Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Way to Peace in The Workplace

A lesson for the workplace. Elder Thaddeus (1914 - 2003) is another modern day holy person who teaches the Way of Love.  He gives us a very practical example that applies to many of us today.
I often remember the story of Sister J. ... Once she came together with an organized group of pilgrims, and complained, saying, 'I cannot bear this any longer!  People are so unkind to each other!’  She went on to say that she was going to look for another job.  I advised her against it, as there were few jobs and a high level of unemployment.  I told her to stop the war she was fighting with her colleagues. 'But I am not fighting with anyone!’ she said.  I explained that, although she was not fighting them physically, she was waging war on her colleagues with her thoughts, by being dissatisfied with her position.
She argued that it [i.e., her work situation] was beyond anyone's endurance.  'Of course it is,' I told her, 'but you can't do it yourself.  You need God's help.  No one knows whether you are praying or not while you are at work.  So, when they start offending you, do not return their offenses --- either with words or with negative thoughts. Try not to offend them even in your thoughts; pray to God that He may send them an angel of peace.  Also ask that He not forget you.  You will not be able to do this immediately.  However, if you always pray like that, you will see how things will change over time, and how people will change as well.  In fact, you too are going to change.’
At that time, I did not know whether she was going to heed my advice.  This happened in the Tumane Monastery in 1980.  In 1981, I was sent to the Vitovnica Monastery.  I was standing underneath the quince tree, when I noticed a group of pilgrims that had arrived.  She was in the group, and she came up to me to receive a blessing.  And this is what she said to me, 'O Father, I had no idea people were so good.'  I asked her whether she was referring to her colleagues at work, and she said she was.  'They have changed so much, Father, it’s unbelievable!  No one offends me anymore, and I can see the change in myself as well.'
If there were just one such person in every company, factory or office!  That would be the way toward peace.  Only one person, who is prayerfully connected to God, is needed; and we will have peace everywhere --- in the family, at work, in the government, and everywhere.  It is in the presence of such a person that we are freed from gloomy and cumbersome thoughts.


Reference: Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of  Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica,  pp 93 - 94

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