The state of the world and the times we’re living in are robbing us of energy, of life, and of God. But you don’t have to let that happen.
You must be tired. I don’t mean sleepy, but tired. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually worn out.
There’s war in Ukraine. Russia has resurrected its Soviet spirit of conquest, domination. The economy is slumping, everything is more expensive and you’re wondering if you’ll be able to make ends meet. A thousand voices are competing for your attention in the news, on social media, and the TV screen. You pay attention to all of the voices because with everything going on, you feel you need to. There’s corruption everywhere and government can’t be trusted. And then there’s COVID-19, vaccinations, mandates, restrictions, and endless fear-mongering.
My friends, this is your life. Are you tired now? Me too! So how do we get from there to the peace that Jesus wants for us?
I recognized several years ago that the secular world was just going crazy, and it was dragging me down, and wiping me out. There was too much “noise” out there, and I was letting it all in. The noise came in the form of news and culture.
No News is Good News
The news is a fear-mongering, money making machine. It’s designed to keep you scared and anxious, because scared and anxious people will keep going back for more information, thinking that more information will help them feel more secure. It doesn’t. I found that the news (TV, Web, etc) brought a lot of the noise of the secular world into my personal world. Rather than empowering me with knowledge, it was merely bombarding me with useless information and updates that kept me angry or anxious.
Exposure to the modern secular culture—TV shows and movies—with their virtue signaling, socio-political agendas in their plot points and characters, and their representations and celebration of a severely ill and corrupt human order all had me angry, depressed, and endlessly frustrated. It was impacting my faith, my prayer life, my trust in God, and the virtue of hope. In that condition, I was not the “me” that I wanted to be, and I was sure I wasn’t the “me” that God created me to be.
So I turned it all off!
I went on a total news blackout, trusting that the news that really mattered most would make its way to me by word-of-mouth (and it always did). I also pulled away from most modern TV shows, and my TV viewing consisted mostly of 70s and 80s TV shows on-demand (“Norm!”). I insulated myself from the rot, and found it to be a much-needed and fruitful rest. It wasn’t just rest for my mind but also rest for my soul, and it was spiritually beneficial.
“I have found my mind, spirit, and soul darkening and becoming more agitated again”
Over the past couple of months, I returned to consuming news because I wanted to stay on top of the developments of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As a result, I have found my mind, spirit, and soul darkening and becoming more agitated again. And again, it has negatively affected my prayer life and overall spirituality and it has hampered my efforts to live my life well—for God’s sake, for my own sake, and for my family’s sake. So as of today, I am renewing my commitment to turning off the noise and leaving the world to God’s providence and mercy. You should, too. Here are some tips to help get you started.
Let go, and Let God
The world is a mess. I get that. So do you. Now that we’ve established that let’s stop obsessing over it and leave it to God to sort out. It’s what he does best. Spend more time in prayer or reading the scriptures. If the rot of the world has you upset, bring it to prayer and ask God to sort it out speedily. Pray a rosary for the world. And then leave the world alone, and go live the life that God has given you. It’s a beautiful one. Read a good book. Go for a jog. Spend more time with your family. Dance with your wife/husband. Play board games with your kids. Have a family movie night every week. Tell bedtime bible stories to your kids and have a casual, practical conversation about what you just read. My kids love it. Take a walk with your spouse. Call a friend. Reach out to someone you haven’t seen in a while. Then spend a little more time in prayer before bed and just talk to God. End every day by thanking God for specific good things that happened in your day, or the good things in your life.
“Jesus wants you to be at peace. Give him what he wants.”
The world has been in really bad shape before. Ever heard of that “Noa and the flood” thing? Jonah and Nineveh? Sodom and Gomorrah? The persecution of the early Church? Medieval Europe? God always sorts it out. And the world is in such particularly terrible shape right now—morally and in every other way—that only God can sort it out. Do what you can do, local to your own life. Edify your neighbor, practice charity, and evangelize wherever possible, even in the smallest of ways. Sanctify the world that’s local to you and your life. Leave the rest to God. Don’t you trust him? Don’t you believe that he’ll sort it out? Do you? Then leave it be. Be at peace, ignore the rot, and live a good and holy life every day. That’s enough for God. It really, really is. Let it be enough for you.
“Why are you cast down, my soul? Why groan within me? Trust in God, I will praise him still; my savior and my god”Psalm 42:12
Be at peace. Jesus wants you to be at peace. Give him what he wants. God (and I) love you, brothers and sisters.
Ave Maria, Virgo Fidelis!