Saturday, July 17, 2010

Our Habits Make Us What We Are.

In Korea, many see life as being directed by a mysterious force or energy called destiny or fate, over which we have no control. This is not the Christian outlook, although a guest columnist in the Korean Times thinks there are Catholics, in larger numbers than one would think, who are influenced by this way of looking at life. Instead of entreating God, they go to fortune tellers or shamans for help, and often leave the Church.

The columnist, reflecting on his own life, admits to having seen many things incorrectly and being embarrassed by the results, but that at other times, when seeing correctly, there were good results. He remembed a time when he decided to run as a candidate for his college presidency, after being assured of the support of many. But when it came time to vote, he lost. He was overwhelmed with distrust and anger toward the college community. Locking himself in the research room, he vented his frustrations to God, the only way he saw open to him. God did give him peace and another way of seeing what happened; the results were very satisfying to him personally.

He mentions the case of one of his younger college classmates who lost everything in a large business operation, even causing financial loss to his older brother. He was fleeing to Seoul with the intention of killing himself, when his daughter's image flashed before his mind's eye, and the words, "let's live," changed everything. He returned home, and with a new determination and effort, he was able not only to recoup his losses but expand his operations to other countries.

He reminds us that in Korean the word for suicide is made up of two sylables; when read with the last sylable first, the word means "let's live," which requires a change of thinking, a new attitude towards life.

Many pray as if everything depends on God, forgetting that we should act as if everything depends on us, otherwise we will fall into the same frame of mind as those who have a fatalistic way of looking at life.

The writer concludes his opinion piece by telling us that we live by habits that have become part of us. The time we spend thinking about the spiritual is limited, but we can continue to work zealously at what we do daily and also increase the time we spend with God: meditating, thinking about spiritual things; praying, conversing with God; and spending sacred time at Mass with Jesus. When we think about the words of our Lord and act on them, God will change what we think is our unfortunate fate to one of blessing.

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