with all things considered

Optimism is often in short supply these days; it is just so much easier to be pessimistic, to see our world and all its wonders in shades of dull depressing grayness rather than bright vivid colors. It is a simple thing to find fault in almost anything or anyone, for nothing and no one is perfect and yet we find it so difficult, often impossible to see all the goodness that surrounds us in abundant measure. It is as if we relish any opportunity to sit alone in the darkness, wallowing in self-pity and despair: the light is too bright, it hurts the eyes; laughter and joy irritate and distract; there can be no hope for all is lost; nothing good will come of whatever.

Snake Oil

Snake Oil

That is not to say that there is any dearth of legitimate and serious issues confronting us, for there are more than enough of those to fill our every waking thought; they would certainly overwhelm if we were to let them. Even those issues which many might consider trivial or mundane still weigh heavy on the shoulders of those so burdened.

No one is immune from meeting with adversity or difficult challenges, certainly not in this life, no one. No matter how dire or dreadfully dark the situation may appear, no matter how much one might feel alone, unwanted or unloved, there is always, always, always the One Eternal Optimist who longs to hold you, wipe the tears from your eyes, mend your broken heart, ease your pain, and fill your soul with love. God is always waiting for you to call; he wants you to call out to him, to seek his guidance, to ask to ease your burdens, to help carry whatever cross you have been asked to bear. But God only comes to those who truly wish to have him in their life; God never intrudes where he is not invited.

God gifted each of us with free will, the gift to freely choose or decide what we may or may not do. He will never interfere, even when he knows we are making a mistake or acting discordant to his desire for us to do what is good and to avoid what is bad. What we too often forget or simply choose to ignore is that along with free will God also gifted us with a strong moral code, as innate to us as free will. No matter how much we try to soothe our consciences and convince ourselves of the rightness of some action we are want to take, we can never completely squelch that tiny voice that is telling us otherwise.

There are many voices, both today and from our historical past, which would convince you that there is no God, no eternal life beyond this brief mortal one. Those same voices keep trying to convince that the burden to decide what is good or bad, right or wrong, moral or immoral is entirely up to each of us to determine, that morality is personal and private. They would tell us that there is no such thing as a God-gifted, innate, and natural moral code because there is not God.

Far too many of us have taken a bite out of that apple and we are paying a heavy price for having done so. What is being sold is pure snake oil, bound to cure nothing what ails us while killing whatever optimism, hope, joy, and love we might so briefly enjoy.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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