Adoration

February 24, 2018

I’ll Believe It When I See It

Last week, I wrote about one of the challenges that I have as a lawyer, which is the failure of many of my clients to understand the nature and extent of the work I do for them. Much of what I do as an attorney is hidden from my clients.

When I represent a client on a personal injury case, if I’m able to get the case settled without having to file a lawsuit, it customarily takes from 18 to 22 months to conclude the case. If it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit, it can take up to five years from the date of the injury to get the case resolved.

During the time that I work on a client’s case, there is not much that I do that my client can see, touch, hear, smell, or taste. At the end of the case when I collect my fee, which can at times be substantial, I want my clients to understand the breadth and scope of the work that I performed for them. So what is it that I can do to help them understand the extent of the work that I do on their behalf?

From the beginning of time, man has been a visual creature. The serpent seduced Eve to bite into the apple in part because it was so visibly appealing. I suppose you could call the serpent the first advertising and marketing expert that ever existed. He crafted a compelling and irresistible message that enticed Eve to defy God.

After he described the apple as being beautiful, delicious, and life changing, he appealed to her pride by saying, “All you have to do is bite into it to be like God.” There is no doubt that the tree and its apples were beautiful and inviting to the eye. But it was her ability to actually see in her imagination the future that the serpent painted for her — a future that promised that she and Adam would have the same powers as their God — that convinced her to act.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” That’s what Saint Thomas said after our Lord’s apostles reported to him that Jesus had risen from the dead. Our Lord later reprimanded him for his lack of faith and said, “Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed.” John 20:29

February 17, 2018

The Challenge of Being in a Service Business

Last month, on January 21, 2018, I celebrated the 35th anniversary of the opening my law practice. I graduated from law school in May 1982, and received my license to practice law in November 1982. Two months later, on January 21, 1983, I rented an office from an established Peoria attorney.

Nine years later (1992), I hired my first associate attorney. At that time, I was 35 years old. The attorney that I hired was 10 years younger than me, and had just graduated from law school.

At the time that I hired the attorney, I had an office manager, two full-time secretaries, a full-time receptionist, and a part-time secretary. Hiring an attorney was a big step for me, and I didn’t feel as though I knew enough about running a business to continue to move forward without some assistance.

The same year that I hired the attorney, I signed a contract with Gerber Business Development Corporation to provide me with coaching on how to properly run and grow my business. I had committed to paying the attorney a large salary and I didn’t want to make any catastrophic mistakes in managing and growing my law firm.

I found out about the Gerber company when I read a book that was written by its founder, Michael Gerber. The title of the book was, The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. What Gerber said in his book about small businesses in America hit a raw nerve with me.

I had previously represented several business clients who had done well for a while and then, for one reason or another, had made mistakes that caused their businesses to fail. I had also handled several bankruptcies for individuals who had failed in their own businesses. Many of the businessmen that Gerber wrote about in his book reminded me of my own clients and their failure to succeed in their businesses.

February 10, 2018

The Death of a Special Christ-Like Priest

Georgette and I met on August 4, 1978, when we were both 21 years old. We were married in June 1980, while I was on break from law school. Ten months later, in March 1981, we had our first child, Harry. I graduated from law school in May of the following year.

We moved back to Peoria during the summer of 1982. At that time, Georgette was pregnant with our second child, Anna. I started my law practice in January 1983, and Anna was born the following month. We had our third child, Maria, 13 months later, in March 1984. When Maria was born, I was 26 years old.

It was during this period of time that my mom and my sister Colleen started commenting about how I had become too serious and I needed to lighten up. Colleen is a year and a half younger than me, and of my eight sisters, she was the one I was closest to while we were growing up.

When my mom and sister told me that I had become too serious, I hadn’t realized that my behavior had changed from the young, carefree guy who liked to have a good time and tease other people to an older guy who felt overwhelmed by the burdens of life.

But I wasn’t bothered by their comments about my being too serious. To me, that was what responsible adults did — they grew up and did their best to care for and support their families. In some respects, my mom and my sister were correct. My newfound responsibilities made me feel overwhelmed. At times, I felt as though I was doing well just to keep my head above water. Georgette and I had three babies in three years — Maria was born on Harry’s third birthday — and I was doing my best to support my family while managing my law practice.

Now, more than 30 years later, Georgette and I have 13 grandchildren, with three more on the way. I’m still serious, but I’m having more fun now than I’ve had in years. I’ve given myself permission to lighten up and revert to my childhood when I’m around my grandchildren. Their parents sometimes get irritated with me because they think I get their children riled up too much. But that’s OK with me, because I’m finally able to do what my mom and my sister wanted me to do all those years ago.

