Friday, January 8, 2016

A New Year of Mercy – for self and others

Observer column by Jean Lowrie-Chin - published 4 Jan 2016

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Pope Francis
With the New Year, comes a new opportunity to be our best selves. Pope Francis has appealed to the world to make this a Year of Mercy.  Let me suggest that we apply this mercy to our own selves – many of us are carrying guilt, hurt, regrets that have been weighing us down for years.  We owe it to ourselves to let these go, confiding in a pastor, counsellor, trusted relative or friend.

Then there is the whole business of fitness and appearance with the phrases ‘body-shaming’ and ‘fat-shaming’ popular on social media.  Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in the first Star Wars trilogy, reappears at 59 years of age as General Leia in ‘The Force Awakens’, and was told on social media that, “You didn’t age well”.  Her tweeted reply is a reminder to us all: “Youth and Beauty are not accomplishments, they’re the temporary, happy by-products of time and/or  DNA…”. 

Another famous movie star, the late Audrey Hepburn, gave these tips for becoming more attractive: “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”
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Psychologist Dr Leahcim Semaj

Psychologist Dr Leahcim Semaj offered advice regarding weight loss resolutions in a media interview last week.  “Instead of resolving to lose 50 pounds in the year, it is better to plan to lose one pound per week,” he said.  That is certainly less pressure, with the identical result!

My wise sister Frances Beard, on observing my tendency to feel responsible for too many issues, begged me to remember, “If your name is not on it, don’t pick it up!” Even if your name is on those multiple emails you receive daily, it doesn’t mean that you have to take responsibility for every cause.  Indeed, you will render yourself unable to serve any cause properly if you take on too many. 

The Sisters of Mercy who taught us at Alpha Prep and Academy, were keen on us memorizing the Works of Mercy, in which we may find ideas for our resolutions.  The Corporal Works of Mercy:
·       Feed the hungry
·       Give drink to the thirsty
  • Clothe the naked
  • Shelter the homeless
  • Visit the sick
  • Visit the imprisoned
  • Bury the dead
The Spiritual Works of Mercy:

  • Admonish the sinner
  • Instruct the ignorant
  • Counsel the doubtful
  • Comfort the sorrowful
  • Bear wrongs patiently
  • Forgive all injuries
  • Pray for the living and the dead

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