Matching the Reds & Blues in Our Lives

The quotes, except those by St. Paul, are from C. Vanessa White, Assistant Professor of Spirituality and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and a member of the faculty at Xavier University’s Summer Institute for Black Catholic Studies.

“To help my students focus on God’s grace and on giving thanks, I like to ask them to look around the classroom and focus on one particular color that I choose. I may tell them, for example, to take note of everything that is red. After a few moments, I ask them to close their eyes and quietly recall all the red items they saw. And then comes the unexpected! While their eyes remain closed, I tell them to name all the blue things they had seen. Most often, because they were so focused on the red, they missed all the blue.

What we focus on is what we give power to!

I tell my students that this exercise is similar to what we focus on in daily life. We focus on the negative and tend to notice all that is going wrong in our world, and we miss God’s grace and presence before us. What we focus on is what we give power to! In focusing on the negative, we miss God’s grace. I encourage my students to take time each night to reflect on two ways they experienced God’s grace that day and to give thanks for it. In doing so, they will not only be persons of thanksgiving and praise, but it will transform their attitude and actions as well as give them a better night’s sleep.”

I am reminded of this activity and practice as I reflect on the opening of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, “I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

St. Paul’s work as missionary was shaped by his ability to continually make thanksgiving his number one priority. In all his journeys, Paul understood the power and the challenge of being open to God’s grace, even in darkest times…no, especially during dark, doubtful times. In computer language, we say, “garbage in, garbage out.” Mom told us that who we are is, “What we ate.” Last week one author told you that, “what you inhale is what you exhale, so be careful what you breathe in.”

Words or thoughts that demean, disarm or disassemble someone,
all in favor of our small thoughts and views.

We are living these days with caustic, corroding words. Words or thoughts that demean, disarm or disassemble someone, all in favor of our small thoughts and views. Politics and religion have converged these days, both using divisive words. From our president to now our pope…our engagements must be with filled with Christ-words. “Trust, humility, patience, and fortitude,” all anchored in deep prayer to our listening and attentive God.

Here’s a task for us during these coming weeks. For all the red you read and hear – depressing and alarming news, seek out some blue to read and hear -healthy perspectives and healing viewpoints. Balance, rooted in God’s grace will surely see us through this as it has for those before us. Remember, the colors red and blue only make sense when the color white is included. (A cheap plug for the US., sorry.)

“As we continue on the journey this day, with attentive and grateful hearts may we share the Good News of God’s amazing grace with those we encounter.”

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS. are all available on
                                                  “Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of humorous and reflective letters written by my cats over twenty years
                                                          “Soulful Muse,”

inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
                                                  “Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons of Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter – a great seasonal gift
                                        “Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture

                         “Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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