With a Positive Attitude
On his way to school Mike’s arm bumped against a seat on the bus and caused a bleeding scrape that soiled his clothes. Shortly after that, he realized that he had forgotten to put his homework in his book bag which resulted in trouble for him in class. At recess he was hit by a ball and he lost two teeth. After school he slipped on a patch of ice and broke his wrist. On the way to the hospital he reached into his pocket with his good hand and pulled something out. His father asked him what it was. He said, “It’s a quarter – 25 cents! I found it on the ground when I fell down. It’s the first quarter I ever found. This is the best day of my life!”
One of the single most important decisions we can make on a day-to-day basis is a choice of attitude. Attitude is the “single string” that keeps us going on a good, happy path or an unhappy one. This opening story reminds us of a quotation spoken by George Washington which reads: “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” In other words, we can determine how we will live our lives. Clare booth Luce is quoted as saying: “There is no hopeless situation; there are only those who have grown hopeless about them.” Attitude is the key. So, at this special time of the church year let us ask ourselves: What has been our attitude in preparing and changing our hearts this Lenten season?
Whether we are having a “successful” Lent – a spiritually satisfying one or not – depends on the attitude we bring to it. The Scriptures often remind us that we must “stay awake” and we must look at the possibilities of recasting ourselves into a more prayerfully positive Christian. For after all, Lent is the season of hope – and we are asked to live it with a hope-filled response in our preparation for the great feast of the Resurrection. Father James Gilhooley suggests that in staying awake “We would do well to make our prayer of the Jesuit post, Gerard Manly Hopkins: ‘O Lord of Life, send my roots rain!’” As we enjoy spring and welcome the Easter season of our church year we might quite literally consider how we can allow God’s “rain” of hope to penetrate our lives once again.
Lent was for Christians through the centuries an opportunity to remake themselves anew. Fortunately we have the opportunity to do the same. “Live,” said the prophet, “as if Jesus died yesterday, rose this morning and is coming back at any moment.” A wise person has offered us a simple but positive prayer: “Help us this day, Lord, to serve you devoutly and the world busily. May we do our work wisely, give help secretly, go to our meals with appetite and dine moderately. May we please our friends duly, go to bed merrily and sleep soundly. All of this for the joy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”
As Christians we are called to be a hope-filled people. Our hope is that Jesus Christ will come once again within our hearts. Our hope is that we will all experience peace. Our hope is that we can build our lives around the joy that befits a follower of the Lord. As believing Christians we profess that Jesus has begun the wonderful victory of love over hate. We believe that the world is being transformed into the eternal kingdom of God.
Because we believe, because we have hope, our view of life should be only positive. Sadly, however, it can be easy to be negative people – to allow negativity to dominate our whole world view. St. Paul writes on this topic with clear vision and emphasis, telling us that we should have nothing to do with the darkness that envelops our modern society. Be positive! On one hand this seems like an easy thing to do; most of us want and strive to be happy and we want others to be happy as well. Yet, happiness is often the result of misdirected motives. First, we believe something good has to happen to us and then we’ll be happy. Rather, it is this: Be happy and we’ll be surprised at the many good things that will happen. There’s a blessed reality that we have happiness within our reach. Yet we often keep resisting. With a positive attitude and hope in our hearts there are no barriers too high, no valleys too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great. So, as we journey and dream together let us on this very day and every day pray, “May we go to the house of the Lord rejoicing!”
Sister Lauretta Leipzig