When actor Chris Pratt won the MTV generation award, his acceptance speech to viewers consisted of nine rules of advice for practical living. Pratt was able to hit on the nail some of the deepest truths Christians believe in their walk of life, and no I am not talking about the part where he mentions how to go to the bathroom at a party… I have yet to reach that chapter of my Bible.
Rule 2. You have a Soul – Be careful with it
Whether or not you believe in God is irrelevant. Just because you don’t believe in something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. There are tons of spiritual practices and rituals that people engage in to exercise their soul; their inward being, their “center.” As human-beings, this is necessary, in reason. Some attempts at mindfulness fall short because they are relaxing their “center” into nothingness, or the universe/the planet. For the Christian, you place yourself (your soul) into the dwelling of God in exchange for His personal, divine intimacy. Here God holds you, in His hands, and embraces you. If God is Love (1 John 4) than His entire essence and spirit is speaking Love so logically and mysteriously to you. Love itself wraps tightly around your soul, diminishing your fears, worries, and doubts that cause you uneasiness and unrest.
When pressured to make a serious decision in life, some of the craziest, but best advice, I will ask myself is
“What is your gut telling you?”
Your “gut” is a “voice.” Theologically, if what God says is true and that your body is the place He dwells, rests, strengthens, loves you, works through you, inspires you, then God very much so speaks to you (your gut), without words.
If this is hard to understand this then you must not have many people to think about on the daily. I mean, how many of us think about loved ones several hours a day? How many of us want another person to be consistently thinking of us, and keeping us on their mind? God is a personal God and He keeps us in mind all day, every day.
So many of us try to hear, see, find, or even smell God in our lives… and when suffering happens, He is gone. We want to feel SOMETHING, anything, with our senses. Chances are, from a Catholic perspective, you sense God with all your senses at least once a week [at Mass].
You hear His voice through the Scripture readings, you taste Him through the Bread and Wine, you smell Him in the incense, and you’re able to touch Him in the Eucharist. After we realize these things, why is there still dissatisfaction—-an inability to find or even accept God for who He is?
The place we meet God, our soul, is like a window. It is crystal clear and spotless. Staying this way, easily and clearly, God’s bright rays of love hit the window and the light shines through the room and His grace and love shine so bright through the window, and light up the entire room. What happens then, when there is a storm, bird poop, or a spill on the window; it gets stained and tarnished. In this case, there is still opportunity for the soul to shine but not entirely. This is the case with our own ability to care for our soul. Sins are basically the tarnishing of our windows when we do anything contrary to God’s plan for happiness. When we do anything in an attempt to be our truest selves. Instead of thinking and acting in tune with the Gospel, (which consists of meditating on God’s spirit of truth, beauty, and love, and building meaningful relationships with others) we choose to do and act in ways that lead us farther from ourselves.
Even if it’s not direct sin, sometimes we are so clouded by things in our life that are not going well (according to our own judgments); stress, mishaps, business, and pride. This blocks and distracts our ability to understand God’s goodness!
“Then the LORD said [to Elijah] “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountain apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an Earthquake, but the Lord was not in the Earthquake. After the Earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, ‘Why are you here, Elijah?’ (1 Kings 19:11-13)
God chooses a lot of ways to speak and encounter you personally; through other people, life changes, scripture, desires of our hearts, a good book or talk, and music. All those aids should inspire you to want to uncover more about who you are. To sit alone with Our Lord and let Him talk to you the way He did Elijah–through a gentle whisper which only comes from being quiet with oneself.
Purifying the soul of anything that tarnishes it allows happiness and freedom to make it’s mark on you. “Happy are the pure in heart for they shall see God (Mt. 5:8).” In this, intentions are pure, and a believer learns that happiness is not something that you encounter, grasp at, or find in anything— but it’s what you find inwardly, in yourself.
Rule 9. Learn to Pray
The way we draw near to God, to seek Him out, comes with a rediscovery that faith, hope, and love are all worth the pursuit in life and originate in the soul–not firstly in the senses. Believing in something is never a feeling or sensation (unless God gifts that too you, but that’s another article). Sensations are experiences that awaken us to desire things not strictly bodily and point us into liberation of real happiness, a true happiness, not the kind that giddiness that goes away after you finish your giant burger or large coffee.
This is prayer. A sheer and utter act of being in love and feeling our truest self.
However many weaknesses, limitations, or hardships we face, we should rid ourselves of them at any cost because they are great opportunities to make progress in humility and confidence in God for His infinite perfection.
Rule 1. Breathe
This is our humbling moment because many people who don’t like to depend on others. Those who lack vulnerability have a hard time letting God touch the center of their being. This comes with a “can-do-attitude,” basing too much of your life’s success off your own judgments, off your own ideas or criticism’s. Even when we don’t ask friends or trusted loved ones for their input we can get lost in our own ideas and make ourselves miserable.
It’s not common for people to desire to find strength in their weakness, nor is it common to admit weak and gross habits. Truthfully, the world see’s most “foul” habits as remarkable, pleasurable, comical, and praiseworthy. But hey, if you allow yourself to taste one side of life maybe you can also stay open-minded to it all and let yourself taste the divine too. This is the joy of being saved, drawing near to God, and letting God do what He does best: imbuing perfect amounts of personal, intimate love on your soul.
If there’s anything you need to take away from all this it’s this:
“God is Real.
God Loves you.
God wants the best for you. Believe that.” -Chris Pratt
And because of this truth, utter happiness is at your reach.
-A friend who wants you to be happy
I do not own this photo.