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Tony Rossi

Radio Host/Producer

Choose a New Perspective for the New Year
December 27, 2015

Cynicism and pessimism often seem to rule our attitudes because we think they’re more “real” than hope and optimism. While it’s true that there are plenty of bad things happening in the world, always focusing on the negative can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. There’s a danger that in constantly cursing the darkness, we’ll actually create more of it. That’s why the perspective with which we approach life is important.

Catholic singer-songwriter Sarah Hart recently addressed this topic on her Facebook page because she had been reading so many blogs in which the writer was focused on what he or she sees as “wrong” with everybody else: “What’s wrong with the people who love the pope. What’s wrong with the people who don’t love the pope. What’s wrong with dog lovers, cat lovers, democrats and republicans and everyone else.”

Hart then asked, “When did it become so trendy to divide? I believe that, in matters of faith, there is one way in which evil can always snake its way in, and that is through division. There’s nothing better than a house divided against itself to make the devil smile his great grinchy grin.”

Hart acknowledged that she herself was now writing a “what’s wrong with...” post, but she hoped it would change people’s perspectives for the better: “In fairness, in kindness, before you sit down to read that ‘what’s wrong with’ blog and then repost it; or perhaps even sit down to write such a blog yourself, remember that you are not just sending a note out into space. You are addressing people. Humans. Your brothers and sisters, with very real feelings and very real lives...We are meant not to tear down, but to build.”

A more positive perspective when we’re faced with challenges in our personal lives is important as well. Consider the experiences of Father Bob Colaresi, O. Carm., Director of the Society of the Little Flower, which honors the life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

In the Society’s newsletter “Between Friends,” he explained that 2014 was filled with “losses, deaths, disappointments, and surprising challenges” that left him doubting God. Then, he suffered a fall that left him with severe back pain and numbness in his legs, requiring painful physical therapy. “And following my typical Sicilian pattern of punishing with silence,” he said, “I stopped praying and communicating with God and Thérèse.”

Father Bob’s condition had improved by Christmas Eve Mass. When he was holding a baby boy as part of his homily, something deep within his spirit awakened. He said, “I stopped bombarding God and Thérèse with my complaints and expecting them to listen; instead I started to listen to the whisper in my soul. It is amazing when we accept that God is with us and we are not alone…There were so many other ways new life was blossoming and happening that I was not being attentive to because I was listening to echoes of death, disappointment, and darkness. Instead of looking at life through dark sunglasses that blocked the sunshine, our souls need the rose-tinted glasses of grace to see what truly is, as God sees.”

So there you have it: two perspectives on perspective. They both lead me to suggest making the Christopher motto, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness,” your New Year’s resolution. Write it down and put it somewhere you can see it, somewhere it will remind you that darkness can be overcome with light.  

 

For a free copy of the Christopher News Note, STAYING POSITIVE AROUND NEGATIVE PEOPLE, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: mail@christophers.org