"My dear, if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head I should better understand your affairs."~Charles Dickens

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"It's especially hard to hear about children being abused."

Hi Donna-Marie,

What are the virtues that would help against worry?  We hear so much bad news constantly it can sometimes be overwhelming.  It's especially hard to hear about children being abused, etc. 

What should our response be?


Ornella in Virginia.
Dear Ornella,
Thank you for writing. I understand your concerns. To answer your question regarding virtues that would help against worrying,  well, one that comes straight to mind is the theological virtue of hope. I encourage you to read about it in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC # 1812).
Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. 'Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.' 'The Holy Spirit...he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.'
The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity..."Christian hope unfolds from the beginning of Jesus' preaching in the proclamation of the beatitudes. The beatitudes raise our hope towards heaven as the new Promised Land; they trace the path that leads through the trials that await the disciples of Jesus. But through the merits of Jesus Christ and His Passion, God keeps us in the 'hope that does not disappoint.' Hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul...that enters where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf. Hope is also a weapon that protects us in the struggle of salvation: 'Let us.. put on the breastplate of faith and charity, and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.' It affords us joy even under trial: 'Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation. Hope is expressed and nourished in prayer, especially in the Our Father, the summary of everything hope leads us to desire. [emphasis mine]
And since the quote from the Catechism above speaks of the Beatitudes and the Beatitudes are today's Gospel (coincidence? I think not), I'll include the reading here:

Matthew 5:1-12

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
‘How happy are the poor in spirit;
 theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy the gentle:
 they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn:
 they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:
 they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful:
 they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart:
 they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers:
 they shall be called sons of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
 theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you
 and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account.
Rejoice and be glad,
 for your reward will be great in heaven.’
When you feel the temptation to worry or find yourself worrying, try to turn to prayer and offer your worry to God. Ask Him to give you peace. When we pray our daily Rosaries, the first three Hail Marys we pray; we are asking for an increase in FAITH, HOPE, and, LOVE.

Yes, Ornella, bad news, as you say, can be overwhelming. We live in an un-godly culture, after all. Surround yourself with other faithful Christians so that you can encourage one another. We must trust in God and pray always.

Let's all ask God for an increase in faith, hope, and love and for all of the graces we need to survive in and even SHINE in this world today so that we may be an instrument to carry HOPE to others.

May God bless you and your family, Ornella. Feel free to come back again for another "cup of tea!"

God bless and hugs,

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