The commencement speech President Obama should have delivered at Notre Dame

By Laurie Higgins, DSA Director –Illinois Family Institute

I can think of no more fitting way to conclude the school year than with excerpts from the retirement speech delivered by retiring Glenbrook North High School social studies teacher, James McPherrin, who is retiring after 33 years of teaching.

The words he expressed put to shame countless commencement speeches by celebrities who have little to offer students other than pedestrian cliches. It would behoove administrators, faculty, and students to hear Mr. McPherrin’s speech at the start and end of every school year.

Mr. McPherrin offers wisdom and erudition through eloquent prose that points those who have ears to hear toward truth:

St. Thomas More, the intrepid 16th century chancellor to King Henry VIII of England, once said, “When statesmen forsake their own private consciences for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.” Now, I would suggest that the very same quotation might be tailored so as to apply directly to teachers. It would read, “When teachers forsake their own private consciences for the sake of their public school duties, they lead their students by a short route to chaos.”

Thomas More was among the sterling individuals in the western intellectual tradition who understood well the necessary relationship between the natural law and the human law, and that circumstances often challenge us to acknowledge the rational demands the former places upon the latter. More, as we know, would later sacrifice his very life in defense of that compelling idea. In essence, dear colleagues, please consider that our cardinal duty as instructors of the young is to shepherd them in their journey towards truth.

Whether it be European History, English Lit, Calc, Phys Ed, or Music, our task is to foster in students a love for and desire to acknowledge what is true. If such a premise does not inspire our efforts, then I’m afraid they might well be for naught. Make it your purpose to ignite the element of intellectual longing that exists in all young people; that desire to know, that desire to bring order out of chaos. Give them that education to which the English writer, G.K. Chesterton, alluded, when he said, “Many are schooled, but few are educated.” There is a difference, and it would behoove us all to acknowledge it openly.

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When grace is not enough

by Doug Lawrence

I often receive emails and inquiries from good, prayerful, practicing Catholics who seem to have a hard time translating the graces they most certainly receive from God, into practical blessings.

My constant reply to people in this situation is to remember to pray first, for wisdom … since without sufficient wisdom, abundant graces often go unused and/or misapplied.

I also typically point out that God gives us graces, virtues, and other gifts because he loves us … but also for his own glory … so that his will might be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.

Which brings us right back to the critical importance of always remembering to pray for an increase in wisdom.

The epistle of St. James reads:

But if any of you want wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all men abundantly and upbraideth not. And it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

In other words … if you, as a faithful, practicing Catholic, need wisdom … fervently ask God to give it to you. He will never say no … he will never take offense … and he will grant it to you in supernatural abundance.

What could be simpler than that?

Common wisdom is no longer common

The early bird might get the worm, but it’s the SECOND mouse that typically gets to eat the cheese.

Submitted by Sharon F.

Words of Wisdom: The Paradox of Our Times.

There are taller buildings… but shorter tempers;
Wider freeways… but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more… but have less;
We buy more… but enjoy it less.
We have bigger houses… and smaller families;
More conveniences… but less time.
We have more degrees… but less sense;
More knowledge… but less judgment;
More experts… but more problems; More medicine… but less wellness.
We have multiplied our possessions… but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom… and hate too often.
We have learned how to make a living… but not a life.
We’ve added years to life… but not life to years.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back…
But we have difficulty crossing the street to meet the neighbors.
We’ve conquered outer space… but not our inner space.
We’ve cleaned the air… but polluted the soul.
We have split the atom… but not our prejudice.
We have higher incomes… but lower morals.
We’ve become long on quantity… but short on quality.
These are the times of tall men… and short character;
Of steep profits… and shallow relationships.
These are times of world peace… but domestic warfare.
These are days of more leisure… but less fun;
Of more kinds of food… but less nutrition.
These are days of two incomes… but more divorce;
Of fancier houses… but broken homes.
We can choose to ignore these sad facts of life…
Or we can choose to make a difference.
Christ has no body on earth but ours,
He has no hands but our hands…
We have only one life, which soon will pass,
And those acts we perform for Christ
are the only that will last!
We must sacrifice ourselves for souls!
[ Author unknown]
Submitted by Bob Stanley

True compassion leads to understanding, repentance and (hopefully) forgiveness

GUEST COLUMN
Are You Compassionate?

September 2005By Abbot Joseph

Abbot Joseph, a monk for 22 years, has for the past five years been the Abbot of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Redwood Valley, California, a Byzantine-rite monastery in the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

I have nothing but compassion for people who misuse the term “compassion.” This does not mean that I tolerate such misuse in the least, as you will see. One of the most beautiful divine qualities, in which we are invited to share — “Be compassionate as my Father is compassionate” (Lk. 6:36) — is all too often twisted into something that is tantamount to offering people a license to sin. “Compassion,” in modern parlance, means something like universal tolerance with a dose of sentimentality, which turns a blind eye to evil. In the Byzantine tradition, Christ is often called “The Lover of Mankind” and “The Compassionate One.” But He is never referred to as “The Tolerant One,” and with good reason.

Read the article

Submitted by Don H.

Some Words of Wisdom From A Good Priest

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A few links to the wise words and faithful teachings of Father Dwyer … from Bob Stanley … The Catholic Treasure Chest.

Father Dwyer on the Church

Father Dwyer on the Mass

Father Dwyer’s humor

Food for thought from Father Dwyer

Father Dwyer … speaking about the Blessed Virgin Mary

“Top 100 Sayings” of Fr. Luke Zimmer