LINKING life’s lessons

Sometimes, thoughts trickle into my Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) reflections from very unlikely places. I have noticed recently that my focus is interrupted by sources, like my wife asking me to take her to Publix or Trader Joe’s. I always take her, or anyone who asks, without hesitation and cheerfully (not saying I am too busy). In what seemed like a nanno second, I recalled the reason I take people where they want to go with never a whimper.

The year was either 1957 or 1958 (you can tell I am feeling my age of 79.7). I was attending St. Meinrad Seminary High School with about 250 other young aspirants to the Roman Catholic Priesthood. The place was St. Meinrad Archabbey and School, and the occasion was the end of Summer semester. My parents, whom I remember as never complaining because they had to drive 70 miles from Vincennes, Indiana (my home) to St. Meinrad, Indiana, picked me up early one May morning. I had packed all my things and was more than eager to meet them and make the drive home. On the way home, I noticed that there was a new road over some recently dug strip mining countryside. What struck me was the road buckled up and down as well as from side to side, as the land settled from all that mining. We finally made it home. Whenever I come from a big institution like St. Meinrad to my home, and walk in the front door, I am struck at how tiny my home has become That last less than a day and then I adjust to reality. As soon as I entered the door of my home, I realized that I had left some of my clothes and other stuff in my downstairs locker at St. Meinrad. I remember being flush with embarrassment at having to ask my Dad if we could go back and get it. Without such as a deserved comment about my stupidity, he said, “Get in the car, you can practicing driving on the way to St. Meinrad. Let’s have some time together.” My immediate thought was, “What a good Dad I have! I promise that, if I ever get in this situation with another person, I will not seek to put them down but cheerfully take them where they want to go.”

I have never forgotten his life lesson, a transforming type of experience that continues to inform how I act towards others. As my thoughts progressed (remember, all of this happened in less than a second), other life events came to mind, one of which was my introduction to Lay Cistercian spirituality. Although I am a professed Lay Cistercian (five years of fidelity to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus), I will always be a novice at moving from self to God. I am grateful for all of the practices and charisms of the Cistercian spirituality which helps me focus. It is Christ, however, who gives the issue.


All of us are defined by our choices we have made.

Choices we will make are informed by choices we have made.

Unlike other animals, we have both reason and the ability to choose. We learn what is good and bad for us.

Loving others as Christ loves us means we must try to have in ourselves the mind of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)

Heaven is all about linking ourselves with Christ, who is linked with all those who do God’s will.


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