Having an Overwhelming Monday? Ask This Saint for Help

Pressures from work mount. Nearly every customer inaction is strained and frustrated. Changes at work along with starting a new daycare schedule for my youngest son only compound the uncertainty and stresses. Monday definitely is one of the more overwhelming days of the week where I feel overmatched and unprepared—this week is no different.

Frequent quick breaks and perspective-taking has helped keep any extra confusion, frustration, and despair in check. During these “timeouts” I pray to the perfect saint for comfort for a case of the Mondays—St. Thorlak. I have previously written about unique potential patronage for him in my article: The Curious Case for St. Thorlak’s Patron Sainthood .

As someone who preferred a strict routine, Thorlak struggled to deal with changes in his daily schedule. Just when it appears that my day is getting back on track with a small stretch of regularity and familiarity a sudden—and frustrating—wrench charges in to make up any stability I built. Immediately, the first person I thought of when this vexations bombard me is Thorlak. Already through mid-day I have prayed this simple, but relatable prayer, attributed to him at least a dozen times.

Holy Thorlak,

Cut with the scythe of your workings

The thorns casting shadows

in my unclear mind.

I am grateful for the consolation the Holy Spirit provided me through the intercession of St. Thorlak and also via the comforting words of reassurance my supervisor gave me after several trying phone calls. Honestly, I did not plan on nor expect to be writing about St. Thorlak. I actually had another article partially done that I hoped to publish today. Grace is a mysterious gift that enters the scenes of our life unannounced, but freely granted! Thank you God for the overwhelming grace to combat the overwhelming frustrating forces of Monday’s.


–St. Thorlak pray for us!

Transfiguring Humanity—Reflections on the Transfiguration of Christ

Among the most bizarre, mysterious, and interesting accounts in the New Testament is the event of the Transfiguration of Jesus. The dictionary defines the word transfiguration as “a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state. Common synonyms for transfiguration include:  metamorphosis, changeover, transformation, development, adjustment, and even mutation!! Growing up Catholic I have listened to the Gospel telling of this mysterious occurrence a myriad of times, however, I will provide Matthew’s version in case it has been a why since you have read and/or Mass for the Feast Day of the Transfiguration of Our Lord!

The Transfiguration of Jesus.* 1a After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.* 2*b And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. 3* And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents* here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5c While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,* then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6* When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” 8And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

1. Foretaste of Heavenly Reality: The primary purpose of the glory of Jesus shown [shone] to Peter, James, and John was meant as a means to prepare them for the glorification of God after the Resurrection and to hint at the beauty of transfigured humanity. According to Saint Pope Saint John Paul II in his 1999 homily for the Feast of the Transfiguration, “In the event of the Transfiguration we contemplate the mysterious encounter between history, which is being built every day, and the blessed inheritance that awaits us in heaven in full union with Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.”

2. Humanity’s Home in Heaven: Similar to the previous point is that fact that man is on a pilgrim journey, a sojourner on Earth—whose ultimate destination is union with God in Heaven. John Paul II echoed this truth as well, “We, pilgrims on earth, are granted to rejoice in the company of the transfigured Lord when we immerse ourselves in the things of above through prayer and the celebration of the divine mysteries. But, like the disciples, we too must descend from Tabor into daily life where human events challenge our faith. On the mountain we saw; on the paths of life we are asked tirelessly to proclaim the Gospel which illuminates the steps of believers.”

I imagine the incredible letdown the Apostles must have felt in the moments after the dazzling and inexplicable event of the Transfiguration. Going back to following Jesus in an ordinary way, traveling from town to town, learning from him, and assisting the poor certainly did not compare to the splendor they witnessed on Mount Tabor. It definitely would have been challenging to transition back into that routine! Heck, Peter even desired to stay in the holy place when he declared, “If you wish, I will make three tents* here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

Coming out of Sunday liturgy, I leave with a similar wonder and awe as the inner circle of Jesus received on that original Transfiguration event. Housing the Real Presence of Lord after reception of the Eucharist provides me incredible peace and patient strength. In a way, we all undergo a momentary transfiguration—a foretaste of Heavenly reality in the Mass. Going back to our worldly affairs, we quickly lose sight and memory of our close encounter with God. May we continue to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us with clarity and strength on our pilgrimage toward Heaven!

