In his first letter of Corinthians, Saint Paul speaks to a freedom that sound pretty appealing—freedom from anxiety. In fact, we pray for this in every single Mass. Immediately following the Our Father, the priest offers this prayer:
Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
What would a life free from anxiety or distress look like? How many worries crowd our day! In our personal life, at work and in considering the larger issues of the world—there’s potential for a never-ending collection of things to keep us from peace.
These things deserve our attention and care—I don’t think Saint Paul chooses the examples of married life and single life to highlight one over the other. Instead, we are encouraged to recognize our freedom to choose what we will worry about, and with what we will not concern ourselves.
Pope Saint John XXIII (the 23rd, if you’re wondering) is said to have concluded every day with this simple prayer:
“I’ve done the best I could in your service this day, Oh Lord. I’m going to bed. It’s your church. Take care of it!”.
How well is our anxiety bringing us closer to God? How might we ask the Lord to take what is unnecessary from our list of worries—and find ourselves with the peace He desires for us.