February 3, 2018

A Dream & The Greatest Showman

I recently joined my wife and some of our children at a local theater to see the movie, The Greatest Showman. The movie is a musical about the life of P.T. Barnum. It begins when Barnum is a boy. He is the son of a poor tailor who does work for a wealthy man. The man looks down on Barnum and his father, because of their lower-class status.

Barnum is a fun-loving boy who is infatuated with the wealthy man’s daughter. The man knows that Barnum likes his daughter and makes it clear to Barnum that he’ll never be good enough for her. After that, the daughter is sent to finishing school for several years. While she is away at school, she and Barnum continue to keep in contact by writing letters to each other.

Years later, when the daughter returns home from school, she is reunited with Barnum. They end up getting married and starting a family. After borrowing money from a local bank, Barnum buys an old museum building in downtown Manhattan. He then sets up Barnum’s American Museum, which showcases wax figures.

After struggling to make his new business work, Barnum’s children tell him that instead of featuring wax figures, he needs to have characters who are “alive.” Barnum likes the idea and begins searching for and hiring “freaks” to serve as performers. As he is rounding up his new cast of characters, Barnum sings the unique and mesmerizing song, Come Alive.

As Barnum’s new show gains popularity in New York, a reporter for the New York Herald is highly critical of Barnum and his “freak show.” The reporter’s columns about Barnum and his show stir up trouble among certain people in the community, including the upper-class members of the community.

To enhance his reputation with the upper-class, Barnum convinces Philip Carlisle, a local playwright from a wealthy family, to join him in his business. To raise Barnum’s status, Carlisle arranges a trip to Europe for Barnum and his cast of characters to meet Queen Victoria.

January 27, 2018

Why is That Church in a Music Video?

I’ve written before about how I was involved in music during my high school and college years. When I was a senior in high school, I formed a barbershop quartet with three of my friends. I did the same thing in college. While my high school quartet had a limited number of performances, my college quartet performed at several community functions and events.

I’ve always been a big fan of quartets and other a cappella groups. One of the groups that I currently pay attention to is Home Free, an American a cappella singing group that consists of five young men. Home Free got its big break in 2013, when it won a competition on the NBC television show, The Sing-Off. The grand prize that year was $100,000, plus a recording contract with Sony.

Last month, Home Free performed at the Peoria Civic Center. Georgette and I attended the show with some friends. My favorite Home Free song is How Great Thou Art. The music video of the song is posted on YouTube. The video has generated more than 13 million views.

In the video, the group is standing on a hill that is surrounded by several hundred acres of land. The scenery in the background includes cascading slopes and mountains. The beautiful harmony of the group is matched by the gorgeous land that surrounds them. The only building in the video is a small country church, which shows up in a field near the end of the video.

I have the video saved on an iPad that sits on a stand on my bathroom counter. Ordinarily, when I’m in the bathroom in the morning getting ready for work, I use the iPad to play educational, self-improvement, or religious recordings. In the evening while I’m getting ready for bed, I usually use the iPad to listen to music.

My son, Harry, and his wife Kathryn live about five minutes away from where my wife and I live. Because they live so close to us, they’re able to stop by our house to visit on a regular basis. Whenever they stop by for a visit, their two oldest sons, Harry and Liam, immediately start looking around the house for me. Harry is 5 years old and Liam is 3 years old.

January 20, 2018

Why Is It So Hard To Practice Patience?

It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while, I complain directly to God about something that’s bothering me. Last week, my frustration with an ongoing issue finally got to the point that one of my thoughts went up to God in the form of a question: Why can’t you just have an angel appear to me in a dream and tell me what to do? I’m tired of playing these cat and mouse games where I’m always struggling to try to figure out what I should do.

Of course, I immediately felt guilty about addressing God in this manner. Who did I think I was? A prophet? King Solomon? Saint Joseph?

But I get extremely frustrated at times, because while I want to do the right thing, I often feel as though I need specific direction from God. Although I’ve always been good at solving problems, I don’t like it when I have to wait on God to reveal pieces of the puzzle that are needed to solve the problem I’m struggling with.

I’m convinced that one of the primary reasons God operates this way is to teach me the virtues of humility and patience. If He sent an angel to tell me how to solve my problems, I wouldn’t need to learn and practice humility and patience. I would simply wait for instructions from the angel and then take credit for being a special child of God.

Most of us fail to realize that in order to really be humble, we must first suffer humiliations. And we must accept whatever humiliations that come our way with love and gratitude. While humility is the most important of all virtues, the virtue of patience has to be among the top five virtues. Why? Because it’s so difficult to put into practice.

