Wednesday, January 11, 2006

As we begin another annual trip around our sun Sol, I would like to share with you the nine requisites for contented living. Don't ask me where I found this list; it was a list that was copied from an unknown source many years ago and taped inside my personal journal for later reference. As well, it was a list that was long forgotten until I stumbled upon it a few weeks ago and chose to share it with you.

You will find the complete list below, but please allow me to first elaborate on one of the requisites for contented living:

Faith enough to make real the things of God.

If asked for a list of all the items we think we need to possess to be content in Life, I highly doubt that many of us would have written this requisite at the top of the list. The unknown author of this list does, however, include it in his list of nine requisites for contented living. And please notice that in this particular requisite, he/she doesn't just bullet-point faith and leave it at that. He/she goes one step further to state the minimum level of faith needed for contented living: enough to make real the things of God.

My father, in his faith journey while alive on this planet, would remind me from time to time of the ongoing struggle between our focus on "things of this world" and "things of God." He would further remind me that we must never be fooled into allowing ourselves to be mastered by things of this world... which simply leaves a person to focus on "things of God." So what are these things? In my opinion?

  • We must have enough faith in this life to make real moments and movements of compassion; moments and movements that bring humanity closer together rather than fracturing that humanity apart and into isolation.
  • We must have enough faith in this life to make real hope; a sense of hope that allows us to believe and see that God is alive and well, and working in the lives of all persons.
  • We must have enough faith in this life to make real mercy; mercy that flows from not just an obligation to help and forgive others, but also flows from a need to help and forgive others.
  • We must have enough faith in this life to make real justice; a justice that goes beyond the simple laws of the land to examine and support the needs of all human life - regardless of color, race, creed, etc.

Simply put, we must have enough faith and belief - in our God, in our lives, in one another - to make real those things that connect us to that God, to our life and to one another. To bring to life those elements (i.e. faith, hope. compassion, justice, mercy, grace) that allow us to begin to see the very subtle and grand existence of God.

While working at Marquette University in the mid to late 1990s, I was introduced to the Jesuit concept of "seeing God in all things;" a concept that has led me on a new adventure to see Life with new eyes. Perhaps mustering just enough faith to make real - to bring to Life and focus upon - the things of God will allow us to further see all of Life teeming with the existence of God. And in that, my friend, is the start toward contented living.


And as promised, here is the complete list of nine requisites for contented living:

  • Health enough to make work a pleasure.
  • Wealth enough to support your needs.
  • Strength enough to battle with difficulties and overcome them.
  • Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them.
  • Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished.
  • Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor.
  • Love enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others.
  • Faith enough to make real the things of God.
  • Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future.