Sunday, 31 January 2016


I heard someone say recently that they were going to try and give up worry for Lent. I think that's admirable but doubt it's possible. If you are by nature a worrier like myself then you will know how insidious worry can be, how it can creep up on you at 4am, how it's always really there. I'm sure I'm not alone in developing certain techniques as a worrier to try and minimise it, such as making sure I get physical outdoor exercise everyday, having a daily prayer routine (eg. saying the rosary), having creative work to throw yourself into, trying to avoid spending time on any absorbing media which might add to the worry (eg. reading certain newspapers), trying to be organised and developing a pragmatic attitude - get on with the things you can do, and forget about the things you have no control over.

I think that last one is really key, and that is where faith comes in and can make a difference to worry. Really, many worries boil down to an experience of complete helplessness in the face of events or life-situations over which we have no control. Worry is like a kind of superstition - we think if we worry about something we can exert some kind of indirect influence over it. But as Christ said:

"Which of you, by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?"

In fact the whole passage in the Sermon on the Mount on worry is one of the most beautiful passages in scripture in my opinion. We cannot help worrying I think, but we can minimise it by being open to receiving the grace of God's help in prayer, by being open to sharing in others' good fortune even if our own lives seem dark and full of trouble.

Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

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