Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 4, 2018)
“Is not our life on earth drudgery?”
Let's face it. Try as we might to always look at the bright side of life,
each and every one of us have times in our lives when we would answer Job's
question with a resounding "yes."
The burdens of life are real. Setbacks in life are painful. Headaches - and heartache - are a part of being human. We need to be honest. We need to name and address those areas of our lives in which we feel weighed down and burdened. However, wallowing in or dwelling upon the negative can be far more dangerous and debilitating to our spiritual, emotional, psychological, social and mental health than the troubles themselves.
Francis de Sales observed that dwelling on the burdens of life “upsets the soul, arouses inordinate fears, creates disgust for prayer, stupefies and oppresses the brain, deprives the mind of prudence, resolution, judgment and courage, and destroys its strength. In a word, such sorrow is like a severe winter that spoils all the beauty of the country and weakens all the animals. It takes away all sweetness from the soul and renders it disabled.”
What is the best remedy for melancholy, for the temptation to focus only on what is wrong, what is broken, what is painful? The combination of prayer, good works, and good friends:
Prayer – “Prayer is a sovereign remedy for it lifts up the soul to God who is our joy and consolation."
Good works – “By means of sorrow the evil one tries to make us weary of doing what is good, but if he sees that we won't give up on doing good, then he will stop troubling us.”
Good friends – “Humbly and sincerely reveal to another all the feelings, affections and suggestions that proceed from your sadness. Try to talk to spiritual friends frequently and spend time with them as much as you possibly can during this period” of dryness.
St. Francis de Sales claimed “the evil one is pleased with sadness and melancholy because he himself is sad and melancholy and will be so for all eternity. Hence, Satan desires that everyone should be like himself.” Hence the expression misery loves company.
In the face of life's burdens and difficulties let's do our level best to deprive the evil one of our company and walk in the company prayerful, positive and proactive people.