Daily Archives: May 31, 2011

Tuesday, 31 May – Why We Do What We Do

31 May – Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This day is called the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary because on it Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, whom, as the angel had told her, God had blessed with a son in her old age.

– Patron Saint Index

Romans 12:9-16

Do not let your love be a pretence, but sincerely prefer good to evil. Love each other as much as brothers should, and have a profound respect for each other. Work for the Lord with untiring effort and with great earnestness of spirit. If you have hope, this will make you cheerful. Do not give up if trials come; and keep on praying. If any of the saints are in need you must share with them; and you should make hospitality your special care.

Bless those who persecute you: never curse them, bless them. Rejoice with those who rejoice and be sad with those in sorrow. Treat everyone with equal kindness; never be condescending but make real friends with the poor.

Luke 1:39-56

Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’

And Mary said:

‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm,
he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy
– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –
of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.

Work for the Lord with untiring effort and with great earnestness of spirit

People who work hard for a certain cause very often experience burnout, especially so if they do not take care of themselves. I was like that too, and in certain ways still am. When I joined the financial planning industry, I was astonished at the number of motivational talks and workshops that are held for financial planners.

I soon came to realise that many financial planners also face burnout especially when the results that they are getting are dismal compared to the amount of effort they are putting in. That’s when I came to realise the reason for the number of motivational talks. The industry, recognising the high attrition rate, does what it can to motivate its people regularly. One common thread running through all the motivation talks I have attended was the constant reminder of the purpose of being in the financial planning industry, that is, to help people make educated and informed decisions about their personal finances.

This is one of the reasons why I chose this profession. I recognised that I lack motivation in life, and attending these talks and sessions will be helpful for me to keep me motivated and grounded in the work that I do.

In today’s first reading, St. Paul writes to the Romans and encourages them to work with untiring effort. How is this possible? We know that when we are high in the spirits, such as after attending a retreat or a LISS seminar, we are willing to take on lots of work for the Lord. But as time passes, we are burdened by these commitments and eventually burn out. How is it possible then for us to work for the Lord with untiring effort? We need an unending source of motivation to lift our spirits. What is this source?

The gospel reading tells us this source. When Mary visited her cousin, the child in Elizabeth’s womb leapt for joy, for he was in the presence of the mother of the Lord who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled. We often think that Joseph (and Elizabeth) leapt for joy because Jesus was present, but the text actually tells us that it was Mary, not Jesus, who made them leap for joy. This was their motivation – that in their presence was someone who believed in the promises of the Lord and through her actions, God’s promises were to be fulfilled.

What is the source of your motivation in life? What keeps you going? What keeps you working hard? Is it your family? Your loved ones? Your belief in God? The promise of eternal life with God?

Very often, when we are feeling burned out and depressed, it is because we have lost sight of the purpose of why we do what we do. To minimise their effects on us, it is good to write down our purpose, our goals, and let these motivate us when we are feeling down. It doesn’t prevent us from feeling depressed when things aren’t going our way, but it sure helps us get out of the dumps by focusing our attention on why we do what we do.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)

Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray for clarity of mind and heart whenever we seek to do Your will in our lives.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the people who remind us of our purpose and goals in life.

Upcoming Readings:
Wed, 01 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 17:15.22-18:1; John 16:12-15; Memorial for St Justin, Martyr
Thu, 02 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11; Ephesians 1:17-23; Matthew 28:16-20; Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
Fri, 03 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 18:9-18; John 16:202-23; Memorial for Ss Charles Lwanga & Companions, Martyr
Sat, 04 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 18:23-28; John 16:23-28
Sun, 05 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 1:12-14; 1 Peter 4:13-16; John 17:1-11; Seventh Sunday of Easter; World Communication Sunday