Friday, April 6, 2018

1: 29: 300 and the Spiritual Life

Korea has recently had some serious accidents with the loss of many lives not unique in world news. We are all prone to accidents as we go along with our lives. How did this happen? Why me? Why this great loss?  Questions we ask ourselves and desire answers.

In a diocesan bulletin, a priest reminisces on the big and small accidents happening all around us and introduces the readers to the Heinrich Law a statistical rule: 1: 29: 300. From the data that Heinrich studied he proposed that for every major injury there are 29 minor ones and 300 accidents with no injury. More than an exact study he was giving us a rule of thumb that for every serious accident we are preparing for it by 29 minor accidents and 300 mistakes that do not cause problems but could have.

Herbert Heinrich was an engineer who worked for an insurance company and taught at a university who made a study of industrial accidents and proposed his rule. There is a relationship between the number of accidents of a similar type and their severity. Reducing the most common incidents we can call  unsafe acts, reduces the frequency of minor injuries and will reduce the number of severe injuries.

If we were more alert in examining the causes of the 'accidents' (incidents) we encounter daily and prepare counter-measures we would avoid in a great part the minor and major injuries that we see so often. This was true of the serious accidents that we recently experienced in Korea. Signs of imminent problems were ignored and only discovered after the accidents and loss of life.

This is readily seen in our daily lives when we make mistakes and don't bother with analyzing the reasons and repeatedly do the same thing with the same results. It's only when we repent seeing the damage done that change for the better results. When we put something on the stove and forget and find the whole meal destroyed, often repeated unless steps are taken to remove the causes.

These mistakes happen in our spiritual life for we do not take the necessary safety precautions. He mentions the example of one who goes to Sunday Mass but finds it boring and without meaning. This continues and he begins to miss a few times and then he finds it to his liking and forgets that he was given signs of this future drift away from the life he once considered important.

In the spiritual life when we don't experience God's love, find joy, have an aversion to prayer, the  Sacraments and the community, they are warning signs that something is amiss and we need to be concerned. These may be considered some of the 300 incidents or rather minor problems that have no immediate serious results but also remind us that we need to do something to prevent serious results from happening.