9 December, Wednesday — Reducing our anxiety in life

Dec 9 – Memorial for St. Juan Diego, hermit, layman

John (1474-1548) was born an impoverished free man in a strongly class-conscious society. He was a farm worker, a field labourer, and a mat maker. He became a married layman with no children. Even as a pagan, he was a mystical and religious man, and became an adult convert to Christianity at around age 50, taking the name Juan Diego. He was widowed in 1529.

He was a visionary to whom the Virgin Mary appeared at Guadalupe on 9 December 1531, leaving him the image known as Our Lady of Guadalupe. On 20 December 2001, a second miracle attributed to Juan Diego’s intervention was decreed by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and was approved by Pope John Paul II. He was canonized on 31 July 2002.

  • Patron Saint Index

Isa 40:25-31
Mt 11:28-30

He gives strength to the wearied, he strengthens the powerless.

The year 2020 has been a surprising one for everybody. There has been a great amount of anxiety and uncertainty which many people have faced in their lives. A colleague once remarked to me that she felt a lack of control in her life — almost as if she was unable to control her destiny in life. That remark took me by surprise, because she always looked like she was in control of any situation and never had to worry about issues at work or at home. The readings of today made me recall this incident because it illustrates perfectly the point which the readings are trying to make — that God is in control of everything in our lives.

There seems to be a desire amongst people to want to be the master of their own destiny. I am one of those people. There is an innate desire to be in control of how my schedule runs in school, how I wish to arrange the area in which I work, and also in how I would like others to behave. It took a microscopic virus to stop me in my tracks and realise that downtime is just as needed in my life. Indeed, it is necessary for each one of us to discover that rest is just as important as work. I believe it is due to us having to put a sincere and deep trust in God that He will take care of our lives and that he will want the best for each one of us.

In order to do that, it requires each one of us to set aside time for prayer and work. I would suggest that we tithe our waking hours to God. This could take place in the form of praying the Rosary, reading the Bible or even quietly contemplating on how wonderful life has been for each one of us. By allowing us to break away from the distractions in life and focus on Jesus, we re-orientate our lives to God. In today’s memorial, it is shared that St Juan Diego was afraid to take the same route which our Blessed Mother asked him to take because he was afraid it would take time away from his duty to seek medical care for his uncle. Our Blessed Mother assured him that his uncle would be healed and instead, asked him to carry out her request to inform the local bishop to build a church within the vicinity, a request which he agreed to.

The season of Advent provides us with an opportunity to ask our Blessed Mother to show us what is needed to stay faithful as Christians. We can follow her example by staying faithful in prayer and being charitable towards the people around us, so that they can discover that having God in the centre of our lives reduces our anxiety and brings about much joy and love.

(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for the courage to admit to our shortcomings and surrender our life to you.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the people who show us what it means to remain faithful to Christ.

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