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I guess you may have noticed too that things are far from going back to “normal” any time soon. This year so far has been intensely stressful and has led many to feel anxious, depressed, and even suicidal.

The emotional and spiritual toll of this has been enormous. In some areas, churches have yet to reopen with anything more than 10 to 50 people allowed, while casinos are permitted to operate at much greater capacity, and mass protests and rioting are encouraged. LA Teachers Union Demands Defunding Of Police, Medicare-For-All And Ban On New Charter Schools As Conditions For Reopening Schools. Clearly, there is more to this than the fear of a virus or George Floyd’s death.

No matter where you stand politically, one thing is certain: We’re not getting all of the facts and our health, well-being being, and safety are being politicized on a breathtaking scale. For many, frustration with the Church is at an all time high as it seems the Bishops have been rather silent, with little pushback against what are many times arbitrary government edicts and all out attacks on religious freedom.

Thriving During Uncertain Times

So how can you find a way to not only cope, but thrive during these uncertain times? Here are a few suggestions.

Fix your focus

Your peace depends to a great degree on what you choose to focus upon. Now obviously certain things can’t escape your notice, but you don’t have to remain focused there. God is bigger than anything the devil can throw at us. But the devil will huff and puff and make a big show to convince you otherwise. God remains in control, just as He did on Good Friday. He may let the devil think he’s winning…but don’t you fall for that. He is not. Now is a clarion call to radical faith.

As I write this, we’re in the middle of Tropical Storm Isaias and the winds are blowing loud and hard. Power and internet are down and already some shingles have blown off the house while outdoor furniture is tossed about. Looking out across the street I’m watching a most curious couple strolling along the sand picking up rocks and sea glass, completed unperturbed by the fury around them. It’s totally incongruous. But God must have sent them by for a reason right now.

No matter how hard the storm, stay grounded, keep calm, and look for the treasures all around you. Do not focus on the storm.

Take action

When we sit back and just watch, we can feel very helpless which can lead to feelings of despair. Though not one of us can solve the problems out there on our own, we can all take a part. Many years ago, when I was involved in pro-life work, I found that when I was taking action, I was a lot less easily angered. I went to schools doing pro-life presentations, organized rallies, wrote letters, did talk shows, and worked with local pro-life groups. When I stepped back, I found myself becoming more frustrated and upset. So, do something. Share information. Fly the flag. Help friends and family register to vote. Take care of and console the many who are so frightened. Be a sign of hope.

Have a sense of humor

As strikingly insane as things have become, we have a choice to take it seriously or to laugh at some of the insanity. We truly can’t make this stuff up it’s so absurd. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to minimize the seriousness of the situation. It is serious and we need to be strong and steadfast and fight against this encroaching evil. But it helps to laugh a bit too.

If watching TV, look for uplifting or funny shows and movies. The news and the talking heads can bring you down so be sure to keep a good balance in what you watch and read. Don’t channel surf as it can take you places you don’t need to go. Be more deliberate in your choices.

Take Padre Pio’s advice: Pray

I can’t over emphasize the importance of prayer in the battle we’re facing today. Make no mistake about it—this is spiritual warfare and the devil is desperate so he’s pulling out all the stops. That simply means we’re close to victory or he’d stay subtle and behind the scenes. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have to battle with everything we’ve got.

Remember this, the evil we’re seeing exposed isn’t new…it’s just being brought into the light. And light overcomes darkness every time. It’s impossible to work any other way…unless we let our lights be extinguished. So, pick up your rosaries and fight, fight, fight.

Hope

Remain steadfast in hope. Hopelessness, or more accurately, despair is an emotion but it can also be an act of the will. The same is true for hope.

Our emotions arise spontaneously in response to events, but we don’t have to stay there. Make an act of the will to be hopeful. And pray for the virtue of hope. It’s one of those virtues that can be infused as gifts of the Holy Spirit, just like faith and charity.

Don’t worry

Ok, I admit, I used to be a big worrier. I come from a long line of worriers. It kind of defines us. I was once told that 95% of what we worry about never happens. Now my first reaction was “Wow, that’s pretty effective!” But of course, the reality is that worrying is actually useless. It eats up our energy, keeps us from appreciating the blessings we do have and doesn’t do anything to prevent misfortune. Thinking that worrying actually can stop anything is simply superstition.

Again, you need to make an act of the will not to worry. Keep turning things over to Jesus and trust. Your emotions will eventually catch up.

In the end it all comes down to our faith relationship with God. Are we going to trust Him despite what scares us? Are we going to stand up for all that’s good beautiful and true? Or are we going to yield to bitterness and division? Those are all choices that we need to make every day and every hour of the day.

Choose God. He has not and will never abandon us. Trust, trust, trust. The Triumph is coming.

Allison Ricciardi, LMHC
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