Last week, I wrote about the three grades of patience, which are, to bear difficulties without interior complaint, to use hardships to make progress in virtue, and to desire the cross and afflictions out of love for God and accept them with spiritual joy. It would be impossible to put the three grades of patience into practice if we were to try to do it without God’s assistance.

January 13, 2018

The Difficulties That Arise After Years of Marriage

Last week, I wrote about a couple who was having financial problems because of the husband’s inability to work. Here’s what I wrote at the end of the article:
I’ve been a lawyer for more than 35 years. I’ve dealt with hundreds of couples who, after years of marriage, are facing an unexpected crisis. You would think that after being married for 20 or more years, married couples would be more patient and forgiving of each other than they were when they were newly married. But that’s usually not the case. The fact that they’ve spent years together seems to somehow inhibit their ability to practice real patience and forgiveness toward each other.

Instead of being patient and forgiving, they’re extremely frustrated and angry with each other. Why?

When couples get married, there’s always great hope for the future. With that hope comes the expectation that they will be able to work out all their problems. There is also an expectation that they will someday be able to overcome whatever bad habits or deficiencies they have.

Unfortunately, as each year passes, nothing really changes. Husbands and wives stop making the effort that is required to please each other. It’s almost as if they’ve been through too much together. They’re worn out and exhausted. They’ve run out of patience.

I’ve written before about a saying that is common in the business world: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” This saying stands for the proposition that the more familiar you are with a person, the more contemptible that person becomes.

Over time, as people in the business world become more familiar with each other, their defects and weaknesses become more evident. They are exposed to and become tired of each other’s excuses, bad habits, broken promises, lack of respect, mood swings, angry outbursts, and lack of appreciation. Before long, their patience wears thin, and the slightest infraction causes them to treat each other with contempt.

January 6, 2018

Something Married Couples Face After Years of Marriage

Last week, I had an appointment with a man — I’ll call him Jim — who hired me eight months ago to represent him on a personal injury case. As usual, Jim brought his wife with him to the appointment. I’ve met with Jim and his wife on four occasions over the past eight months. Jim was injured when a large truck disregarded a stop sign and collided with his vehicle in the middle of an intersection. Because of his injuries, Jim has not been able to return to work. He’s been without an income for eight months.

Jim and his wife are in their late 30s. He’s a skilled tradesman who has been a member of a trade union for more than 20 years. Jim has never had any problem finding work, primarily because he is willing to travel to other states to work, when necessary. Since the accident, Jim’s financial situation has become progressively worse. He has had to borrow money to support his wife and children, and he also recently cashed in part of his retirement, so he could keep up with his bills.

Prior to the accident, Jim’s wife did not work outside the home. A few months after the accident, she felt that she had no other choice but to get a job, so she applied for and secured a job at a local business.

Each of the times I’ve met with Jim, he’s been upbeat and happy. He’s an intelligent, good-natured person who likes to talk and tell stories. His wife has come to all his appointments and has always been courteous and friendly — until last week.

Last week, when I entered the conference room to meet with them, Jim was the same as he’s always been, but his wife was quiet and had an angry look on her face. Her demeanor indicated to me that she and Jim either argued on the way to my office, or she was fed up with his situation.

I talked to Jim about his condition and he indicated to me that he was still receiving physical therapy three times a week. He said that he probably wasn’t going to be able to return to work for at least another 10 to 12 months. He told me that before the accident, he worked at the same trade for 20 years.

February 10, 2018

The Death of a Special Christ-Like Priest

Georgette and I met on August 4, 1978, when we were both 21 years old. We were married in June 1980, while I was on break from law school. Ten months later, in March 1981, we had our first child, Harry. I graduated from law school in May of the following year.

We moved back to Peoria during the summer of 1982. At that time, Georgette was pregnant with our second child, Anna. I started my law practice in January 1983, and Anna was born the following month. We had our third child, Maria, 13 months later, in March 1984. When Maria was born, I was 26 years old.

It was during this period of time that my mom and my sister Colleen started commenting about how I had become too serious and I needed to lighten up. Colleen is a year and a half younger than me, and of my eight sisters, she was the one I was closest to while we were growing up.

When my mom and sister told me that I had become too serious, I hadn’t realized that my behavior had changed from the young, carefree guy who liked to have a good time and tease other people to an older guy who felt overwhelmed by the burdens of life.

But I wasn’t bothered by their comments about my being too serious. To me, that was what responsible adults did — they grew up and did their best to care for and support their families. In some respects, my mom and my sister were correct. My newfound responsibilities made me feel overwhelmed. At times, I felt as though I was doing well just to keep my head above water. Georgette and I had three babies in three years — Maria was born on Harry’s third birthday — and I was doing my best to support my family while managing my law practice.

