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How to Achieve Peace

Do you experience peace on a regular basis? Or instead are you overwhelmed by what’s going on in your life? Does the busyness nullify your opportunity for any downtime, let alone peace of mind? Does the pace crowd out the peace? If you’re answer is “yes” to any or all of the above, be assured that you’re not alone.

For the longest time, I had no peace in my life. I was totally overwhelmed by life, trying to build a business, raise a family, coach our kids in their sports, stay in shape, do chores around the house, have a social life, etc. I prided myself in how much I got done, or thought I got done. What I wasn’t achieving was peace in my life. Likewise, I wasn’t experiencing joy, nor was I fulfilled in what I was doing.

Overtime, I’ve come to believe that there’s a distinct path to peace, which includes surrender, gratitude, humility, and love.

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels

Surrender
Acknowledging that I don’t truly have control over anything in my life, coupled with God loving me unconditionally, making me uniquely with special gifts, and wanting me to be fulfilled, I now surrender all to Him.

Doing so means trying to abide by God’s will (He knows best for me) and doing my best, while leaving the results to Him. Knowing His love for me negates my need for validation from others. He and I are in this together and He has my back.

Gratitude
Be thankful. More than that, believe that everything happens for a reason, that there are no coincidences in life. It’s true. Everything is part of God’s grand plan. So live in a place of gratitude; be grateful for everything that happens, even the crises in your life.

Gratitude isn’t just good for the soul, it’s good for the body too. Experts are constantly talking about the benefits to living a life of gratitude, including being happier, healthier, more optimistic, more spiritual, a better friend, a better boss, and many other good outcomes. A true attitude of gratitude is one that allows us to see the hand of God in all things and trust that everything will turn out for the best.

Humility
To me, humility is the opposite of ego, which is our false self, the identity that we create that is often very far from the truth of who we are. The truly humble person lives from the truth of who he is, strengths and weaknesses.

A humble person is genuinely happy for others in their successes. He is accepting of others’ ideas and thoughts (accepting doesn’t mean always agreeing), always very willing to engage in dialogue. The humble person doesn’t always have to be right, be in control, or even win. Humility allows us to accept others for who they are, rather than judging them or trying to change them.

Being humble is understanding that it is only in God working through us that we can perform or achieve anything worthwhile. It is His doing, not ours.

Photo by Orlando Allo

Love
Above all else, we are called to love. Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, second only to loving God with our whole heart, mind, strength, and soul. We need to love. When we fail to love, we leave those around us empty, and we are empty too.

Without relationships, life is meaningless. True relationship is impossible without love. To love, we need to be vulnerable; we need to trust; we need to care. Like Jesus, we need to love all.

Please share your comments, challenges, or concerns with me at [email protected]

May God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

Thank God for Thanksgiving

Thank God for Thanksgiving!!!

I posted a similar blog 3 years ago…liking what I reviewed, I wanted to share again. It’s a good reminder.  

As a country, we have so much to be grateful for, to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving 2022. We get to live in the United States of America, the greatest social and economic experiment in world history. There’s no place in the world that compares to our country. While others have great architecture and landscape, no one has our freedoms, those things held so dear by our Founders, that include the freedom of:

  • Religion
  • Speech
  • The Press
  • Assembly
  • Petition the government

While race and gender inequality existed at the country’s founding, significant measures have been taken over the last 60+ years to dramatically improve the situation. Even with these historical challenges, we’re in a far better place than the rest of the world. Americans are a good people, a compassionate and generous people…statistically speaking, the most generous people in the world.  

The economic opportunities in the United States are second to none. The story of our country is immigrants coming here and having financial success, finding a better life for themselves and their families. The same opportunities and experiences exist for American citizens. And as time progresses and innovation persists in this great country, more opportunities exist. 

The United States of America is the leader of the world. That’s not by accident or just because we have the mite to make an impact…militarily and economically. It’s because we’re the role model for the world. We’re the best of the best and others want to emulate us.

I write the above, knowing that we still have challenges in this country. The one closest to my heart, in addition to the pro-life movement, is solving for poverty. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to remove politics from the conversation, understanding what has and hasn’t worked over the last 60+ years, to lift families out of poverty.  

In closing, I’d like to offer the following prayer for our country: 

Dear Lord, thank you for all of our many blessings

Here in the United States of America; 

Help us to remember the freedoms you have provided us

And the opportunities you have given us.

Help us dear Lord, come together as a nation, eliminating the division. 

Lord, let us feel Your unconditional love, not caring what others think, 

But being all that you call us to be. Help us to see Christ in all and be Christ to all, 

Living Your Will, helping others be the best version of themselves. 

Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, we thank you for our great country; 

We ask for your continued blessings on its citizens and all that travel here. 

Amen!!! 

As always, please contact me at [email protected] with questions, comments, concerns, challenges or prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

The Beauty of Life

Is there anything in your life that exudes pure beauty? No matter how many times you see it, it takes your breath away. It is so beautiful that you can’t look away, but instead are mesmerized by it. You are in awe of its creation, believing that something much greater than humanity has to be responsible. You are reminded of God’s great glory, given that it can only be He who can produce something so magnificent.

