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How to live a stress-free life

Jesus and the storm
Jesus and the storm
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He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be
still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he
asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have
faith?” ‐ Mark 4:40

Christians are not exempted from tragedies, crosses, trials and
temptations. That is not what Jesus promised to us who have
embraced Him. But He promised that His yoke would be easy
and His burden light (Mt 11:30). He knows that living in this
world can be frustrating for His followers. He knows! He has
first‐hand experience of such frustrations (Luke 9:41, Mark
9:19, Mt 17:17). What He is asking of us is to deny ourselves,
embrace His cross and follow Him (Mt 16:24). And what
exactly does this mean? It is the nature of the world to have
perils and problems. Those who try to avoid it will only be
frustrated. Jesus is teaching us how to deal with the challenges
of the world. He is showing us the way to a meaningful and
significant life. "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it,
but whoever loses their life for me will find it" (Mt 16:25).

In order to keep the inner peace and tranquility in us as to
shield us from the storm and noise around us, God wants us to
remain in His presence all the time. This inner attachment to
God within us and detachment from the things and people
around us will help us deal with exterior things. Our interior
life will be our firm foundation that will keep our house from
collapsing when storm comes. To build that interior house, we
have to make a habit of living in His presence everyday as we
go about our daily tasks.

This practice of the presence of God was Brother Lawrence's
gift. "It was observed that in the greatest hurry of business in
the kitchen, he still preserved his recollection and heavenlymindedness.
He was never hasty nor loitering, but did each
thing in its season, with an even, uninterrupted composure
and tranquility of spirit. 'The time of business,' said he, 'does
not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise
and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the
same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great
tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed
sacrament' " (Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence
of God)

It is apparent that this disposition does not remain with him all
the time. For he would explain that when he is at work, as he
continues his conversation with God and offers Him his
actions, he would examine himself after his work, on how well
he lived in God's presence while at work; if he found that he
did well, he would thank God, if not, he would ask for
forgiveness without being discouraged and would try again as
though he has not strayed from his exercise. Thus with this
constant practice and exercise, it became a habit and part of
his life; and a habit that is most difficult to make is a habit that
is most difficult to break.

May we, who live in a fast‐paced world of noise and
technology, with constant demand for efficiency and
productivity find benefit in such a practice. Just as Jesus
greeted His disciples with "Peace be with you" in their
moments of turmoil, doubt and anxiety, He greets us with the
same "Peace be with you" in our moments of emotional
upheavals, domestic riot and corporate chaos. He remains to
be our anchor and our shield from all the external storm
around us. Like the disciples, let us constantly wake Him when
we get overwhelmed by the storm; but better still, let us
remain at His feet, gazing at Him like Mary who chose to do
the better thing and not be overwhelmed by responsibilities
and tasks like Martha. Let us not forget that God created us to
worship and love Him. All these exterior things He has
provided for us are only means for this end. We must not allow these
exterior things to overpower us and keep us away from this
end for which we were created. Peace be with you!

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