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Posted July 15, 2014

Book: The Way of Serenity: Finding Peace and Happiness in the Serenity Prayer
Author: Father Jonathan Morris
Harper Collins. New York. 2014. Pp. 231

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Fox News religion analyst, program director of the Catholic Channel on Sirius XM radio, and bestselling author Father Jonathan Morris reveals how the Serenity Prayer offers a sure path to peace and fulfillment for everyone, not just those in recovery programs. The Serenity Prayer states:

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

The courage to change the things I can

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Exploring the prayer phrase by phrase, Morris shows the hope that can be found by gaining a deeper spiritual understanding of its words and by practicing its message. Enlightening and profound, The Way of Serenity includes moving narratives, illuminating historical anedotes, and pertinent biblical passages that demonstrate the power of the Serenity Prayer to help us grow closer to God and find greater peace and happiness.

An Excerpt from the book:

Patience Leads to Peace

An old poem on patience attributed to John Dewey goes like this:

Patience is a virtue
Possess it if you can
Seldom found in woman,
Never found in man.

Of course, like most generalizations, this one isn't quite true, but it does express in a catchy way the reality that patience is as rare as it is good. And it is good because it is a precursor to serenity.

When we think of patience, we usually think of the ability not to give up and to wait for the right moment, but patience means much more than that. Patience (from the Latin patior, "to suffer"!) really means the ability to bear with hardship. I rather like the definition offered by Dictionary.com: "the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritations, or the like." That sums it up quite well.

Seen in this way, we can understand why patience is such an important virtue if we wish to achieve genuine peace of soul. Bad, tough things will always happen to us, but if every bad thing puts us out of sorts, then we are at the mercy of fortune, going up and down with our lot in life. If our peace of soul can be stolen from us as soon as someone cuts us off on the highway what kind of peace is that? If we are happy when things go well and bad-tempered when they don't, we will never find true and lasting serenity.

This is certainly true of the big things that can go wrong in life, but it's true of the little things as well. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few unimportant things that bug me more than they should. I don't like long meetings. I don't like long phone calls. I really don't like the slightest hint of passive-aggressive modes of operating. If I gave myself some time to think about it I could come up with a few more. But guess what? I have no doubt that other people are annoyed by my tendency to shirk long meetings and phone calls and the way I respond to passive-aggressive behavior.

If we choose to focus on things that bother us, we will never be at peace. We will be at the mercy of those around us. the serenity to accept the things we cannot change must involve the ability to be patient with these things and decide that they will not alter our state of mind and heart. During long meetings I pray: "Jesus grant me a tiny portion of the patience you have daily toward me."

Table of Contents:

1. A peace that comes from God

2. Safe from all distress

3. Work as if everything depends on you, and pray as if everything depends on God

4. Patience leads to peace

5. God's never leaves us alone

6. If God can change it, why doesn't he?

7. We have everything we need

8. The allure of material possessions

9. Climb a mountain, then look again

10. Serenity is possible no matter what comes our way

11. Owning our history

12. God loves you, warts and all

13. God's mercy has no limits

14. Gratitude as a path to peace

15. It's all about joy

16. Can we really make a difference?

17. Give us this day our daily bread for action

18. Some change is necessary

19. Who is courageous anymore?

20. You've got a big part in the play

21. In God's eyes, we are all action figures

22. Dreamers of the world, unite!

23. The first person to change is you

24. Blessed are the merciful

25. A bridge to reconciliation

26. Bearing each other's crosses

27. The courage to get back up after falling

28. Start with baby steps

29. If David could do it, so can I

30. Seek after wisdom, not knowledge

31. Cultivating our interior life

32. Spiritual but not religious

33. The whispers of God

34. The root of all wisdom

35. Discernment

36. Don't avoid risks – take the right ones

37. A life of purpose and meaning

38. Christian wisdom?

39. I've god heaven on my mind

40. God's will or mine?

41. Persons over things