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Giving Glory to God

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As Mass ended last Sunday and we began to sing the final hymn, I thought about what the deacon had just recited as the final words of the service. This one sentence, these nine simple words, are our instructions for the week ahead:

“Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”

Those are powerful words and I wanted to really understand them as I walked out the door.

“Go in peace…” We are called to action: leave the church with peace in our hearts so that we can spread that peace wherever we go. That’s not always easy. Egos are very fragile these days, and arguments erupt for no reason at all. It’s happening in our streets, in our neighborhoods, even in our living rooms. If we remember these three words, and we believe these words, then we have a chance to shape the minds and hearts of those around us.

“…glorifying the Lord by your life.” Wow. This is quite a challenge. Not only are we asked to give glory and honor to God, we’re asked to do it through how we live our lives! That means asking a lot of questions:

  • Is everything I’m saying giving glory to God?
  • Is everything I’m doing giving glory to God?
  • Is every decision I make giving glory to God?

This one sentence seems so simple and straight forward. But these simple words carry a great deal of responsibility.

“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”- Pope John Paul II

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

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