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Self Help

I read a book written by Donald Trump and Bill Zanker. To be honest, I only picked it up because the title caught my eye in the new release section at our library. Since this is a family paper you can email me for the title. I do not want to discourage you from reading it but you will need a shower after all the ego. Not that self confidence is bad, it has certainly made Donald and his co author a lot of money but there is plenty to go around in this book. Anyway, co–author Bill Zanker noted that the self help industry is a $19 billion dollar a year industry (pg. 221). After reading that sentence I quickly realized just how many people are looking to make their situations different. But that sentence threw me back to a passage in the Catholic Catechism for Adults. The context of the passage is a discussion about sin but I found a greater application to everyday life. It reads:

“Connected with this is the popular notion of attitude of self-help. According to this attitude, all we need to do is fill the mind with lots of inspirational knowledge and reach out for insights. In this viewpoint, we are able to resolve all our shortfalls by ourselves. But sin is not a weakness we can overcome by our own effort. It is a condition from which we need to be saved. Jesus is our Savior.” (Chp. 6, pg. 72)

I admit upfront I am a fan of self help books and have read many topics from improving memory skills, to leadership. Not until I considered what the new catechism had to say did I fully appreciate that we really need to keep God at top of our various lists. At the top of our budgets, our calendars, friends, and loved ones. This seems obvious but as life ebbs and flows it is hard to do. It does, however, become easier when we begin living as good stewards of our lives.

As we work through the challenges of our personal and parish lives, as we set goals both personally and in our parish, when we have things we want to change, it is wise to go to our Father first. When we ask for guidance and his plan to be revealed to us, all the changes we seek will begin to occur. This does not let us off the hook from picking up good self help type books or going to lectures and classes. It just rearranges the order in which we seek the change. That thing between our ears was designed to be fed, and the plan God has for us may very well be revealed by what we feed that thing. Charlie "Tremendous" Jones has a phrase I use regularly, "You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things, the books you read and the people you meet." The only thing I add to that quote is to get right with the Lord. Going back to the Catechism, it also reads; “Only in the knowledge of God’s plan…can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons” (pg. 72). Whether we are going to lose weight, look for a different job, energize a youth program, or purchase new carpet for the worship space, we have to ask God to reveal his plan for us and our parish family. It will give us the change and the peace we seek.

Email Eric: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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