The Power To Choose

"Your charity should be likable. Without neglecting prudence or naturalness, try to have, though you may be crying inside, a smile on your lips for everyone at all times, and try to render an unstinting service too."  St. Josemaria Escriva
"...a smile on your lips for everyone at all times."  That might be one of the hardest things to do especially when under pressure.  How does one acquire the strength to act the opposite of the way one is feeling?  Victor Frankl author of, "Man's Search for Meaning," speaks about making this decision even while he was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp.  Frankl's greatest discovery was that once man finds a purpose to live he can live through anything.

So how does one go about finding that purpose especially in the midst of mundane, daily tasks?

I believe that the way one finds this purpose is through adversity; through those times one when one is stretched to the limits, mentally, physically, or emotionally.  It's like lifting weights the more weight is applied the more muscle is developed. 

Another factor is the attitude one brings to the circumstance.  If one is consistently miserable and complaining then one loses out on that moment.  But instead if one accepts the situations as a way of growing then one will profit greatly from the experience.  One of the greatest gifts which God gives is the ability to choose freely.  This gift also extends to the realm of the mind where each one one us has the ability to choose our responses.  Take a look at most of the saints.  What is the one quality that drew others to them?  It was joy.  The saints despite their hardships were able to exhibit an unexplainable joy which drew others to them.  What was the source of that joy?  God of course.  But it also took the effort of the saints to choose their responses to their daily situations.

I believe that St. Escriva and Victor Frankl are both telling us that we have the power to choose our responses to any circumstance be it dealing with a belligerent boss, a rebellious child,or an aggressive driver on the fast lane.  Life is full of opportunities to grow.  If we can change our thoughts and attitudes we can literally change the world we live in. 


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