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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Do You React or Respond to Life?

I love the image of a bridge and feel that this picture speaks to me on many different levels. The bridge connects me to God, to others, to myself. The book, How Big Is Your God? by Paul Coutinho, S.J., is also a bridge; he connects Ignatius and Eastern spirituality. He has his doctorate in Historical Theology from St. Louis University and so do I, so I feel connected to him and, of course, I am also rather steeped in Ignatian spirituality.
Paul has a short section (all the sections are brief and concise) entitled: "Do you React or Respond to Life? He explains that situations in themselves do not produce feelings. It is "our perception of the situation that makes us feel good or bad...When we live in freedom, we choose the way we respond rather than let our automatic, destructive reactions get the better of us."
How to do this? Paul suggest the "PQR formula" - pause to question how we would like to respond rather than react. Reaction is not freedom. Responding rather than reacting "helps us to live freely and in greater harmony with our true identity in every situation." So, pause, ask how our situation relates to the meaning of my life, and then choose how I want to respond.
This "PQR formula" is not easy to practice but let us begin to try to use it today. I want to RESPOND!

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