A Path to Health

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Dear POP Folks,
 
   Since health care is a hot topic these days, remember your own experience of going to the doctor?  You tell him what hurts, he identifies the cause, and then he offers you a therapeutic response (medication, surgery, change in life-style) to correct what ails you.
 
   In the arena of human behavior, if you identify something in yourself that is undesirable, unhealthy, even sinful, hopefully you are going to begin to seek a path to a place of health or inner peace. 
 
   Oftentimes, we forget the message of the medical model that reminds us that, (a) simply trying to get healthier is usually not the answer, and (b) the goal should always be a permanent healthy change and not simply a temporary Band-Aid.
 
   When you identify – or others point out to you – an unhealthy behavior, God will always be there with you offering guidance and healing.  For instance:  if you see yourself being unkind to others (this could be in traffic, making snide remarks to your family, acting in a demeaning way toward co-workers), the solution is not going to be “I’ll try harder.”  It is absolutely going to involve prayer and virtue.
 
   Prayer is coming to God with your life.  If your behavior is not what it should be, that awareness should drive you into the arms of God or onto your knees before him.  As you do this, you acknowledge your failing and ask God’s help in correcting it permanently.
 
    The “permanently” part of this is called virtue. That is a gift from God intended to abide always in the heart, mind, and soul.  It is a part of the living, effective Word, strengthening and moving you to do the good.  In the example above, the virtue would be:  Kindness.      
 
   That seems obvious, doesn’t it?  And yet, frequently, we try to patch our behavior like a worn tire and hope we survive the next few miles of life’s journey.  Our faults are an opportunity for us to experience how much we need God and to open our hearts to asking for and accepting the gift of a permanent Virtue.
 
   There are many virtues:  faith, hope, love, gentleness, patience, wisdom, even listening, giving good counsel, being steadfast, consistent, and loyal.
 
   I invite you to identify one part of yourself that needs repair.  Go to God, name the virtue that is opposite that fault (such as humility and pride) and begin to ask God for that gift daily in prayer.
 
   As your readiness to receive the virtue increases, so God will be able to lavish it upon you more and more abundantly.  Ask and you shall receive…