September wasn’t a typical month. Yes, there was the back-to-school hoopla and a re-establishment of routines, but for me, two events also consumed a fair amount of my attention: a 5-day girls’ trip to Des Moines with my mom for the International Convention of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, and my oldest son’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor. (For a few more details, you can check out the highlighted links.) If you’re a parent, you know you can’t leave town or host an event without doing A LOT of prep work.
What this meant, in effect, was that I did a poor job of leaving myself a bread-crumb trail of observations for my monthly “wholesome” list. What I DID do, was contemplate what it means to: 1. try to live virtuously, and 2. belong to organizations that affirm and uphold values such as faith, trust, honor, kindness, justice, and thriftiness. Being part of a group holds us accountable to the values we profess.
Not all of us are “joiners,” as they say, but I would guess that most of us like to think of ourselves as “good people.”
A friend of mine told me she once heard a priest ask the following in a homily:
“If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
That certainly would have gotten my attention.
For those of us who are Christians, it is a very pointed and appropriate question.
Rather than offer you 5 wholesome items to consider this month such as films, songs, or even yogurt, I have a few questions for reflection. See if you
- Do I have a personal creed that I (try to) live by?
- What are the components or virtues of this creed? Is it altruistic and centered on serving others, or not?
- How am I doing? Do my daily decisions (big and small) reflect my desires to live by my creed? If not, where do I need to make changes so that the virtues I want to develop further will manifest themselves in my life?
- Do those I love know which virtues matter most to me and why?
- Am I a good role model to the younger people in my life?
If we want to live with purpose and intention, we need to think about what we do and why we do it.
God didn’t create us to be automatons. He gave us reason and choice to promote His love in a world that needs to hear of it so very, very much.
To my Christian brothers and sisters – do not lose heart if you read these questions and realize you are coming up short. I know I am.
Remember that Jesus fills the gap between us and heaven, and He sent us the Advocate, “the Spirit of Truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.” (John 14:17) Don’t give up when the battle is hard. The Holy Spirit fills our hearts and minds with wisdom, knowledge, and holy respect for the Father, and when we rely on Him – and not ourselves – He guides us to the Father’s will.
Think of a time when you offered up a faint prayer – a cry for help – and it was answered in a powerful, inexplicable whisper of peace that filled you from head to toe. You somehow knew the next step to take, the next words to say.
This is a small example of grace. Though we deny and forget God, He has never forgotten us. He’s loved us since before time began.
Perhaps we can take a step today to recommit ourselves to valuing and practicing the virtues He cares about most, leaning into His strength to carry us through.