The Catholic Times in their weekly column on some aspect of spirituality, focused this week on the necessity of resiliency in life. A recent study concluded that young men brought up in an environment that ordinarily fosters delinquency and societal dropouts were often able to survive unscathed when they were not committed to a rigid way of thinking and behaving..
What made these young men overcome the obstacles they faced growing up? The columnist believes the answer was a flexible attitude. They had the ability to accept or reject whatever they encountered in their environment--the good or the bad--as they assimilated experiences and created their value system. When used for their growth, this ability enabled these young men to see the world positively.
Our Church should attempt to find what fosters this flexibility, this self- resiliency, and then find ways to encourage its growth. Determining how much and in what manner our environment affects us would also be helpful.
Some of the questions to gauge flexibility might be: Am I able to accept myself humbly, at whatever stage I now find myself? How much of what has happened to me will I accept as resulting from my choice? Am I into the blame-game? What I am now is because of my parents, or my grandparents, or my brothers or sisters, my difficult family relationship, the poverty of the family, the bad atmosphere of my neighborhood, my school teachers, a certain friend--the list is almost endless.
We need to change the above to a different list: because of God, because of my belief, because of God's love for me. This list is never changed by circumstances of our life and can be available to all no matter their environment.
Also helpful in bringing to mind the need for a resilient attitude is to repeat, as often as necessary, the well-known Serenity prayer: "God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."