Thursday, February 20, 2020

MISSION TRIP THIRTEEN - March 14 - 21, 2020

Flag of the country Saint Vincent and the Grenadines



The Radical Conversion of Heart, Mind and Habits Needed Within the Leaders of the Diocese of Kingstown to Build Diocesan Structures for Strengthening Intentional Evangelization and More Effective Spiritual Leadership 

Father J. Ronald Knott
Doctor of Ministry in Parish Revitalization


“Do not neglect the gift you have. Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to everyone. Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.”
I Timothy 4:14-16

"I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God that you have. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self-control."
II Timothy 1:6-7

I go at the invitation of Bishop Gerard County, C.S.Sp


PART I – Introduction
     1.Why am I here?
     2.What was my reluctance?

PART II – My Background – Who Is This Man Speaking to You?

PART III – The Vision – From Good to Great

PART IV – Start with the Tree

PART V – The Virtues of Leadership 
     1. The Virtue of Magnanimity: A Passionate Commitment to Personal Excellence 
     2. The Virtue of Humility: A Passionate Commitment to Vocational Excellence
     3. The Discipline of Translating a Dream into Reality

PART VI – Spiritual Leadership in General 

PART VII – A Passion for Pastoring: A Call Within a Call 

PART VIII – Preaching for Spiritual Leadership and Personal Sanctification 
     1. Claiming the Pulpit for Spiritual Leadership 
     2. Claiming the Pulpit for Personal Sanctification 

PART VIX – The Three Biggest Threats to Revitalization 
     (a) Lack of Imagination 
     (b) Downward Spiraling Talk 
     (c) Lack of Follow-Through

PART X – Some Practical Suggestions 
     (a) “Trust your camel first, then trust in Allah.” 
     (b) The Principle of Cause and Effect 
     (c) Some Examples of Cause and Effect 
     (d) Coordinator of Local and International Church Volunteers


A New Hymn Written For the Occasion 

Participant's Note-Taking Binder and Reminder Cup

Sunday, February 16, 2020



       I have set before you life and death, the blessing
       and  the curse. Choose  life,  then, that  you  and
      your descendants may live, by  loving  the  Lord
      your God, heeding his voice and  holding fast to
Deuteronomy 30: 19,20

Do you want what’s behind door number one, door number two or door number three? Do you want to keep the new kitchen appliances that you have already won or would you like to trade them for what’s behind the curtain on stage? Some of you may remember the still-running TV show, “Let’s Make a Deal.” 

Contestants in ridiculous costumes were offered choices between a bird in the hand for two in the bush, between what was certain and what was possible. Sometimes people would trade something like a plastic comb for a choice of doors. Sometimes they would end up with a Hawaiian vacation, a room full of furniture or a booby prize. 

The biggest winners were confronted with a second, more difficult choice. They were asked whether they wanted to trade their Hawaiian vacation for what was behind a curtain. They could win a shiny new car or they could end up with a live jackass.

The program was popular, I believe, because it was symbolic of the human predicament. We are constantly faced with a world of choices and sometimes those choices produce great blessings and sometimes they bring disasters. Sometimes we are better off because of our good choices and sometimes we are left to live in a hell of regret because of our bad choices, knowing that we brought ruin on ourselves because of those bad choices. 

I sat down two years ago and traced my own choices and how those choices have affected my life for good or bad. It is an autobiography of sorts that traces the choices I have made since I was six years old and how those choices have affected the way my life has turned out. I put it all in a book. It is entitled Between Courage and Cowardice: Choosing to Do Hard Things for Your Own Good. What I have learned from those reflections is that choosing to do hard things has more often than not brought blessings and growth to my life, while choosing the easy way has more often than not brought me pain and stagnation. 

In your first reading, the Israelites are about to enter the “promised land,” after an arduous trip across the Sinai desert. Before they start their exciting new lives in the land of plenty, Moses lectures them about the necessity of making good choices in a land filled with blessings. He reminds them that there are curses as well. Their happiness will depend, in a great measure, on what they choose. 

In many ways, you and I are still living in a “promised land, flowing with milk and honey.” In this land of freedom, we get to make choices. Our choices affect us, for good or for bad. We need that know that our freedom to choose, does not guarantee that we will make good choices. Making good choices requires, not just knowledge and freedom, but wisdom. We live in a world of unprecedented knowledge on one hand and unprecedented lack of wisdom on the other. The ability to choose from many choices does not guarantee that we will choose wisely. We live in a land full of smart people doing a whole lot of dumb things.  We know a lot of facts and we have been pumped full of information, but at the same time we live in a world knee-deep from the fall-out of people’s bad choices. The freedom to choose from a smorgasbord of choices does not guarantee that we will choose wisely.

My friends, it is important that you are not just smart, but wise. It is important that you choose wisely because your choices can bring blessing to you and those around you or they can bring ruin to you and those of us around you.

This brings me to another point. You were not created just for your own good. As Jesus says to his followers in the gospel reading last Sunday, “No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel basket or under a bed; he puts it on a lamp stand so that whoever comes in can see it,” and in another place, “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Your light must shine.” We don't make choices in a vacuum. Our choices affect other people. 

I would like to end this short homily by quoting Nelson Mandela in his first inaugural speech. He was quoting Marianne Williamson. I can think of nothing better to leave you with than these challenging words.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel secure around you. You were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us. It’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

My friends, make good choices and let your light shine - for your own good and the good of the world in which you will live, work and raise your children, the world the rest of us have to live in as well! 

We hear a lot these days about our freedom to choose. However, that freedom does not guarantee that we will make good choices. We are all suffering from a "failure of wisdom" that is being caused by a lot of smart people making some very stupid choices.  Think before you decide because the easy thing to do is seldom the best thing to do!