In the Second reading at Mass tomorrow, the 4th Sunday in Ordinary time, St Paul offers counsel to the Church at Corinth.
I would like to see you free from all worry. An unmarried man can devote himself to the Lord’s affairs, all he need worry about is pleasing the Lord; but a married man has to bother about the world’s affairs and devote himself to pleasing his wife: he is torn two ways. In the same way an unmarried woman, like a young girl, can devote herself to the Lord’s affairs; all she need worry about is being holy in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has to worry about the world’s affairs and devote herself to pleasing her husband. I say this only to help you, not to put a halter round your necks, but simply to make sure that everything is as it should be, and that you give your undivided attention to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Maybe the most unhelpful thing you can say to someone worried, and fretted by worry, is to say ‘Don’t worry’!
What they need is, instead, a reason that worry is not helpful, and a strategy to give them another activity which can displace the worrying.
In 1 Corinthians Paul says don’t worry because the Lord is good and you are safe with him, and so you can safely give yourself over to love and service of him (which of course includes love and service of neighbour).
QED? Yes and no. Yes, for it is self-evidently true from the sound perspective of faith. No, because we struggle to live faithfully, and often enough need to try to learn daily some of its most fundamental truths – such as the love and faithfulness of God, and that we find ourselves most fully when we live lives inspired by and directed to the love and glory of God.
Paul, a great struggler, is our generous companion as we continue to try.
- What worries you?
- What do you think God has to say about the matter concerned, and your worry about it
- Let your thoughts be the start of a time of reflection and bring the fruits of that to God in prayer.
Image (c) 2014, Allen Morris.