October 2009

Fr. Antony Portrait

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Glory to Jesus Christ!  When we are faced with difficulties we have options.  Denial, resistance or acceptance.  It does no good to deny the problem. 

Denial may distract us from the issue for awhile, but sooner or later it will resurface and even more energy will be needed to pretend the issue doesn't exist.  The old adage about one rotten apple contaminating the whole barrel comes to mind.

Resistance is when we try to fight the problem or push it away.  Again, far too much energy will be needed to keep that struggle up for very long. Resistance insures that every aspect of life will be tainted with the struggle as we sap energy we would normally use for other activities to bear on the problem. There's the rotten apple again!

Acceptance is a third option, sometimes quite hard to imagine.  How can we embrace difficulties and stay sane?  In fact, it is the only way to stay sane!  The ability to accept whatever comes in life with equanimity is a mark of spiritual and emotional maturity.

St. John Chrysostom died on a dusty road as he was being forced into exile. Tired and tortured he simply sat down on the road and is reported to have said, "Thank God for everything," as he died.  No matter what happens, God is with us. No matter what comes, it will pass. No matter how much pain is involved, we have the choice to embrace it and end the suffering, or deny and resist and encourage more suffering.

Jesus said, "Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me. For I am meek and lowly of heart and you shall find rest for your souls."

The old Buddhist saying is also apropos.  "Let everything be as it is and rest your weary mind."

All of us face difficulties from time to time. They often come "out of thin air" and blindside us.  It is our faith that the truth will win out in the end.  We may not see it, but that's ok. Eventually everything will be made right.  If we can fix our gaze on the present moment rather than on the past the event itself will lose its power to disturb and we might even be able to notice the hand of God at work in the midst of the storm.

Much love to you all,

Fr. Antony