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A spiritual exercise that cultivates a more positive outlook on life

WOMAN RELAXING
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If you tend to be more pessimistic, try this spiritual exercise to see God’s presence in your life.

It’s relatively easy to be pessimistic about life, especially in the modern world. Social media doesn’t help in this regard, as we are constantly tempted to compare ourselves with others in addition to seeing all of the terrible news that is happening around the globe.

However, for the Christian it’s important to see things from God’s perspective, not allowing ourselves to be dragged down into a negative view of life. Satan is the “father of lies” and he especially enjoys it when we are depressed and gloomy, for it disposes us to a more negative response to God’s love and leads us farther away from the God of joy.

One way to combat this pessimism is to end your day dwelling on God’s blessings. While we may be tempted to think that there is nothing in our lives that is a “blessing,” God would beg to differ. Even the poorest person on this earth is able to give thanks to God for something, whether it be his family, friends or simply the gift of life.

Here is a simple prayer exercise from The Garden of the Soul prayer book that can help the pessimistic soul see the brighter side of things. The first time will always be the most difficult, but the more you do it, the easier it will be to see God’s presence in your life.

I most heartily thank you, O Lord, for all your mercies and blessings bestowed upon me and upon your whole Church; and particularly for those I have received from you this day, in watching over me, and preserving me from so many evils, and favoring me with so many graces and inspirations, [Here pause, and meditate on God’s mercies and blessings of the past day.] Oh, let me never more be ungrateful unto you, my God, who art so good and gracious to me.

Have mercy upon all, O Lord. Give food to those who labour; comfort those who are oppressed with sorrow; supply the necessities of the needy; heal the sick; support the dying. May we all be filled with patience, kindness, and mercifulness. May envy, hatred, and all bitterness, be put away.

Holy Spirit, have mercy on me, and by your holy inspiration strengthen me always, but especially at the hour of my death. Amen.

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