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Flat Tire on a Frozen Night

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It was one of those frozen January nights that zaps a chill through every bone in your body. I was on my way home from work when I made a quick stop at the grocery store. My goal was to run in, grab some lunch items for the week, then head home to my waiting warm house. I dashed through the aisles, paid for my two bags of groceries, then ran to my car. As I started the engine, my auto-headlights popped on…and I immediately saw her.

She stood next the passenger side of her car, a jack in one hand and a tire iron in the other. She was staring at them both, hoping that they would magically reveal instructions on how to use them. Her right front tire was completely flat.

“You should help her,” was the voice I heard in my head. I instantly responded with a litany of excuses: I don’t have proper gloves, this jacket is really thin, I’m wearing dress shoes, I don’t have a hat. I could have kept going, looking for any logical reason not to help this woman. But then I heard another voice in my head: “Do whatever he tells you.” The words of Mary echoed in my brain.

I opened the door and jogged to the car. “Can I help you out?”

Together we discovered how the jack for this vehicle works, finding the notch under the body’s frame to lift the car off the ground. I pried the lug nuts off the tire (after a lot of grunting and moaning). The whole episode took ten minutes. She thanked me with a warm (yet frozen) smile, and we both got into our cars and headed home. I replayed the whole episode in my mind as I drove:

She had told me that she didn’t have anyone to call for help. She just moved to the area, didn’t have AAA, and didn’t even know who to call in the area for things like this. “I know that I should know how to change a tire…somehow I never got around to it. I just said a prayer and asked God to help me figure this out.”

That’s when I was called. And Mary helped me listen. I can list all the excuses in the world not to do something, but there is only one reason to actually do it.

“Do whatever he tells you.”

Spiritual Investments

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Recently, I had a discussion with Dave, my financial advisor. He wanted to update me on investments, as well as guide me in making decisions on what to do with the money I have been saving. He says this every time, but he knows it’s worth repeating: “Our ultimate goal is to get you ready for retirement.”

When I first met Dave and he discussed us working together, he mentioned three points of importance:

  • You need a plan. If you don’t have a financial plan, you will never be prepared for retirement.
  • While the short term is important, it’s really all about looking at the long term picture. Don’t be afraid of mistakes and failures. You will win in the long run.
  • You need to be persistent. Your money needs to keep growing. You can’t borrow against it or use it for an emergency with plans to pay it back. (You never will.)

While many of us have financial plans for our future, we don’t always talk about our spiritual investments.

  • You need a plan. Living a life of faith just doesn’t happen. You need to invest in the power of doing good. Everything starts with a good intention. The secret is to discover how to put your intention into action.
  • While the short term is important, it’s really all about looking at the long term picture. Living a life of faith takes energy. As humans, we get selfish. We get crabby. We often forget about taking care of each other. If we stick with our plan, the long term picture only gets stronger.
  • You need to be persistent. Living a life of faith is not a part-time-Sunday-morning-when-I-feel-like-it type of job. It’s a life choice. Who do you want to be? What’s your plan? How are you going to stick with it every single day of your life?

I trust Dave to guide me with my money. I trust God to guide me in my faith. And I know both will be earning interest and paying high dividends.

Posted by Dan Herda
in Faith, Love

God's Love For Us

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I love Christmas time! Yes, partially because my birthday is Christmas Eve and usually kicks off the Christmas festivities for my family, but also because the Church takes this time after Christmas to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas - God’s love for us.

No other deity that has ever been worshiped has desired a relationship with humanity. No other deity that has ever been thought of has desired eternity with humanity. This is the heart of our faith—that we have a God who loves us, desires to have a relationship with us, and hopes to spend eternity with us. So much so that God sent the Word to become man: to walk this earth, eat with us, cry with us, laugh with us, and to show us how to get to heaven. He loved us to the point of becoming vulnerable with us, even coming as an infant.

I am a relatively new parent. I think of everything my son needs me to do for him daily:  feed him, change his diapers, get him dressed, and snuggle him when he gets hurt. As much as he is growing and learning, he is still dependent on us.

Jesus allowed for Mary and Joseph to care for Him. We are capable of loving God. As in any relationship, to love someone is a commitment. God shows His commitment to us by giving us free will, and by becoming man even while knowing that we would still face temptation and sin. He instituted the sacraments to right our relationship with him and fall more in love with him.

My hope is that this Christmas season, you encounter God’s love anew in the infant Jesus and make a commitment to grow in your love for Him.

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