Skip to main content

Being Content In All Things

“…I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want.  I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”  (Phil 4: 11b-13)
It is an inevitable thing that in this life one will suffer.  It is one of life's greatest truths, second to only to death.  Suffering does not discriminate,  it reaches everyone, the believer, the non believer, the young person, the old person,  the Muslim, the Jew, and the Buddhist. It is a guarantee if you live, you will suffer.   (What a pessimistic beginning, don't worry it gets better.)

Today as I said my prayers I was struck by this passage from Philippians.  I was struck by the raw honesty of St. Paul as he relates his own struggles. St. Paul through this passage speaks about developing the virtue of spiritual detachment. St. Theresa of Avila also spoke about this virtue as she wrote, 
"Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices."
So what does it mean to be spiritually detached?  Does it mean that one should become indifferent to the challenges of life? Of course not.  To be spiritually detached means to trust God so much that one becomes content in any circumstance.  This detachment comes from the knowledge that God is in control, that no matter what happens it will all work out for the good -  in this life and especially in the next one.  

As I have well written in my previous posts it has been a very difficult year for me; arguably the most difficult one of my entire life.  I have been tested in ways unimaginable. I have been stretched, stretched almost to my breaking point. I have been battered by the waters of suffering, beaten mercilessly by the winds of temptation, assailed by the unending buffets of the devil.  Many times I have fallen, many times I have gotten up.  In spite of this all I am still fighting, even if I am bruised and battered I am still fighting.  How is this possible?   Only through Christ for "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." 

The most beautiful part of all this suffering is the detachment that it has begun to forge inside of me.  I no longer care so much about being in control of my life,  I no longer care so much about earthly outcomes.  I still have my plans, and dreams, but I realize that ultimately it is not in my hands, it is in God's hands. Like St. Paul I have begun to develop the ability to be content in all of life's circumstances, the good and the bad even if I am kicking and screaming along the way.
In some roundabout way I am grateful for my sufferings.  It humanizes me.  It makes me understand better the struggles of others. I am not a simple observer anymore I am a participant and my battle wounds are my proofs of this participation.  If I didn't suffer then I would have never realized the inner resilience, the inner toughness, the boundless potential that is inside of me when I am aligned with God.  Suffering has taught me that I ultimately have two choices:  I can either choose to fight with God or without God.  Since suffering is inevitable I hope to choose daily to fight with God.

Prayer:  Lord grant me the grace to be content with all things in this life; to trust in you more, to realize that you are the benevolent author of my life.  Amen.


Popular posts from this blog

10 Great Quotes from The Book of Sirach

The book of Sirach is a book that is often overlooked in the bible. This is unfortunate since this book contains many wise, practical saying on how to live a virtous life. The book was believed to have been written between 200-175 B.C.E.

Here are ten quotes that I feel best reflect this timeless work.

1."Do not become a beggar by feasting with\borrowed money, when you have nothing in your purse." Sirach 18:33

2."In all you do remember the end of your life, and then you will never sin." 7:36

3.."Glory and dishonor come from speaking; a man's tongue is his downfall." 5:13"

4."A wise man is cautious in everything." 18:27

5."One who trusts others is light minded." 19:4

6."If you pursue justice, you will obtain it and wear it as a glorious robe." 27:8

7."Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but no many as have fallen because of the tongue." 28:18

8." In all of your work be industrious and no sickness will…

George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and The Afterlife

I was stunned, as was most of the world was when I heard about the passing of George Michael on Christmas day.  Michael possessed enormous talent was and one of the most successful acts in the 1980's and early 90's

Shortly after Carrie Fisher died.  Fisher was famous for her legendary role as princess Leia from the Star Wars movies.  Strangely her mother also died the day after.

2016 was a notable year for celebrity deaths.

Some names include Prince, Glenn Frey, David Bowie,  Doris Roberts, Alan Rickman, and Muhammad Ali.

As a Catholic these deaths got me thinking about the transient nature of life and the inevitability of death.

Marcus Aurelius, the stoic, emperor, philosopher king wrote about the passing nature of life as he reflected, "Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away."

Even though I agree mostly with Aurelius&…

Me vs. The Almighty

There is a famous scene in the Bible where Jacob wrestles with God.  Jacob fights with God until God takes out a bone from Jacob's thigh. Interestingly, God eventually relents and stops fighting with Jacob. After this dramatic incident, Jacob is renamed Israel which literally means, "he who struggles with God."

I can relate to this story.  Many times in my life I have argued with God. I still do. (my wife can attest to that.) Many times I have criticized his tactics, his ways, and his wisdom. In my worst moments, I have even used choice language. I have a complicated relationship with God. Like Jacob, I have wrestled with God. (thigh bone still intact)

Recently I approached a priest friend of mine and told him of my struggles with God.  I expected that he would chide me for my lack of respect and informality. What this priest said was illuminating and encouraging. He told me that it was OK at times to be angry with God, God understood. He, in fact, encouraged this honest…