Sharing a 60-second snippet from my keynote talk at the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women conference in Harrisburg PA last Monday:
But HOW do we let God in to transform us when we’re feeling ticked with someone right now??
“The challenge of the Christian life is getting along with people. If we don’t have that, what else is there?” So said my friend Marlena today and she is right.
“Getting along” means practicing virtues like patience (giving up control — in a healthy way), justice (giving people the good things that are due them), and courage (standing up for what is right — in a loving way). Getting along usually means not imposing our preferences when we don’t need to (which, if we’re honest, is most of the time!).
Words and actions overflow from the heart. If we find ourselves not getting along with a family member or co-worker, we can look to our hearts for the source of the agitation. We can re-assess our list of loves — if we find our preferences at the top of the list, we can decide to knock it off the #1 spot.
How we interact with people who aren’t our favorites reveals our strengths and weaknesses. But that’s good news — awareness of what virtues we need to grow in is the first step to our next spiritual growth-spurt. Yay!
Fortunately, there is one habit that counteracts all our weaknesses: instant prayer. If someone starts to get to us, we can develop a habit of “blessing them,” as Marlena calls it. Blessing means silently asking God, on their behalf, for the same good things I want for myself, namely, peace. We will restore our peace if we pray for the peace of someone trying our patience right now.
Getting along is a continuing project for me. I could be described as one of the righteous brothers. I carried on conversations with people, especially bosses and “authorities” entirely inside my head, Condemning them in absentia so the next time I met any of them it was awkward to say the least.
Luke 6:37 has a better model: “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.Forgive and you will be forgiven.” On the one hand it sounds like self interest. But it’s really an exercise for breaking out of dogmatic thinking which excludes the possibilities of a larger more inclusive view and the opportunity to get along with people who have faults just like mine.
Thanks for your insight! Most people will relate to that.
Brilliant words with gaia metaphors…growing Christ consciousness.
Let’s hear it for growing toward Christ!
What great advice as you can never go wrong with prayer especially when praying for someone else that is trying our patience!
At some point in our lives family, friends, and co-workers are bound to get under our skin! We can never lose sight of the fact that when the see or interact with us that they are to see Christ shine through us!
We are to be the light of the world shining the light of Christ which is not always as easy as it sounds.
I know! It always seems easy in church when we’re hearing about it and imagining ourselves above pettiness. But when the fight-or-flight hormones get circulating, it’s hard to remember having been that loving person in the pew!
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Thanks for sharing a sample of your talk with me. I loved the quotation of the psalm mentioning the rain and the work of God in our souls. If you have a chance could you send me the continuation of your talk? I was enjoying it and when it stopped I was left wanting for more!
I send you my love and I am happy that all went well my dear friend!
I’d love to give the whole talk at your parish or women’s group, so just email me about it. Thanks for asking!