A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Why Worry?

By Fr Tim Duckworth SM

Some of my friends are particularly good at worrying. It’s an occupation that I sometimes think they actually like – because they have raised its character almost to the level of an art form.

I joke with them and that usually does little to help. The thing is with worrying, that many who are really good at it – find something else to replace their current concern when they discover that whatever was feared will probably not eventuate.

Worrying can be productive – well it can be if it spurs us into action. As an example, if our worrying about an upcoming exam (and the subsequent results) spurs us into a great burst of energy spent studying, then worrying has been productive. If it’s a job interview, then practicing and preparing will help to allay some of the fear.

No matter how many people reassure us that “it will all be alright”, most of us have enough experience to know that will not quiet the gnawing feelings nor lessen the sleepless hours. 

And while I admit to joking with some friends – others really do suffer with worry. Anxiety and resultant depression do affect a good number of people. For them, worrying takes on the character of a debilitating illness.

For all of us, the question “is there anything that I can do today about those things that are worrying me?” is a helpful one. If there is something I can do, then I should, and that might lower my level of concern. Again, this is the productive element of worrying that sometimes exists.

For many of the things that we worry about there are not a lot of solutions. How many parents can honestly say that they don’t worry about a myriad of things that can and might go wrong with their children? And I’m a great one to talk… recently a friend asked me to look after his puppy for the day and I had to constantly check that the cute little dog was not getting into trouble, eating something that he wasn’t supposed to be or destroying the house. With responsibility comes worry.

By now you will be wondering what worry has to do with the Messenger this month. Pope Francis made a feast day for Mary Magdalene a couple of years ago. And as soon as I thought of Mary I remembered her refrain from the musical Jesus Christ, Superstar.

Try not to get worried
Try not to turn on to
Problems that upset you, 

Oh - Don’t you know
Everything’s alright!

So I’ve decided to advocate for Mary Magdalene and suggest that we use her intercession for assistance with worrying. To be honest, Mary has not exactly had it easy for the last two thousand years. She would have had a lot to worry about if she had been concerned about her reputation. Yet the Gospels would indicate that Mary wasn’t really anything other than a good disciple of Jesus.

Giving St. Mary Magdalene the honour of being the first person to see the empty tomb and the first to listen to the truth of the resurrection, Jesus has a special consideration and mercy for this woman, who manifests her love for him, looking for him in the garden with anguish and suffering.

So Mary is a fitting Saint to advocate for us in our moments of worry and anguish. Her feast day, 22 July, might be a good chance to start leaving the worrying to Mary!   

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