Monday 14 December 2020

Why Worry - William Lawson SJ - The Christian's Vocation to Trust in God

Why Worry! 
The Christian's Vocation to Trust in God
William Lawson SJ
ISBN 9780851832333
eISBN 9781784692735
CTS Booklet DO214

Over the last few years, I have read over 175 volumes from the CTS. I have read books from many series. And many authors. Lately I have read several books that are part of the  CTS Devotions and Prayer Series. I have read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series, and the Great Saints Series. I picked up this volume after reading Be Yourself, by the same author. I believe these are the only two written by Fr Lawson that are still in print. The book was originally published in 194. Then the reprint edition was in 1998 and the eBook released in 2017. The description of the booklet is:

“Understanding the capacity we all have to worry and fret, Fr Lawson shows that within our anxieties may often lie a doubt, a reluctance even, to believe that we have a Father in heaven who loves us and provides for us. As St Paul had to learn, a father, 'whose grace is sufficient for me'. This inspired and wise little pamphlet, first published over 60 years prior to this edition, will help many people, whoever, wherever, and whatever worries may be calling them, to look towards Christ. Do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself.”

The chapters in the volume are:
Attitude and Character 
Our Lord’s Words 
The Birds of the Air 
Do What You Can 
Worry is Waste 
Worry Does Harm 
Worry Rejects God’s Help 
Worry is Un-Christian 
Sorrow without Sadness 
Never Out of Your Depth 
Providence and Living by Faith 
My Power is Made Perfect in Weakness 
Prayer and Serenity 
Courage in Fear 
Cast All Your Cares Upon God

This is an excellent little volume. The print edition is listed as 22 pages and the eBook edition at 18. I do believe it is the shortest booklet from the Catholic Truth Society that I have read. But the size does not detract from some excellent content. The book begins with these words:

“Human beings, in their attitude to life, are either optimists or pessimists. There are innumerable shades of optimism, from the ‘incurable’ sort to the cautious and occasional: and pessimists range similarly from dwellers in unrelieved gloom to those who vary from light to shade like a landscape mottled with cloud-shadows.”

And continues with:

“It is, you may think, a matter of temperament. Your attitude to life depends on the character with which God endowed you. Perhaps He made you, fortunately for you, of the cheerful sort, enjoying the character that used to be called sanguine, full of the joy of living, much in demand for parties and picnics, brightening the lives of others by the freshness and joy of your manner and appearance. Without much effort, you bring happiness to yourself and others. Small credit to you, it is a gift of God.”

But Fr Lawson does not leave it there he states:

“I should like to convince you that you can help it. No matter what your character may be, there is never any need to be oppressed by life and unequal to it. More than that, it is wrong to be afraid of life, to lose courage, to think that life is too much for you. Being a Christian, you have a privilege and a duty of constant happiness and steady courage. A Christian is, by profession, cheerful, confident, peaceful, serene and courageous.”

This is an excellent little volume. It is an area I have been working on the last few years. And this book though small really helped. I am typically a ‘glass is half empty’ guy. But I am working on it. And this book highlights some sound reasons and methods for doing so. When I was first involved with Campus ministry there were little booklets that could be read again and again. And slowly let the message ink in. This is one of those booklets. The lessons in this book are ones I am working on and trying to instill in my children. 

A few other quotes to convince you of the value of this booklet:

“Not only do you gain nothing by that excess of concern which we call worry: you also lose by it. As the Book of Ecclesiasticus says: ‘Sorrow has destroyed many, and there is no profit in it.’”

“Isn’t it folly to wear out your mind during the day with over-anxiety, and then to lose your sleep in the same vain questionings? Yesterday’s problems are no nearer solution: and you have no heart and no energy for even the ordinary problems of today.”

“You know very well that you can’t manage everything in life on your own. You don’t run your life. Life is a partnership between yourself and God. When you have done your best, you leave what remains to be done to Him - He is your partner. Live your life in that sensible and Christian way, and you can’t be beaten. Nothing can take the heart out of you. You never get out of your depth.”

The end of this book makes reference to another CTS volume, Hope in Adversity it will be a great read, I just need to track it down. This book was a great read and I highly recommend it. It is a book most of us could benefit from reading especially in 2020. In the times we currently find ourselves living in. I am going to try and find his out of print works. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by William Lawson SJ:
All Things Are Not Beneficial
Living the Commandments 
Devotion of the Nine First Fridays 

1 comment:

kkollwitz said...

I linked in via MeWe. I'm 63, raised 5 kids with arguably more grief than the average parent, and based on your review and excerpts, this book is spot on.