Monthly Archives: October 2016

Talking and Walking

When I drive to my parents’ house, I always love to take the back roads.  It takes a bit longer, but I find it peaceful driving through old southern towns with antebellum homes, through the pretty countryside littered with fields of cotton, as well as past a family of cement geese that are always bedecked in the clothes of the season (I’m not kidding.  They live in Blackshear.)  I also love seeing the funny and thought-provoking signs outside the churches that dot the towns south of Dublin once you get off I-16.

During this week’s trip, as I was heading to my parents’ house to clean out 50 years of memories and everyday items, I saw a church sign that spoke to me.  It said simply, “YOUR WALK TALKS LOUDER THAN YOUR TALK TALKS.”

Hmmmm.  How is my walk actually talking these days?  That gave me something to chew on for the next few hours.  And it didn’t always taste that great.

Then, in classic form, God continued to hit me over the head with the same message the next day.  I joined a friend Tuesday night for a Mass being said for her husband, who died earlier this year.  The priest asked us to “live the faith we profess.”  So clearly, I am hearing that it is not just good enough to say we are Christians.  We have to live it.  We can’t just talk to our kids about what they should and should not do, but we need to model it for them (eek).  We need to do more than just show up at Mass or services on Sunday, but work on our prayer and service life during the week.  We need to dabble (or more than just dabble) in Corporal Works of Mercy.  We need to get outside of our comfort zone and do the hard work that God has called us to do.  Yes, that means me.  We can’t just wear a cross on our neck and say we are Christians.  We need to, as St. Francis of Assisi said, “preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.”

I know for many Catholics, the whole “evangelical” thing is hard and not part of our normal M.O.  But we are called to be more than just disciples.  It is easy to say we love God, and that we are Christians.  The hard part is living that – day in, day out.  We are called to proclaim the good news.  That’s the challenging part.

It can be hard, and it can be embarrassing.  I got into a long conversation with a Marine named London in Wal-Mart yesterday.  He seemed anxious to tell me his story about his tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.  He had been shot six times, and showed me his severed finger.  He was going back to Syria for his final tour in a few weeks, and then he plans to retire after 20 years of service.  This man could not have been 38 years old.  I promised him I would keep him in my prayers.

You know how you might say to someone, “I’ll keep you in my prayers,” and then you just don’t do it for whatever reason.  It doesn’t even have to be a bad reason.  I think I really need to walk my talk and not just talk my talk and actually pray for London.  I need to pray for his safe return to his mom after his final tour.  I need to pray that he gets a good job when he returns after giving the last 20 years of his life for our country.  I get to give a face to the “American soldiers fighting for our freedom” who we pray for every week at Mass that I can’t always get my head around, even though I have family members in the military.

“Do as I say and not as I do” might be easier for us as parents, but I am going to work on the “do as I do” part a little more.  Thanks St. Francis.  Thanks random church in south Georgia.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16

 “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”  – 1 John 3:18

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Hoping for a Little More Hope

My daughter, husband and I just got back from our first official trip to look at colleges.  First of all, I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence.  Second, I want to go back to college.  But I digress.  Of all the things that surprised me about this trip, the thing that surprised me the most was the college students I came into contact with.  Their excitement, enthusiasm, and passion for what they were studying and what they were hoping to do with their degrees was absolutely contagious.  With all the discouraging words being shouted by talk radio and the news media about the state of our union, it was so refreshing to hear positivity and hopefulness coming from these perky tour guides and students.

Maybe you still have the enthusiasm you did when you were 21, and the world was your oyster.  Maybe you are at mid-life and are rethinking how you want to move forward with your time, energy and passions.  Maybe you are feeling really hopeful right now, or maybe you need a reminder of hope with all the uncertainty that life as an adult brings.

Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta said,

“You and I have been created for greater things.  We have not been created to just pass through this life without aim.  And that greater aim is to love and be loved.  Give yourself fully to God, who will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your weakness.  Never think that a small action done to your neighbor is not worth much.  It is not how much we do that is pleasing to God, but how much love we put into the doing.”

So maybe we aren’t going to conquer the world like we thought we would when we were in college.  But we can still find that “greater thing” that God has created uniquely for each one of us.  And I have to keep reminding myself that the “greater thing” may not be worth talking about at a party, get reported in the Atlanta Business Chronicle or make me tons of money.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23

“The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” – Psalm 121:7-8

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Today I’m just going to try and be more hopeful.  That’s a start.