Friday, October 11, 2013

Life Need Not be Boring

Life can be tiring and boring and the results can be seen daily in our newspapers. Obviously, this is not the way it should be. A seminary priest-professor, in the Kyeongyang magazine, comments that such a lifeless attitude frequently comes about when there is so much to do, accompanied by our inability to respond in the way we would like, leading to anger,frustration and depression--all brought about, says the professor, by a mental state that can be pathological.  

To avoid this, most cultures, he says, have built-in solutions: sporting events, festivals and holidays, art shows and literary events, and personal occasions, like birthdays and anniversaries, that encourage spending a night out dining and drinking. We attempt to overcome our tiredness and boredom by all kinds of distractions. What we really want, the professor says, is rest, but we continually take on more activity.

Our spiritual life is no different, he says. We should be concerned about our relationship with God and experience his presence in our lives, but the accompanying values and rules become discordant with the society we are in, being seen as musty with old-age and now unimportant. But even those who have been Christian for some time can feel tired and bored, wanting relief from such feelings. Prayer also can become arduous, further increasing our fatigue and feelings of being burnt out by what we believe is demanded. When we do not experience God and his grace, this is bound to be its natural outcome.

Catholics also have a great deal of habitual acts to perform as part of our faith life, and if there is no sweetness and tang to the life, we will become tired and bored.  When we lose the meaning and awareness of what we do as Christians, weariness will appear. When we are not aware of the graces we receive daily, we will be overcome with distractions and worldly thoughts.

Not only is this true for the laity but priests also have the same problem. And when obligation is the only motive for action, the same problems arise.  Mass, the Sacraments, the breviary, counseling, visits to the sick--all can be very tiring. Without joy in the life of the priest, these duties can become unbearable and lead to burn out and dereliction of duty. 

To find reasons for the boredom and fatigue, one has to look within, the professor says. Before we take an alternative route, we need the discipline to uncover the driving force for our actions, and work to purify our motivation. A small change in our thinking, we know, can bring a great change in our actions. The grace of God is always there to move us from stagnation, or something worse, to a new life of health and grace-filled living.

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