Train the Soul to Endure DifficultiesWe all know about the importance of healthy eating and physical exercise for good body health. However, many people do not know that our soul, which gives life to the body, also needs care to stay healthy. Today we see a large number of people, especially the youngest, who cannot experience the slightest suffering, succumb to the adversities of life, even become physically ill because of the inability to face the problems and difficulties that life presents to them. What is lacking is resilience, which can be defined as the ability to recover easily or adapt to misfortune or change. But how to achieve this resilience? The best way is to practice the virtue of temperance, which is characterized by self-control and moderation of desires. That is, to be resilient, strong, we need to train our souls by depriving ourselves of our wishes and desires. The animal brain, including the human brain, is programmed to seek pleasure and escape pain. All our instincts follow this "programming." However, unlike the animal, the human being is able to say no to instinct for the benefit of a greater good. This capacity of self-denial is typical of the soul, which the animal does not possess. When we fulfill all our desires, our souls become weakened and we become slaves of those same desires. We cannot control our will, and we can even fall into addiction. For example, the person who eats what she wants, whenever she wants, has extreme difficulty in following a diet, even if it is for her own survival. So we need to become accustomed to making small mortifications of our will, denying ourselves small pleasures, so, little by little, our soul is strengthened.If we are required some greater sacrifice, we will be prepared to face it without succumbing. Fr. Joseph Kentenich, founder of the Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement, testified that he could only survive with his whole soul in the Nazi concentration camp, where he arrived at the age of 57 and lived there for more than three years, because throughout his life he habituated his body to some deprivations. This training can be done by anyone, including children, and the sooner we get used to it, the easier it becomes. Wait a few minutes before drinking water when thirsty, do not have second helpings at lunch, give up a drink during meals, wake up a few minutes early, take a shower faster, turn off the radio when in the car, stop watching a program that you like once a week, take a cup of coffee without sugar, give up a candy -- all these are ways to practice temperance to achieve resilience. You do not have to do too much at once. Just as in the gym we start the training with light weights and we increase as our body strengthens, so for the training of the soul we need to start gradually and as we become more resilient, we can increase the level, until we have complete dominion over our passions and instincts. Only he who masters himself is truly free and can truly love and serve others. Thus these renunciations will lead to the full freedom of the children of God to whom we have all been created.
Copyright 2019 Flávia Ghelardi
About the Author
Flávia Ghelardi is the mom of four, a former lawyer already "promoted" to full time mom. Flávia published her first book FORTALECENDO SUA FAMÍLIA and is a member of Schoenstatt´s Apostolic Movement. Flávia loves to speak about motherhood and the important role of women, as desired by God, for our society. She blogs at www.fortalecendosuafamilia.blogspot.com.