My mind was going in a hundred different directions as I read the morning paper: Will there be enough votes for the candidates President Barack Obama nominated to his cabinet? Did Lance Armstrong come clean about doping? Who was responsible for the recent bombing in Syria that killed college students?
These questions and others confronted me on the front page of The Washington Post. As I continued to page through it, more questions arose, leaving me on edge at times, happy at others and indifferent about less important issues.
When we reflect on all that bombards us during the day, it is very difficult to maintain composure. What exactly is composure and how does it empower us to calmly meet the day?
Father Romano Guardini, a theologian, explained the difference between composure and silence. “Silence overcomes noise and talk; composure is the victory over distractions and unrest. Silence is the quiet of a person who could be talking; composure is the vital, dynamic unity of an individual who could be divided by his surroundings, tossed to and fro by the myriad happenings of every day.”
In this description of composure, we learn that it is at the heart of our inner unity, being one within our inner self and having it all pulled together. It fends off what threatens our peace of mind and our powers of concentration.
Composure encourages us to reflect on where our day has taken us and on what things we have focused on the most. It raises the question, Were there any moments in which we truly enjoyed peace of mind and were at one with ourself?
More importantly, during a harried day, did we ever try to balance its rush with moments of composure in which we shut out distractions, went inside ourselves and enjoyed an inner sense of unity?
In Italian, we have the expression “faro atto di presenza,” to perform the act of being present, to be “all there” in touch with our thoughts, feelings and actions; in other words, to be composed.
When national catastrophes happen, it is a practice to stop for a minute of silence out of respect for those caught up in them. As we do this for others, composure would encourage us to periodically stop everything we are doing out of respect for our mental, physical and spiritual life.
If practiced on a regular basis, it promises a greater probability of many things: enjoying our meals more fully, sleeping more peacefully and accomplishing work more effectively.
Like all victories, capturing composure requires us to battle against being swept along with a crowd going in all directions at once.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103