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home : commentary : columns July 17, 2019


6/19/2019
Controlling your thoughts

By Father John T. Catoir, J.C.D.

Do you suffer from disturbing or obsessive thoughts? If so, relief is available. It will be in an uphill battle, but with perseverance and the help of God, it’s a battle that’s worthwhile because it can be won.

The worst attacks come during the night when you’re trying to go to sleep. Some cases are worse than others. The trick is to divert the troubling thoughts by replacing them with something else. Even if the thought persists, perseverance will one day win the war.

Here is how to begin. When you’re trying to go to sleep, and a troubling thought invades your mind, deflect your attention from it by concentrating on your own breathing. Repeat one word: ‘inhale’. Don’t force feelings of any kind, and stay relaxed.

As long as your will is occupied on another task the obsessive thoughts [will]  be held at bay. Choose a sweet thought or beautiful picture to replace it. A sleeping pill will be helpful until the annoyance subsides.

There are also other more important remedies you may need in order deal with the root cause of a problem. If you suffer from envy, which is sadness or anger over the good fortune of another, you will need to repent, otherwise the attacks will increase. It’s a matter of breaking a bad habit.

Any vice, like anger, that has become a habit will make your life a needless ordeal. Put on the will to break the habit. It can and must be done. Your weakness is making your life a needless ordeal. The same is true if you are a vindictive person, when anger begins to seek revenge.

Pray for the spirit of forgiveness. Call on God to do the heavy lifting; because His grace is necessary to reduce and eventually destroy this passion of anger. You can see that a careful analysis of the cause of any problem is also necessary if you hope to rid yourself of it. Like any form of weakness, there’s a need to persevere in the healing process.

Morality should be an essential part of everyone’s education. The Church is often criticized for insisting on this discipline by always stressing the danger of sin, but secular society claims the right to punish criminals, thieves, and those who do harm to others. To neglect a child’s moral training can lead to all kinds of trouble.

The opioid epidemic, which killed over 100,000 people in the last couple of years in the US alone, is a preventable disease. Wise parents realize they need help in the moral education of their children, and the Catholic School system wants to help them. It’s a win-win situation.

May the Lord be your strength and your joy as you carry out the responsibility.

Father John Catoir, J.C.D., is a retired priest of the Paterson Diocese.
 





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