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May 01, 2022 200 Emily Shaw, Australia
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The Key to Change the World

Re-discover an age-old method to solve your problems today!

Political and social activism has become a frequent occurrence. Emboldened by their ideas to make much needed changes people jostle and campaign for what they consider to be essential for the betterment of the world as a whole.

Social media memes urge us on: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

But how do we discern what changes in which to invest our time and money? What causes to support? There are many charitable organisations out there who could use our donations of time, talent or money.

Let’s be honest, there are lots of things we’d like to see change in our present circumstances, in our communities and churches and in our countries.

I mean, I have a hard enough time convincing my children that shoes and jumpers are necessary items when the weather is cold how could I possibly change the mind of influential world leaders?

The stark reality is that I can’t. But that does not make me powerless or impotent.

Swap ‘Be’ more

Instead of being the change that I want to see in the world I need to be praying the change that I want to see. But wait, I hear you say, isn’t prayer rather passive? Shouldn’t we be doing something well…active?

There is nothing passive about prayer. It is many things—contemplative, structured, unstructured, routine, meditative—but certainly not passive. Certainly, there are active ministries within our communities. But without the contemplation to fuel our action, our actions fall short and vice versa.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul explains what happens to our active ministries when we do not have the spiritual underpinning:

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13: 1-3)

Instead of spreading disunity by opening disagreeing, lacking due charity, with the current- Pope, bishop or priest whose take on the faith has drawn my ire—I need to pray for them. The same can be said for anyone in leadership that we disagree with, our circumstances outside of our control that have wreaked havoc in our lives. I cannot control what other people think, say or do, but I can control my response. And prayer, as simple as it may sound, is always a good option.

Re-discover

If you are a consummate tech savant then you know your way around an online search engine. And I can almost guarantee that whatever you’re dealing with or suffering through – there’s a prayer and/or patron saint for that.

In all honesty, there are a treasure trove of prayers out there. Sometimes just reading through the compilations of adoration, supplication and petition is a comforting one. It is easy to feel alone in our struggle and forget that others have had similar experiences to ours.

Suffering with depression and anxiety in these unpredictable times then Saint Dymphna is your go-to girl. Want to see global equality between people of all races and creeds? Look no further than Saints like Josephine Bakhita. Worried about social activism, or the plight of refugees and our environment? Petition the likes of Dorothy Day, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini or Saint Francis of Assisi.

Pause before you act

When all is said and done, we could argue that there are troubles aplenty in the here and now. Some are big and within our immediate power to change. Others are on a global scale and our efforts would be like a drop in the ocean.

Pausing to spend time in prayer and discernment before deciding on any course of action is a prudent one. Perhaps your heart really goes out to the local food van which caters to the homeless and you’d love to volunteer but actually you are a stay at home mum of twin toddlers and time is a commodity that you don’t have right now.

Pray, discern and reassess when constraints on your time permit. Maybe you will be involved at some stage in the future, trust in the guidance that God gives you in prayer.

Take your cares, dreams and desires to Jesus in prayer. Michael Jackson may have encouraged: “If you want to make the world a better place then take a look at yourself and make that change”. But truthfully, it’s simpler than that.

If you want to make the world a better place: pray. And the rest will come from there.

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Emily Shaw

Emily Shaw is a former Australasian Catholic Press Association award-winning editor turned blogger for australiancatholicmums.com and is a contributor to Catholic-Link. A wife and mother of seven, she resides on a farm in rural Australia and enjoys the spiritual support of her local catholic community.

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