Acceptance #1 – A Spiritual Reflection
I am sure that many of you are familiar with the “Serenity Prayer” attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr American theologian, commentator and professor at Union Theological Seminary:
God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things that I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that You will make all things right, if I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.
A priest friend of mine, Father Bill Kaufman (Pastor of St. Pius X in Broomall) gave me a small booklet named “Acceptance” which offers a reflection on the “Serenity Prayer.” (Click here to get a copy. Additional information is provided below). There are a lot of good insights in “Acceptance” that I’d like to share with you interspersed with my own thoughts.
Chapter 1 – Facing life.
Everyone hits “the wall.” Everyone! No exceptions. From the biggest, wealthiest movie star to Mother Theresa…sooner or later everyone arrives at a point where life seems to have become too big to cope with. When this happens we have to get life back and focus on where we have lost our perspective. It can be regained.
Monsignor James C. Vlaun at TelecareTV.org has a great reflection on the readings for October 8, 2015. His thoughts can be found on the video reflections page of the U.S. Bishops site (click on “Daily Reflections, Video/2015-10-08 Reflection, 1-464). In his reflection, Monsignor Vlaun talks about Jesus telling us “To ask, to seek and to knock.” Sometimes in life, we have to ask Jesus to help us to “seek what was lost” in our life – peace, serenity, contentment, a sense of purpose.
The first step is to mentally gain a sense of perspective. Think about it, right now the world is limited to your house, your job, your town. Even if you fly to Germany or Italy or Ireland, India or Paris or Hong Kong, your “world” is then no bigger than the interior of the airplane and the nearest airport. Don’t focus on the awful, menacing future, the unending nightmare of shadowy days and years! You live only one minute at a time; that’s this minute. You can think of only one thing at a time, do only one thing at a time; you actually live only one breath at a time. Stop living in a tomorrow that may never come – start living one day at a time – today. Yes, plan for tomorrow – but live only till bed time.
Next week we will examine what you do with those crazy people, “whirling around” in your life like dervishes who can seem to cause you to lose your peace, serenity and contentment.
Reflections taken from Acceptance, The Way to Serenity and Peace of Mind by Vincent P. Collins (St. Meinrad Archabbey, Indiana. Abbey Press, St. Meinrad IN. 47577)