Catholic Commute S02E13 5 ways to fight the darkness

What to do when everything seems broken

Recently things haven’t been going as smoothly as I’d like.  There have been difficulties with work and at home.  When everything feels broken, and I cannot seem to get anything to actually work, it’s hard not to just give in to frustration.  Yet, in those moments, there are still things that we can do to fight against the darkness.

We all hit those periods of darkness, periods when life just doesn’t seem to make sense.  It’s basically a guarantee right from the gospel.  This is my first episode in quite some time, I hope you find it helpful.  I discuss a lot of what has been going on in my life recently.

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S02E13 5 ways to fight the darkness

 

St. Zachary, Patron saint of peace

Born in Calabria, St. Zachary was a deacon to Gregory III before he succeeded him as pope in 741. The last pope to announce his election to the patriarch of Constantinople, Zachary strongly opposed the iconoclasm of Emperor Constantine V Copronymous. Zachary also opposed the slave trade. He negotiated peace in Italy and supported the establishment of the Carolingian line in France. Zachary supported Boniface’s mission in Germany and is said to have had maps of the Christian world painted on the walls of a tower in the Lateran. He translated the dialogues of Gregory the Great from Latin into Greek. Zachary died in 752.

 

Holy St. Zachary, intercede for those of us whose lives are in turmoil.  Pray that we would surrender our sense of control to the Lord, and allow His peace to enter into the chaos of the world.  Beg that the Father and Son would send forth the Spirit and renew the hearts of all who are troubled, bringing a new spring-time of regrowth.

Heavenly Father, as it pleased you to bring peace into the world through St. Zachary, please bring the same peace into our lives now.  We ask this through your Son, our Lord, Jesus

 

 

  1. Connect to God
    1. Bible reading, adoration
    2. Re-affirm your commitment
    3. Deuteronomy 8:2-10:

Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. 3 He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.[a] 4 The clothes on your back did not wear out and your feet did not swell these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a parent disciplines a child so the Lord your God disciplines you. 6 Therefore keep the commandments of the Lord your God, by walking in his ways and by fearing him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9 a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. 10 You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.

    1. The Bible is full of promises for those who persist in trusting God.
  1. Challenge our coping mechanisms
    1. What are yours?  Mine are alcohol, food, and entertainment, in that order
    2. We tend to crawl into them
    3. Do they actually fill the hole, really?  Be honest!
    4. Pray for temperance, good time to
    5. John 6:27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.
  2. Fight for an obtainable goal
    1. Small wins can feel big
    2. St. Theresa of Calcutta: “If you cannot feed 100 people, just feed one.”
    3. When down in the dumps, Satan offers us the lie that we can do nothing, that we are truly stuck and trapped
    4. If nothing else, just make one person you care about really smile.
    5. Humor – everything looks brighter when we are smiling or laughing.
    6. Perspective – everything looks differently from a different angle
    7. A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost.  He reduced altitude and speed and spotted a woman below.  He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”  The woman below replied “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”
      “You must be an engineer,” said the balloonist.
      “I am,” replied the woman.  “How did you know?”
      “Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is, I’m still lost.  Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip.”
      The woman below responded, “You must be in management.”
      “I am,” replied the balloonist, “but how did you know?”
      “Well,” said the woman, “you don’t know where you are or where you’re going.  You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems.  The fact is, you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, you’ve managed to make it my fault.”
  3. Invest in a friendship
    1. Relationships are the ONLY route to happiness
    2. Philia
    3. C.S. Lewis: advice to young people
    4. Sirach 6:14-17 Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter:
         whoever finds one has found a treasure.
      15 Faithful friends are beyond price;
         no amount can balance their worth.
      16 Faithful friends are life-saving medicine;
         and those who fear the Lord will find them.
      17 Those who fear the Lord direct their friendship aright,
         for as they are, so are their neighbors also.
    5. Friendship requires risk.  Openness. Intimacy
  4. Keep on grinding
    1. You never fail until you stop trying – Albert Einstein
    2. Offer up your efforts to the Lord.  He will accept anything sincere
    3. The darkest hour is just before dawn – source unknown
    4. To give up is of the devil.
    5. Philippians 4:8 Finally, beloved,[a] whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about[b] these things.

 

  1. Connect to God
  2. Challenge our coping mechanisms
  3. Fight for an obtainable goal
  4. Invest in a friendship
  5. Keep on grinding

 

J.R.R. Tolkien in “Lord of the Rings”

It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.

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