Now, more than 30 years later, Georgette and I have 13 grandchildren, with three more on the way. I’m still serious, but I’m having more fun now than I’ve had in years. I’ve given myself permission to lighten up and revert to my childhood when I’m around my grandchildren. Their parents sometimes get irritated with me because they think I get their children riled up too much. But that’s OK with me, because I’m finally able to do what my mom and my sister wanted me to do all those years ago.

December 2, 2017

Disney World, Casinos, and Advent

If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you may have noticed that all the rides have one thing in common. At the end of each ride, there is no way for you to immediately get back into the open, where you’re allowed to roam around and look for another ride. Before you can do that, you have to walk through a gift shop. The end of each ride is set up so that you are forced to exit into a gift shop.

Disney does a masterful job of controlling the flow of its customers, who are forced to walk past merchandise that is related to the ride they exited from. At every opportunity, Disney tempts and entices its customers to purchase items for themselves and their loved ones. Of all the businesses in the world, Disney is the best at extracting large amounts of money from people.

But Disney isn’t the only company that has the money game figured out. If you’ve ever been in a casino, you know that if you have to go to the restroom, there’s no easy way to get there. Instead of taking a direct route to the restroom, you have no other choice but to walk through a maze of slot machines, video poker machines, and other gaming devices.

Like Disney, the casino owners know that people can be tempted to take part in one more money-extracting event before proceeding to their final destination.

It’s no secret that people can easily be distracted and their attention diverted so they can engage in an activity that they believe will be more enjoyable and pleasurable than what they are doing at the moment.

Some of the highest paid professionals in the United States are the men and women who write advertisements and sales letters for the top companies in the world. These professionals are called “copywriters” and they are experts on human nature and the psychology behind why people buy.

With one compelling headline and sub-headline, a good copywriter can figuratively grab people by the collar and pull them into an advertisement or sales letter and then convince them to buy a product or a service that they may not actually need.

July 15, 2017

Lessons From An Immigrant Entrepreneur

You may have heard of Gary Vaynerchuk. He was born in the Soviet Union in 1975, and his parents immigrated to the United States in 1978. Gary’s nine-member family started out in a studio apartment in New York and later moved to New Jersey. After arriving in New Jersey, Vaynerchuk’s father, Sasha, purchased a local liquor store.

As a boy, Vaynerchuk set up a lemonade stand and quickly turned it into a franchise that ended up generating thousands of dollars in revenue. He also bought, sold, and traded baseball cards. He quickly figured out a way to corner the market for baseball cards in the area where he lived, which resulted in several thousand dollars of profit.

At the age of 14, Vaynerchuk was forced to end his entrepreneurial endeavors and begin working for the family business. He pleaded with his father to let him continue operating his own businesses, but failed to convince his father that he was better off on his own.

While being paid an hourly wage that was much less than what he earned on his own, Vaynerchuk learned the family business from the ground up. After graduating from college in 1999, he took over the day-to-day operations of the business. He renamed the store from Shopper’s Discount Liquors to Wine Library and began advertising online and building relationships with his customers through weekly emails. He grew annual sales from 4 million to 45 million in five years.

Today, Vaynerchuk is worth more than $160 million. His marketing agency, VaynerMedia, employs 700 people and grosses more than $100 million a year. He has written four New York Times bestsellers and was an early investor in Uber, Birchbox, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine described a typical day for Vaynerchuk. Among the numerous things he does to manage his time and grow his business, I picked out three that I believe are critical to his success.

June 24, 2017

The Ravages of Sin

When I was a teenager during the 1970s, the younger sister of a friend of mine died from injuries she sustained when she was hit by a car. Shortly after the accident, the girl’s dad happened to drive past the area where the accident had occurred. As he drove by, he couldn’t see what was going on because there were emergency vehicles that were blocking his view. He said a prayer for anyone who might have been injured in the accident and drove home. He learned later that the person he had prayed for was his daughter.

My friend’s parents were Catholic and their children attended Catholic schools. It wasn’t until several years after the accident that I learned that my friend’s dad had a mistress and had been unfaithful to his wife for several years prior to the accident.

Earlier this year, Mary Tyler Moore, the famous actress who was often referred to as “America’s darling,” died at the age of 80. Moore was born in 1936 in Brooklyn, New York, and was raised Catholic. She attended a Catholic grade school and high school.

Her first of three marriages occurred when she was 18 years old. She had her only child, Richard, the following year. She divorced her first husband when her son was five years old.

