Communication – Peace Begins With You

In his book on Anger, Thich Nhat Hanh is teaching me to overcome hurt and disappointment with compassion and forgiveness. In the Gospels, Jesus is moved with compassion and forgiveness. As a chaplain and consultant, I believe these teachings have a place in the workplace. These virtues are sometimes most needed in your area of work.


“Everything is possible when the door of communication is open. So we must invest ourselves in the practice of opening up and restoring communication. You have to express your willingness, your desire to make peace with the other person. Ask him to support you. Tell him, “Communication between us is the most important thing to me. Our relationship is the most precious thing, nothing is more important.” Make it clear and ask for support.

You have to start negotiating a strategy. No matter how much the other person can do, you have to do all that you are capable of doing yourself. You must give one hundred percent of yourself. Whatever you can do for yourself, you do for him, or for her. Don’t wait. Don’t put forth conditions, saying, “If you don’t make an effort to reconcile, then I won’t either.” This will not work. Peace, reconciliation, and happiness begin with you. It is wrong to think that if the other person does not change or improve, then nothing can be improved. There are always ways to create more joy, peace, and harmony, and you have access to them. The way you walk, the way you breathe, the way you smile, the way you react, all of this is very important. You must begin with this.”

Except from Anger, by Thich Nhat Hanh

The moment we blame or shame another person is the moment we have lost our peace and ability to communicate with the other. “But what about my anger, the fire burning in my belly?!” You must nurture it with empathy because if you don’t, it will spoil your insides. It will rob you of the person you truly long to be.

I don’t ever want to dehumanize the workplace. It is filled with humans who have hearts and souls, who are working for a greater purpose than simply a paycheck. We are working towards relational awareness as well, becoming humans who love and serve our neighbors.

Homily – God’s Unfailing Love towards the “idiot”

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Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Liturgical Readings for the day:  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022318.cfm

Three readings tying three themes of sin, forgiveness, and God’s unfailing love.

In Ezekiel 18, the writer begins with listing a set of behaviors that are considered sinful, worthy of death because the act themselves cause pain and sorrow for others.

In Matthew 5, Jesus has started listing his “10 commandments” and continues the prophet’s line of thought and spelling out what is considered harmful and wrong.  The commandment, “You shall not murder” is reinterpreted in Jesus as “You shall not WANT to murder.”

In Ezekiel 18:31, the Lord offers a remedy:  a new heart AND mind.

In the Gospels, we see Jesus focusing on the motive of the heart.

Thoughts, heart, and behavior are all connected.  And somehow God’s faithful presence, as well as the faithful, loving presence of others in our lives, have something to do with how we live among one another.

The themes of sin, forgiveness, and God’s unfailing love are very present in our lives each day.  During the Lenten season, I am confronted with my own heart/mind/motives, attentive to all the interior rooms, where there is light AND darkness.  God’s unfailing love gives me the courage and ability to reflect inwardly and confess the darkness and need for change.

I am also aware of my need for a spiritual community to help me live as unto the Lord and his unfailing love in our lives.  Our culture tends to live isolated from one another, leaving us influenced by our own thoughts and whatever we’re exposed to (i.e. video games, netflix, youtube, tv, etc).  Not all of it is “bad”.  I enjoy a good “netflix and chill” with my bae.  But I’m also aware of how easily I’m influenced.  I’m aware how I can be tempted to pick a side on an online debate that mostly gets me in trouble.  I’m aware of the constant barrage of sexual fantasizing that media sources convey.  I’m aware of violent images that I’m exposed to, making me feel like others are “stupid, idiotic fools” (for context, read Matthew 5:22.  The word “raca” is stupid/idiot/fool).

Ezekiel reminds us that it’s not God’s doing that we’re in broken situations.  It’s our unjust ways.  The remedy is always a return to a God who is unfailing in love, ready to give new hearts and minds in full redemption.

Lord, we confess the anger in our hearts towards others.  We ask that you heal our broken hearts that we might be reconciled to you and one another.  Amen.

 

Ronald Rolheiser on Gratitude

Gratitude is the opposite of anger and we have too little gratitude in our lives. We are generally more angry than grateful. Moreover, to the extent that we even admit that we are angry, we tend to rationalize this by either dogma or cause…
Ronald Rolheiser