Retreat presenter, Fr. Michael Schleupner, offers today’s post and he continues his series on ‘Spiritual Wellness’. Let’s take a few quiet moments to read his thoughts about the importance of how we care for others and that relationship with our own spiritual wellness.
Spiritual Wellness – 6
Look Beyond Yourself
We can say that we are to look beyond ourselves because that is what God has told us to do. We can say that we are to be persons of compassion and love because that is what God has called us to be. Jesus tells us, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), and then, “When you did it [good things] to one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it for me” (Matthew 25:40). We could say that this is sufficient reason and basis for looking beyond ourselves. Nevertheless, I see another basis.
Saint John tells us simply and clearly, “God is love” (I John 4:8). And “This is love: not that we have loved God, but that God loved us” (I John 4:10). Let’s connect these words with the fundamental revelation in Genesis: “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us” (Genesis 1:26). The insight is clear. If we are made in the image and likeness of God, and if God is love, then we must work at becoming persons of love. Maybe it is more like allowing ourselves to be who and what God made us to be. This is what will bring us fulfillment and fullness. And this is why our looking beyond ourselves is essential to spiritual wellness.
Recently I heard it said that we have areas of influence and areas of concern. It seems to me that this is a helpful way for looking beyond ourselves.
Areas of influence are those parts of our lives or those persons with whom we have direct contact. This includes family, friends, and all loved ones. It also includes those in our neighborhood or community and fellow employees. With these people, we can have influence. We can do positive things for their well-being.
Areas of concern are those parts of our world or those persons with whom we have no direct contact. So, we stay informed about the situation of these peoples and we pray for them: for those in our own country who live in poverty, for refugees and migrants in Central America, for those suffering from drought or famine in parts of Africa, for the Ukrainians as they are attacked by the Russians.
Being alert to areas of influence and areas of concern will help us to look beyond ourselves. This is needed for spiritual wellness.
~Father Michael Schleupner
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