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July 10, 2020
Capuchin Retreat
Graffiti art of an angry man

By Fr. Tom Zelinski, OFM Cap.

It seems the emotional state of the country is becoming more tense. People are feeling the strain of weeks of quarantine, sheltering in place, loneliness, lack of human contact. We hear of incidents of shouting, pushing, more violent behavior, people standing on their “right” of not being told what to do.

We need more exercise of what some call “emotional intelligence.” Can I recognize the feeling roiling inside me before it pops out in an angry outburst? Am I too willing to point fingers and blame someone else for my troubles? Am I, in the words of the Gospel, unwilling to see the log in my own eye?

I don’t have any answers or solutions to our state of uneasiness. But we are always invited to turn to prayer, but prayer that is not mere saying lots of words or asking for things. We are invited to enter into quiet, look honestly within and see ourselves in the presence of God, admitting that we are “poor in spirit.” As Jesus told us, we are to be like children as we live in the Kingdom of God. We need quiet moments, perhaps combined with a walk in the neighborhood or in nature.

Our egos may want to control everything, to always be “right,” to fix what is wrong. We could take more advice from our friends in Alcoholics Anonymous: admit our weakness and hand our lives over to God, “however we understand God.”

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