Since 2001 I’ve been sharing ‘A Better View’ with you in The Catholic Sun, so it is with more than a wee bit of sadness I write my final column. But in keeping with the spirit of the column, it’s also an opportunity to say thanks and share with you one last time the hope, faith and love I tried to incorporate into your lives, your perspectives and my words.
So why is the column ending? Well the editors felt it was time to try something new with the editorial pages. Honestly it was a shock, and not an easy one to have a better view of right off the bat. I share that because it would be disingenuous not to and because you have shared your thoughts and experiences with me through your comments, your letters and the emails you have submitted over the years. Or when you have run into me out in the world and recognized me from my oft outdated picture — no small feat!
I want to say thank you for that. And thank you to all the wonderful people who work at the Sun and have welcomed my words for years.
So here is my going away gift in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas — one last meaningful and relevant retrospective on all of YOUR challenging times. And one you can hopefully pin up on your refrigerator to inspire a better view of everything.
In your families: remember when they get on your nerves that there are many who have no families, and that our ability to help our families is one of the greatest of God’s gifts and the greatest manifestation of our relationship with God for us on Earth. A man died in my condo complex last year and incredibly there was no next of kin whatsoever to give his belongings to. If you have a family that bugs you then take heart.
In your jobs: when you are frustrated and wish you could do something else, go for it. But remember that a job is not just about making money but about how you contribute to the greater good and the greater glory of God. You are living in a nation with unprecedented opportunity to grow, to evolve and to contribute to do that. If you are out of work, thinking about how you can do that with the skills God endowed you with is probably one of the best ways to find a job.
And when money troubles strike, remember what the value of money is: a currency by which we show our appreciation to God and others that help us and the compensation we receive is a symbol of how we help others. Christ instructs us to ask our Father to “Give us this day our daily bread,” not necessarily a new big screen TV. Focus on that and you will surely have a better view of how you may bring the manna you need your way, and how you may bless others with what they need.
In illness: take heart. Pope St. John Paul II reminded us of the value of infirmity and the value of all life. Human beings were not created to be perfect but to love. You can and should do that at all times and in all conditions, for even in the “imperfect” state of illness you can be in a perfect state of love where you seek out how you can help and love others while allowing others to experience God’s grace by helping you. And remember that too when caring for the sick and dealing with them in all matters.
In a recent speech Pope Francis reminded us, “We have been created to love and be loved. God, Who is Love, has created us to make us part of His life, to be loved and to love Him and to love all other people with Him. This is God’s ‘dream’ for man.”
As Catholics, we should look at everything through that lens in good times and during the more challenging ones. Be it our politics, our government, our social issues or our laws. Remember that in all our relationships with those we love in our homes and those we strive to love on the street. And most importantly remember that within the hallowed halls of our churches and religious institutions themselves, where selfishness, self righteousness and judgmental attitudes have no place in our hearts!
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Finally one last note: don’t be afraid of change. I had to remember that regarding this column. Just as the Apostles were challenged to leave their lives and venture out into the world, we must sometimes leave the cozy confines of things, places and people we have grown accustomed to in our lives and venture out.
Be open to the changes God brings forth in your lives, in our nation, in our world and even in our Church. And meet them all with love in your hearts. For He may be leading you closer to your mission. That doesn’t mean you don’t fight for what you value. But when you do, and God still says it’s time to go, then it’s time to go.
And now it is time for me to go.
Be well and be loved!