Tuesday, May 5, 2020



I borrowed this word from St. Paul as a name for my little publishing company. 

Timothy, fellow missionary of Paul, was a young man who faced his own crisis at the beginning of his ministry and offers us a model of fidelity in spite of crushing disappointment. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul writes to a young man who wants to give up and come home. Paul reminds Timothy that the Spirit gives us three things, during times like this, to continue their work: dunymis, agape and sophronismos - strength, practical help and the ability to control oneself in the face of panic.

Every Catholic, if he or she is to survive and thrive in today’s world, must find that peaceful center, that inmost calm that no storm can shake, that anxiety free place where one waits in joyful hope, that place of grace under pressure, that solid foundation on which his or her house can withstand any storm, that peace of mind and heart that only God can give. This is why the prayer life of a believer is so essential, it keeps us connected to an underground stream of peace and calm no matter what the weather is above ground! (See Psalm 1)

Times of crisis are normal. They are to be expected. If they are normal and to be expected, then we need to develop the inner strength to face them, deal with them and overcome them. Eleanor Roosevelt put it this way, “You gain strength, courage and confidence every time you look fear in the face. We must do the thing we think we cannot do.”

During this pandemic, I wish you sophronismos – the ability to know what to do in the face of panic, the ability to keep your cool. You can do this! We must do this! A favorite poem by Rudyard Kipling seems to be appropriate here.


                                   If you can keep your head when all about you
                                   Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
                                   If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
                                   But make allowance for their doubting too,
                                   If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
                                   Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
                                   Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
                                   And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

                                   If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
                                   If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
                                   If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
                                   And treat those two imposters just the same;
                                   If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
                                   Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
                                   Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
                                   And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

                                   If you can make one heap of all your winnings
                                   And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
                                   And lose, and start again at your beginnings
                                   And never breath a word about your loss;
                                   If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
                                   To serve your turn long after they are gone,
                                   And so hold on when there is nothing in you
                                   Except the Will which says to them; “Hold on!”

                                   If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
                                   Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch,
                                   If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
                                   If all men count with you, but none too much,
                                   If you can fill the unforgiving minute
                                   With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
                                   Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it,
                                   And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Let me share another of my favorite quotes from W. H. Murray. It serves as a reminder that the God who called us to fidelity, stands ready to help, empower and equip us for our various vocations. We are not in this alone.  Once we commit, help is on its way.

                                      Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw
                                      back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative
                                      (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of
                                      which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that
                                      the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence
                                      moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would
                                      never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues
                                      from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen
                                      incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could
                                      have dreamed would have come his way.



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