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by Matthew Kelly
Made for More
by Father Bob Sherry
by Don L.
Several years ago, I took a month to walk the Camino – a five hundred mile pilgrimage from the south of France to the west coast of Spain. For a month, I lived out of a backpack that weighed less than twenty pounds. It’s amazing how little we actually need to survive.
In fact, it’s amazing how little we need to thrive. And lately I’ve been thinking that in some ways, the less we encumber our lives with busyness and stuff, the more we thrive.
You see, so little is actually necessary. Sure, we can find reasons and excuses to do things and have things… and keep things that we have not used for a long time and will probably never use again. But so little is actually necessary to thrive.
It’s time for spring-cleaning.
Work out what is essential to your life, your happiness, your growth, your walk with God, and cast off everything else.
Simplify. You will soar if you do.
De-clutter your closet, yes, but also your mind and your schedule.
Do less. Have less. Live more.
Make this a spring to remember by embracing the simplicity, and casting off everything that is not absolutely necessary.
If we let him, he will help us discover the real story of the adventure in our life – that we were made for more. For his revelation is the drama of the soul’s choice.
— From “Made for More” by Curtis Martin
Not too long ago, I was asked to give a lecture on ethics at the University of Colorado. The question at hand was, "Is it ethical to buy a term paper online?" At first glance the question seemed a bit silly, but as with any such questions, of you scratch the surface a bit, there might be something more significant waiting to be discovered.
I began my presentation by making an assumption. "I think most of us would agree that if we bought all of our term papers online, that would be unethical. But let's take a look at the hard case. Imagine that you have never bought a term paper, never cheated on an exam, and you are weeks away from graduating. It is just before final exams, and term papers are due. You have three major papers due all in the same week. Some unexpected circumstances arise and, despite your best efforts, you can get only two of the three papers done. If you don't get the third paper in, you will fail the course. If you fail the course, you will not be able to graduate. What then? Would it be all right to go online and buy a term paper?"
I gave them a few minutes to ponder the issue. Nobody spoke.
"Let me ask you this. Why would you want to buy the term paper?"
I waited for a response. After a few moments one brave soul spoke up: "Because I want to pass the class."
I responded, "That's a very good reason. Why do you want to pass the course?"
Another pause and then someone else said, "Because I want to graduate."
I replied, "That is a really good motivation. Graduating from college is a noble goal. So why do you want to graduate?" A third voice came from the crowd. "Because a college degree is an important part of a solid resume."
"A solid resume, seems like a good thing. Why do you want one?"
"Because I want to get a good job."
"Great! A good job is a really good thing. Why do you want one?"
"Because I want to make a lot of money."
There were a few chuckles from the audience, but I pressed on and encouraged them: "Money is a really good thing. Why do you want a lot of money?"
"Because I want to buy nice things."
"Makes sense to me. But why do you want nice things?"
"Because I want to be happy."
I smiled and waited for a few seconds. This answer was a bit different from all the others. Each of the previous responses referenced a means to and end, a way of getting something greater. Happiness is different; it is the reason we act. If you think about it, happiness is almost always why we do what we do.
We want to be happy; it is as though we were made for happiness.
Does cheating lead to happiness? No, having to look myself in the mirror and admit that I am a cheater does not bring me joy.
If becoming a cheater is not the source of true happiness, then it is unethical to buy a term paper, because ethics is all about doing what is right so that we can cultivate authentic happiness. Ethics and morality are not intended as rules just to keep us in line; they are guides to lead us towards happiness.
If we want to examine the evidence for heaven, the best place to start is with the historical person known as Jesus of Nazareth. In his life, teachings, death and resurrection, he shows us that we have been created to live a life of greatness here on earth and to live in everlasting happiness while giving him glory forever. If we let him, he will help us discover the real story of the adventure in our life - that we were made for more. For his revelation is the drama of the soul's choice.
My mother was born just five years before there was an officially designated mother’s Day. After her own mother’s death in May of 1905, Anna Jarvis slowly built a campaign to set aside a day of reverence and contemplation to honor all mothers. Following a joint resolution of Congress, in 1914, President Wilson signed such a proclamation.
However, some say that after a few years, as the day turned too much to commercialization and sentimentality, Ms. Jarvis spent the rest of her days trying to take back, rescind, mother’s Day. She reportedly stated: “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world….And candy! You take a box to mother and then eat most of it yourself.”
Ms. Jarvis presents quite a job description for mothers: “The woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world.” Cards and candy do not constitute an adequate response for such effort. Not much really does. God says: Honor your father and your mother. Remembering mothers in your daily Prayer Process would be appreciated (at least, I know, by my mother, when living and now, when dead). Let us know how you honor your mother this year. If you need a copy of The Prayer Process, just say so. The Prayer Process is good for other occasions as well. Prayer is always adequate!
Let me know how you did it. FrBob.Sherry@dynamiccatholic.com
My name is Don Lehman and I’m a 37 year old father of four. I attended your conference this morning at St. Patrick’s in Hubbard, Ohio, with my wife, my oldest daughter, and my parents. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to say hello to me and sign a few copies of your book for my daughters Sierra and Corinne. The girls were very excited to receive them. I wanted to say that the entire experience was tremendous, your presentation was powerful, and the content was engaging. With that said, as great as it was, that’s not why I am writing this email.
I am writing this email to thank you for bringing my family together. Jesus worked through you and your people today and entered the hearts of my family. My family has recently gone through some very trying times. I won’t go into details but the issues have driven wedges into my family. They have had my mother, the source of my faith, questioning her faith. They have had my father, who had previously been very active in the church, shy away. As for me, these events have made me realize how important my faith is to me and my family. I know that all things are possible through God, and what transpired today with my family reaffirms that to me. My mother decided to attend the women’s renewal weekend that I had been trying to talk her into. My wife also committed to the renewal weekend, and talked about asking her mother to join her. My father looked like he was floating on air. Like he finally let the hurt out while singing his praise. I haven’t seen him smile like that in a very long time. My daughter could not stop telling us how happy she was that we were all there with her. We left the conference, picked up our sons, and we all went to eat together and talked about what we each took from the conference. My family was happy today. We are truly happy and I thank you for coming to our church and allowing Jesus to use you as his match to light the fire in our hearts.
You are doing very important work and if there is ever anything I can do to help you please let me know.
Your Brother in Christ,
Don Lehman Jr
Want to share your story? Write us at email@example.com
Making time for each other isn’t that difficult if you think about how to anchor the time around already established routines at home.
Life is short, and the holidays fly by. Don’t waste this time texting your friends about how crazy your family is making you (even if it’s true). Do your best to be present to them, seek to understand and to love.
Waking up early is a war. It is a battle against the self. You are your enemy. And there is only one way to win the war: Discipline.
When you choose to be the-best-version-of-yourself, when you exercise virtue and strength of character, you impact the world more than you will ever know.