictions in life.

In any case, worrying and plunging ourselves in discouragement and sadness would not help us any. It would simply make things worse instead, putting us in a position that is prone to more dangers. We have to remember that sadness is always an ally of our enemy.

We need to remember that everything is under God’s control. If some bad things happen to us, it must be because there is a reason and a purpose behind it. We need to see the bigger picture that God provides us through or faith, hope and charity. We should not be guided simply by our own estimation of things. We have to go to God.

If we are lucky like St. Joseph, we might be privileged to have an angel explain things to us in a dream. But even if we are not, as is usually the case since extraordinary means are rare and the ordinary means to know the truth are plenty, we should just go to God asking for light, strength and comfort. That should be our instinctive reaction.

Ideally, we should not be weighed down by any worry since God takes care of everything. Some Bible passages reassure us of this truth. “So do not fear,” the Book of Isaiah says, “for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (1,10)

And St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (4,6-7)

Still, from the Psalms, we have these reassuring words: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” (27,1)

Of course, we also have to do our part in resolving our predicaments. Yes, we may worry a bit, but it should not be for long. We may have to suffer a bit, but again, it should not be overdone. If referred and united with Christ’s suffering, ours would strike us to be meaningful, purifying, redemptive, etc. We would end up loving suffering.

Let’s remember that as long as we are with God, as long as we believe and love him, everything will always work out for the good.  (cfr. Rom 8,28) He knows how to derive good from evil, since everything depends on him, he being the Creator of all things. No matter how a creature goes against him, that creature cannot overcome him.

We need to channel and assimilate this wonderful truth of our faith into our emotional and psychological systems which are where our useless worrying takes place.

In fact, in these aspects of our life, what should reign or dominate always are the sentiments of joy and peace. Otherwise, we can say that our life is not as it should be. If it is not a happy life, then it is not the ideal human life, much less a life of a child of God.

Yes, we should try to know and understand why some contradictions happen in our life. Many times, that is possible. But there can be times when no matter how much we try to understand things, we still fail. That’s when we simply have to trust in God’s omnipotent and merciful providence.

In the meantime, we should just chill out and focus on what we are supposed to do in any given moment.