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May 03, 2020 Sunday 01:10:14 PM IST

Who is in Control of Your LIfe?

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It was the last Monday of March, 1981. President Ronald Reagan had been  in power only 70 days. After attending a function at the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., the President was walking toward his car. John Hinkley, who was waiting for him among the numerous onlookers and well-wishers, shot at the President with a revolver. Not once, but six times. The wounded President was immediately rushed to the hospital. When the assassination attempt became known there was total pandemonium. Vice President George Bush was away in Texas flying in a plane where he could not be reached. 
White House reporters rushed to the Press Room and clamored for information. “Who is in control here?” one of the reporters asked Secretary of State Alexander Haig who was briefing the reporters. “I am in control here,” he asserted without hesitation. “Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, Vice President and the Secretary of State, in that order, and should the President decide he wants to transfer the helm to the Vice President, he will do so.” However, Haig was wrong. According to the U.S. Constitution the House Speaker and the Senate’s President pro tempore come before the Secretary of State in the line of succession. Haig’s ignorance about the line of succession, and his assertion that he was in control, cost him dearly.
Suppose somebody asks us about who is in control of our life, what will be our answer? Most probably our answer will be, “I am in control of my life.” But really, are we in control of our life? The fact is, often we are controlled by our passions and bad habits. And many are slaves of alcohol and drugs. Then there are those who are led by superstitions and meaningless philosophies. While we claim that we are in control, our life often deviates from right paths causing extensive damage to us.

There are times airplanes crash, going out of control due to bad weather, or system failure. Motor vehicle accidents are a daily phenomenon due to drunken driving or overspeed or bad road conditions. The case of human beings is also not very different. All around us we see people going out of control and ending in total disaster. At least when we see these things, we should ask the question, who is in control of my life?
The Italian Saint John Bosco (1815-1888) was a pioneer in educating the poor and mentoring the youth who founded the religious community of the Salesians.  Once, John Bosco was traveling in a horse carriage. He liked the horse as it was well-groomed and looked eager to serve. “Your horse is smart-looking and well trained,” he said to the coachman admiringly. “Yes, he is,” replied the coachman. “He should be smart-looking as I spend almost two hours every day to give him a bath and to brush him.” “That is wonderful,” said John Bosco. “But how many hours a day do you spend on yourself?”
As John Bosco reminded the coachman, it is very important that we spend some time disciplining ourselves and making ourselves better in every way. If we like to have control of our lives we must definitely have discipline. Without proper discipline we will never be able to control our lives. That means we need to spend some time on ourselves every day evaluating our thoughts, words and actions, and making amends and corrections as needed. It is only when we are able to control our thoughts, words and actions can we claim that we are in control of our life. 

However, having control of our thoughts, words and actions doesn’t guarantee a happy and successful life. It is only by surrendering the control to God that we can find true happiness and success. In other words, it is only when we walk with him doing his will that we find true success and peace. And the fact is, God is in control of our life. It is when we acknowledge this reality and act accordingly, that we find the real path to a happy and successful life.

Fr. Jose Panthaplamthottiyil, CMI

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