Be Connected and Grateful To God

Sunday seems to be a good day to reflect and be at peace. Something that is harder to do now in our connected world. So, why not, for a moment, stop and think about all the good that has come to you.

Me, well, I am grateful to God, he has been exceedingly good to me, my wife Linda, my 3 boys, family, and friends. We are safe, healthy and well fed, we have generously given our time, talent and treasure to help others and tried to follow him every day.

Sunday’s were joyful and peaceful

Sunday’s, when I was young, were spent with my family, Grandparents, and cousins. There was no agenda, no internet, no cell phones, no fast food, no shopping, no texts, no interruptions. The surroundings were peaceful themselves; most stores were closed, traffic was lite. It was around the world a day of rest. Yes, Sunday was a day to meander through, to enjoy, to pray, be grateful and play. We were connected but not to “stuff” but something bigger. God was present, and so was his grace, peace, and joy. I was a happy youth surrounded by family and friends.

Today it is a rare family that is at peace like those old days, it seems connected today means disconnected from God. Technology isn’t something helping our lives it is something that has disrupted our lives. We see so much more to consume including more stuff, things to do and be, but these things feed our intellect but not our soul. Those Sunday’s passed were more like soul days. It gave an energy to your heart, mind, and soul. Nothing in technology provides this same connection.

I’m an addict to tech because it’s cool and helps me do things like blog. But, tech has pushed aside the peace God use to provide, not only in families but also in relationships, work and in our communities. Our world is broken in many ways and if its brokenness is defined by a lack of respect of one another, I’m not thinking tech is the answer. Fixing broken relationships requires power greater, I am not referring to our legal system, God is the unique and single answer to peace at work, communities, etc.

Faithful to God

I am a good and happy Catholic who recognizes God comes to people in many different ways. As a Catholic, believing what the Church teaches, I believe every human person was created in the image of God. So, it makes sense people find God in different ways. It’s also interesting most every religion teaches peace and this is something that makes sense to me. That’s universal around the globe, it seems like something businesses, government, schools and our communities could benefit from allowing to exist. To me, when I am grateful to God he provides his peace and joy no matter the work, people, financial struggles. I can be at peace in every situation.

But, God is under attack in the U.S. and that’s sadly the result of religions not finding common ground and standing together. Rather, the evil one who divides humans and has been pretty successful dividing Americans is winning. A revival of faith might not look like what my Church leaders or yours might conceive, but I am sure, God would enjoy unity in faith. Imagine what’s possible if people of faith acknowledged openly the devilish trade they know has occurred.

I love Sister Carmela who has taught me a great deal about being human and she has taught me to appreciate the peace that’s possible when we are grateful to God for all we have. She has also taught me the evil one, Satan is in the lives of people, including mine. In my youth, I recall more peace and that connects or rings true with Sisters words. The more I connect as she has instructed the more I see the evil one at work.

A Nunn Lesson

A while back, Sister Carmela, like the St. Bede Nunn’s who taught me, explained the importance of being grateful. Like every adult in my youth taught me, she said,

“Don, you need to be grateful in all things. Because God is in all things, even our suffering.”

One day, we were in the office together, and I was very frustrated, I told her that day, being grateful wasn’t possible. That wasn’t the right thing to say to a Nunn formerly cloistered for 20 years. The friend and counselor in her popped out, not to chastise me, but, to encourage me. She said, see Him in everything; even suffering. To myself I thought, God in my struggles, are you crazy? But looking back, something awesome happened that day.

Her comment mended something deep inside; she helped me find that youthful joy. That joy of my youth now fills the place frustration, anger, and worry had taken over. I’m not sure why it was so easy to eliminate these human emotions but it happened. The anger, frustration, and worry that accompanied most days have lost their grip on me. Now, when frustrations come, I’m able to let them go as quickly as they come. I could never do that, I would hold onto being angry.

Privately, I find myself joyful, joyful with tears at times. Sometimes I want to break out in a huge silly-ass grin, but I stop myself. Not smiling I’ve thought isn’t good for what people might think. I suppose I need to work on that.

A Short Prayer brings Peace

I can only give credit for sisters words and a short prayer of gratefulness that brings peace and joy no matter what’s going on. I often pray,

“Jesus Christ show me the Father and send me the Holy Spirit that in all things grant me your grace to be grateful and your peace to find joy in loving you.

That I might be obedient to your will each moment of every day and offer up my little suffering for others as you offered yourself for me, in this unite my heart, mind, and soul with you.”

It is interesting how Sisters words made such a difference. It brings back memories of adults in my youth who frequently said, “offer it up.” I don’t think I understood that phrase then, but I do now. How or why the joy of my youth was stolen by frustration, anger, worry, etc., I can’t explain but getting it back is wonderful.

Somewhere I let go of the intentional life and so, life pushed me down a path that was not good. I see it often, it is an evil we all need to evict from our lives, homes, and workplaces. We should not settle when something better is so easy to have, if only we ask for it.

A tip to find it more easily

Changing back to peace and joy has been a real gift. It is a gift God gives instantly, but you have to ask him for it. That prayer requires humility to put God first, ahead of your intellect and self-sufficiency. It allows God to give you joy and peace because we honor God with what he is due.

If I want that joy and peace, I must remember to put God first all day. My teachers always said, Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul. It’s a way of living my parents, grandparents, Uncle’s and Aunt’s knew and lived.

It does take effort to put down the machinery and replace it with prayer but prayer is a must to stay connected with him. But, also amazingly, you can keep the tech and all the fun things in the world after making God #1.

Atheist still reading?

For the atheist or non-believer still reading, thank you for getting this far. I have pondered the questions of faith most every day of my life. I want you to know I pray for you as I do the world. That humility and wisdom allow you to hear what God is saying to you. God is real but our hearts are full of emotions that distract us and the minds God gave us tell us we can do it ourselves. The world around us makes us consumers of stuff and often can separate us from each other.

GOAL FOR LIFE

I’m not sure who I heard this from, but for me, I have a Goal, but it isn’t money, fame or fortune, to me these are things that are not lasting. Instead, my goal in life is to get myself, my spouse, my children, and anyone else in my life to heaven. That’s it.

Connecting God at work

Love of Faith, Family, and Friends connects me to God who has put incredible people in my life, and I love meeting his beauty in each new person.

In work roles, I have managed employees and counseled small business owners and their employees. I have seen how money makes for conflicts; I am fortunate that my work in leadership or benefit consulting puts me in people’s lives in a personal way, my work and prayers can often bring relief. We need more of this in the workplace to be sure. How about your workplace?

Whether it is work, health, finances or families, America, a nation of wealth, has no shortage of suffering and pain. I have seen how praying helps with gratitude to God which allows grace to solve the toughest problems. I have seen good come from impossible situations where families come together when they align hopes and dreams with the hard work of solving tough problems, often economic ones.

 

I think the world-at-work needs a return to gratefulness. For me, this comes from a return to God. What do you think? I’ve recently turned comments on the blog page, feel free to comment or share.

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