Most Beautiful Place on Earth

For my wife and me, one of those things, those places is Sedona, Arizona, home of the most beautiful landscape we’ve ever experienced. Known as Red Rock Country, it is the most majestic of places. No matter the direction you turn, there are enormous, gorgeous red rock formations that God gifted this part of the country with thousands of years ago.

In going to Sedona for the past 13 years, we are always captivated by what we see. We can be driving down the same road we’ve been on dozens of times and see a huge rock formation in a totally different way. It’s truly amazing. Add to that the many notables, including Coffee Pot Rock, Bell Rock, Chair Rock, Elephant Rock, Cathedral Rock, Courthouse Rock, and more.

From left to right: Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Courthouse Rock, Elephant Rock, and Coffee Pot Rock.

Lastly, there’s the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which was built into the red rocks of Sedona in 1956. In March, 2018, a new Corpus was added. The Chapel is beautiful inside and out.

We Are Incredibly Unique Too

Another example of God’s grand work and imagination is humanity, you and me, all of us, each made so uniquely and special. Out of the 7 billion people on earth, no 2 of us are made the same. We all have very individual gifts and talents, put on this earth for a particular purpose.

You were made for Greatness…check Scripture (Jeremiah 1:5 or 29:11). Here’s the truth:

    • God conceived of us thousands of years ago
    • He made each of us in His image and likeness
    • As part of His grand plan, individually and as a part of all of humanity
    • Made each of us with special gifts, talents, desires
    • He made us for a specific purpose
    • God doesn’t make mistakes; He doesn’t make junk
    • On a scale of 1-10, we are all 10s
    • He loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done
    • God wants the very best for you
    • He wants you to be happy
    • God made you for Greatness

God loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done. He loves you more than the Red Rocks. He loves you for your “who”, not your “do. God made you; He loves you and wants you to live a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment. What are you waiting for?

Please comment to me at [email protected].

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

Categories
Weekly Blog

What’s Next in Life? 

I’m now almost 60, entering what seems like a different season of life. Life you, I’ve experienced many seasons in the past, each with their joys and their challenges. Although not always the case, a different season sometimes means a different direction. And sometimes a tweak to a current direction. 

Attending Mass recently, I saw an old friend, a Deacon who is quite busy doing ministry having retired from his full-time professional life. When he asked me if I had considered the same, it got me thinking. I retired from the professional world 10 years ago, when I started work for Franciscan University of Steubenville. As Vice President of Outreach and Evangelization, I can’t imagine leaving for at least another 10 years. Not that there aren’t challenges…there are a lot, especially coming out of COVID. But I’m invested in the mission, love the University, and continue to be desirous of doing ministry. I feel that I’m where God wants me to be. 

Related to the above and on a personal basis as well, I continue to be passionate about sharing the love of Christ, that gift of encounter that changed my life forever. That’s why I continue to do these blogs and the occasional talk, sharing my story and the lessons I’ve learned…all real-life stuff to help people no longer be overwhelmed, instead leading lives of peace, joy, and fulfillment. 

© Steubenville Conferences, Franciscan University of Steubenville 2022

With the Steubenville Conference Office being part of my organization, my summers are very busy. Easily bored, I’d spend weekend time other times of the year on ministry stuff, some University related and other for my personal ministry. Still being passionate about it all, something is changing. Not my focus…I still want to work for the Church and do ministry, but the intensity. I don’t want to run as hard as I used to. I love my wife, who is my best friend…and I want to be spending more time with her, sometimes just hanging out, while at other times doing the things we enjoy doing. We kid around that we’re all we got…Thank God!!!

BTW, as I’ve indicated before….you don’t have to be in ministry to do ministry. In fact, I believe most often more can be accomplished outside the Church than from within. EVERYONE, whether they know it or not, deeply yearns for the love of Christ. You, me….we can do that everywhere.

So what’s the point to the above, other than being a stream of consciousness in my life. First, as I reflect, including on the more challenging parts of my life, I live in this place of gratitude for all the seasons of my life. I’ve been blessed abundantly in many ways. And even in the tough times, I firmly believe that all is per God’s grand plan for my life, helping me to be my very best. “No pain, no gain…no Cross, no crown”. As I’ve said before, I wouldn’t be who I am or doing what I do…without all those experiences. Praise God!!!

Second is “surrender”. For the longest time, I thought it was “Mark’s will be done”. I had it wrong. Today I endeavor to live “God’s Will be done”. I recently read an ebook by Bishop Barron on discernment. He points to several things, including prayer, reading Scripture, and participating in the Sacraments, all to help us understand God’s Will for our lives. He states that what God wants for you and me is the path of greatest love. Love as per the Catechism is willing the good of another. The Bishop poses some questions for each of us:

  • What makes love more prominent in your life? 
  • What makes it easier in your life to love? 
  • What path will open the greatest capacity for love? 
  • What’s the demand of love in the present moment? 
  • What is the path of greatest love?

Your answers to the above, according to the Bishop, are what God wants you to do. With this as guidance, how do I take my life and discern where specifically God wants me, what He wants me to do? For me, not necessarily changing the big things, but the holy moments in life. How about you? How can you apply this to your life?

Whether it’s a new season or mid-season, an attitude of gratitude is a great thing. And my lived experience is that following God’s Will is the only path to peace, joy, and fulfillment. 

As always, feel free to contact me at [email protected] with comments, questions, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph