A few days ago, my daughter was telling me about something that one of her children had done. It was not something harmful, but it was not something good. “I let it slide,” she said. “You have to pick your battles.”
Not getting around to picking up your toys in your bedroom isn’t on the same level as smacking your brother in the head with one of those toys.
Yes, clean your room but … it’s not the worst thing that can happen.
As a parent, spouse, adult son or daughter, sibling, employer or employee, be wise to pick your battles, to consider what matters and what you can let slide. On a small scale, it’s a matter of judgment tempered with mercy.
In a similar way, as adults, we have to consider and choose what “battles,” what religious, social or political causes, we’re willing to become more actively involved in, and that can be tough because it’s easy to be pulled in so many directions. Do we fight for the unborn, the hungry, the homeless, the abused, the unemployed or underemployed, the exploited, the poorly educated, the homebound, the dying? The list is so long, the stories, the faces, are so sad and the needs are so great.
The church teaches us to perform corporal works of mercy, such as feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned and burying the dead. Jesus told us that whatever we do for these, “the least,” we do for him.
What can we do? And what can’t we do?
We can’t do everything we may want to do. We can choose one area, one issue, to which we feel called. Perhaps we can focus on a need we’ve experienced and our firsthand knowledge of it will foster empathy and understanding.
We can’t save the world. (It has been noted that position has been filled.) But we can make a huge difference in the lives of individuals. That’s true whether we work on the front lines (offering care to women facing crisis pregnancies, for example) or at the systemic level (advocating changes in the laws regarding abortion, for instance).
We can’t hand out blank checks to every worthy cause, ministry or apostolate, or sit on the sidelines and solemnly vow to set up a charitable foundation once we win the lottery. We can give to a cause, organization, ministry or apostolate that needs our donation and will use that gift prudently.
We can pray. There’s no “can’t” to that. There’s no excuse not to do that — today.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of 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 and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103