Wit and wisdom: Focus on love, not worry

By Father Joseph Breighner


It was one more cry for help. Over the years I have literally damaged the cartilage and skin on my right ear from listening to thousands of hours of calls for help on the phone. She was asking for prayers in a very desperate moment of her life.


Spontaneously, a prayer came to mind that I have used and shared many times over the years. It has brought comfort to me and to countless others over the years. Very simply, it goes as follows:


“The light of Christ surrounds me.

The love of Christ enfolds me.

The power of Christ protects me.

The presence of Christ watches over me.

Wherever I am, God is. And all is well.”


The last line is especially important. God isn’t just with us. God is in us!


And the great mystics consistently tell us that all will be well. This seems foolish in the eyes of the world. When we look at life from the level of our egos, life clearly isn’t all well. When we look at life through the eyes of God there is perfection in the seeming imperfect. Jesus could face betrayal, trial, criticism, rejection, crucifixion and death, and know that all would be well.


“Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.”

“Into your hands I commend my Spirit!”


Most of us don’t live at that level of awareness. Most of us worry. I worry. Yet as a wise person once said: “If you had never worried, you would still have arrived at the same place – only you would have done it without worry!” Worry is a lot like fear. It seems like it protects us, but it really only limits us.


Why do we worry? The great counselor and psychologist, Dr. Mike Boyle, traced the roots of worry. “All worry is rooted in fear. Fear is rooted in a lack of trust. Lack of trust is rooted in a lack of love.” How powerful is that?


All Jesus did was preach love. All Jesus did was love. As the Scriptures tell us: “He went about doing good.”


None of us can change our past. But we can choose to let go of our past. We can choose to let go of the fears and worries as they arise. As each fear and worry comes up, gently let it go. Let God in. Let God’s love in. Let God’s love expand to fill your mind and heart and body. Let God’s love erase and dissolve the past traumas and hurts. Let God be God for you. Let yourself be one with God. Allow yourself to be love!


Allow this to become a minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day practice. When I suggest to people that we can release past hurts and embrace love, the response I often get it is, “But that’s not easy to do.”


And I often respond: “But it’s not as hard as doing what you’re doing – holding onto past hurts and not embracing love.” It’s hard because we are not in the habit of doing it. We can all fall easily into the lifetime habit of worrying. I have. We don’t have to beat ourselves up for that. Habits are habits. Worry is its own punishment. But love can dissolve fear. Love can dissolve worry. God wants to do that for us. Will we allow ourselves to receive that gift?


Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.