The Power of Encouragement

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According to Helen Keller, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Born without the ability to see and hear, Helen certainly faced trials that the vast majority of people will never have to encounter. The persistence of her work to communicate with other coupled with the incredible dedication by her teacher Anne Sullivan allowed for Helen to learn to communicate via reading people’s lips with her hands. Keller eventually went on to become the first blind-deaf person to graduate with a bachelor’s of arts degree.

Encouraging words have the ability to transform a person’s life for the better. Although the inspiration Anne Sullivan is beautiful and rare, the power of encouragement applies to all situations large or small and regardless of era. During my struggles transitioning to my new job, the patience and inspiring advice of my supervisor afford me a great opportunity to succeed. Willingness to change, desire to get better is essential for a successful and joy-filled life. However, without the nourishment of the soil of encouragement all the will-power to get better will not allow us to grow and actualize our full-potential.

Anxiety pervades modern man daily—even hourly. Knowing that kind encouragement contains transformative power allows us to step forward with our day, the next step involves specific ways to put encouragement into action. I listed a couple easy and manageable tips to nourish yourself and ultimately pass on the hope of encouragement to people you meet on a daily basis.

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1. Surround Yourself with Help: Jesus put forth the Golden Rule to love others as you love yourself. On face value, this should be self-explanatory, however the world we live in today tends to focus on self-love as giving into immediate pleasures and short-term successful at the expense of long-term rewards and true virtue. Without possessing authentic love for oneself, it may be difficult to in turn love others as oneself. Surround yourself with people who struggled similar paths of discouragement as you, but who overcame it— the saints! According to Saint John Vianney, “The saints did not all begin well, but they ended well.” I am always encouraged that despite the rough start of many holy ones, such as St. Paul or St. Augustine, they eventually learned to be selfless instead of self-centered. Learn about the saints by diving into their writings or reading a biography about their lives.

2. Look for Opportunities: Instead of looking for the perfect opportunity to encourage someone, simplify the process—notice people who struggle in any capacity: at work, home, on the street, in the park, and during your errand-running. A simple example that came to mind was when I saw the stress and worry on a fast-food worker’s face as I pulled up to the drive-thru. Due to the insane busyness of the extended dinner rush and lack of staffing I could tell the front-drive worker needed encouragement. Looking him in the eyes as I ordered, I gave a simple, but genuine reply after getting my food, “Thank you! I hope your day slows down a bit for you. You are doing a good job.”

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3. Action, Action, Action:  After getting into a habit of becoming more aware of people who need encouragement, the last step is to act. Do not act for the sake of feeling good for yourself. Act with genuine heart and attitude. Simple gestures like a smile, greeting someone in the morning/afternoon, and recognizing small things that went well that day are introductory steps towards towards transforming others through encouragement.

Not exactly knowing how I would close this topic on encouragement, in an odd sense I needed some reassurance. Just as I was able to attempt to write this final paragraph I heard a cry come from my 2 year-old’s bedroom. Normally, I would pause or  mosey up the stairs in hopes that my wife would get me son—my secret motive included the expectation that this would buy me extra time to complete a post!

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Instead, I immediately left my desk and rushed upstairs to rock my son until he went back to sleep. The words of Oscar Wilde almost immediately came to mind as I often struggle to leave a project unfinished, especially near the end, “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” Certainly, maybe not considered a bitter trial, the angst I get stopping and restarting writing is very real. However, I realized that my wife had a long day parenting three active children who did not nap all the while being pregnant to top it off! I knew of the encouraging power of sacrificing my time would allow her to sleep uninterrupted.  Resolve to reassurance at least one person a day this week—move forward with the transforming power of encouragement!


“God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.”