Praise the Lord all you angels, praise him all you men
Too often they are those who never suffered rather than those who bear suffering.
Yet cheerfulness in the face of suffering is part of Philippino society.
Today on EWTN (actually Saturday's sermon) was about giving God your faults and sins.
I am more a social gospel Christian, and influenced by the enlightenment.
In some ways this is not bad: The idea of the communion of saints is that none of us can be everything, so we need both the Marthas and the Marys...yet how often do we remind Martha of this?
The good part of the social gospel is that it stresses that we use our talents for the good of the poor.
Been there, done that.
But without love, it deteriorates into buying love for ourselves, and an egotistical use of the poor for our own self esteem.
And the "flip" side is that if we are unable to "help" others, we get depressed, since all our ego is involved in work...the sin of the workaholic.
All good things can be twisted into evil, but luckily God loves us as immature children and saves us all at the end, faults and all, because we are trying our best.
But what of those of use who no longer can work, or chose to give up work for sake of family?
This is also the "flip" side of the social gospel: That there is a real danger we will forget and neglect family for the "work".
The first lecture we were given when we started medical school was a lecture that medicine was fascinating and rewarding, but that it was NOT life, and it should not be an escape from life.
The idea is balance.
Often as a doctor, I would see worn out women, trying to juggle family and job and often volunteer things. We live in a society where women are supposed to be imitation men at work, yet be their mothers as full time housewives.
The result is they can carry it so far, but then crash. Often it is when their energy level goes down in their 30's, or with menopause, or with an illness or something unexpected.
As a doc, I could treat the medical problem, but a lot of my time was spent giving them permission not to be "superwomen"...I told them a phrase: The "tyranny of the shoulds"...
All the things they "should" do was destroying their lives, and the answer was to stop.
Often I would instruct them to budget time by using the advice of a Time organizer class I attended.
Every morning, they should get up and spend a half hour reading or relaxing or writing or whatever they liked to do to relax. THEN they needed to list everything they needed to do...and then go down the list and decide what really needed to do.
If they read, I would recommend them to read the bible, cautioning them to read the "Good parts" not the negative things. But almost any great book and a lot of cruddy books similarly allow us to relax our thinking to lift us up beyond our daily grind.
Without this escape from the tyranny of the should they cannot see clearly what actually is important in life.
This is why praise is so important, because praise comes from the idea that there is a wonderful God who is above us and with us, and who cares for us: Isn't that wonderful? And like saying "I love you, you great big hunk of man" to one's husband, you praise God and it reinforces the idea that the universe and even our little corner of it is a mirror of this love, and that even the lousy stuff will end up okay at the end.
Isn't that wonderful?