I read something yesterday that really blessed my heart. “Blessed my heart.” Do I sound like an old woman when I say that? Oh, well. I have an old soul.
It was an article written by Fr. James Martin — a popular Jesuit priest who also happened to write one of my favorite books, My Life with the Saints. He’s also the “resident priest” on the Colbert Report, in case you think he looks familiar.
The title of his article was “12 Things I Wish I Knew at 25: Spiritual Learnings on My 50th Birthday.” It’s one of those reflective pieces full of mostly common sense that you’ve mostly heard before, but nonetheless, sometimes it’s good to have a reminder.
Actually, it’s always good to have a reminder. For whatever reason, you can hear something 100 times and it means nothing. And then one day, said the right way, it changes your life. Funny how that works.
You can read his full list here, but here are some of my favorites:
1. First up: Stop worrying so much! It’s useless. (I.e. Jesus was right.)
2. Being a saint means being yourself. Stop trying to be someone else and just be your best self. Saves you heartache.
6. Within you is the idea of your best self. Act as if you were that person and you will become that person, with God’s grace.
8. You can’t force people to approve of you, agree with you, be impressed with you, love you or even like you. Stop trying.
They say that experience is the best teacher, but I’m happy to [try] to learn some things from the wise people who have gone before me. After all, it’s quite exhausting trying to do everything yourself. Even Fr. Martin prefaces his list with the statement: “Some are bits of advice that wisdom figures have told me and took years to sink in. Others are the result of some hard knocks. A few are insights from the great spiritual masters that I’ve adapted for my own life.”
It’s a blessing to learn from others — and a gift to pass on what we have learned to the generations to come.
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” — Confucius