In After All, an autobiography that Moore wrote in 1996, she revealed that she had an affair in 1980, while she was married to her second husband. In her book, she wrote, “The Catholic in me was convinced that I was committing a mortal sin. On the other side of the ledger was the undeniable affirmation that I was an appealing woman. I had forgotten.”

Shortly after she had her affair, her 24-year-old son was killed from an accidental gunshot wound to his head. Moore was never the same after the death of her son.

I’m sure you’re aware of the recent criminal sexual abuse case that was filed against Bill Cosby, the famous comedian who for years was referred to as “America’s dad.” Over the past several years, more than 50 women have come forward and accused Cosby of drugging and/or sexually assaulting them. The earliest alleged incident occurred in 1965, a year after Cosby married his wife, Camille, in Pennsylvania, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. The last alleged incident occurred in 2008 at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion.

May 20, 2017

The Countdown Clock Never Stops Ticking

On a Sunday afternoon in May 1987, I drove my family to my parents’ house so that we could visit with them. At the time, Georgette and I had four children — Harry, Anna, Maria, and Laura. When we arrived, my mom wished me a happy birthday. I had turned 30 the previous week. After wishing me a happy birthday, my mom’s first question was, “How does it feel to be 30 years old?”

Before I had a chance to answer, my wife spoke up and said, “He’s been depressed about it.” I looked at my wife and she had a smile on her face. She knew that her comment would stimulate an interesting and unpredictable conversation between me and my mom.

My mom looked at me and said, “Why would you be depressed? You have a lovely wife and four beautiful children. You have everything going for you.” I immediately responded, “Mom, any deadbeat can have four kids. And he doesn’t have to limit himself to one woman to do that! Besides, I’m in debt up to my ears and I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything.”

In a sharp tone of voice, she said, “Shame on you!” while she swung her right hand around and hit me on my left arm. “You know better than to say something like that. God has blessed you more than you know.” She wasn’t done talking. She continued to give me the typical lecture that a loving Catholic mother would give to her little boy when she felt he needed to hear what she had to say.

In reality, beginning at the age of 30, I got a little down every five years as my birthday approached. At the age of 30, 35, 40, and 45, I felt sorry for myself because I didn’t feel as though I had accomplished what I was capable of accomplishing. I’ve always had high expectations for myself and it’s easy for me to get discouraged because I’ve failed to meet those expectations.

March 18, 2017

More About The Big Yellow Giant

I received a lot of interesting feedback last week after I published an article about how various local politicians, business people, and former CAT employees felt as though they were entitled to certain actions and behavior from CAT.

On Friday (March 17), while Georgette and I were having dinner at a restaurant, we ran into a young man from the local Lebanese Community. He told us that he was laid off from CAT in August 2016. Georgette asked him how long he had worked at CAT and he said that he had worked there for more than eight years.

He said that after he was laid off, he immediately began searching for another job. Within a short period of time, he found a job at a manufacturing company in Wisconsin. He left his wife and children in Peoria and moved to Wisconsin to begin working at the new company. He sold his house in Peoria and purchased a house in Wisconsin. He told us that he was going to move his family to Wisconsin on Saturday, March 18.

When Georgette asked him if his seniority at CAT transferred over to the new company, he said no. He then followed up by saying, “You know, that’s just the way it is. I don’t have time to dwell on what I lost. I just need to keep moving forward.”

The man’s comments brought to mind something I wrote in last week’s article: “The opposite of an entitlement mentality is the strongly held belief that instead of someone owing you something, you owe it to yourself to go after what you want in life.”

It’s hard to imagine being forced to move to another state to work at another company and then selling your home, purchasing a new home, and then moving your family to the new state — all within seven months. But that option is always better than the option of incessantly complaining about your old employer, feeling sorry for yourself, waiting for someone to offer you a job, drowning out your problems with alcohol, or becoming so resentful and angry that you end up abusing your wife and children.

February 25, 2017

A Trip to the Theater

Topol - Farewell TourThere are a handful of people in America who are so well known that they are recognized by only one name. Some examples are Cher, Madonna, Hillary, and Rush. For people who have paid attention to theater for the past 40 or more years, there’s another man who is recognized by only one name: “Topol.”

His full name is Chaim Topol, and he’s an Israeli theatrical and film actor and singer. He is best known for his role as Tevye in the stage and film productions of Fiddler on the Roof. In 1972, he won a Golden Globe Award for his performance in the film.

During the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, Topol reprised the role of Tevye in London, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. In 2009, he played the role of Tevye in a “farewell tour” that took place in the United States. In June of that year, my wife and I took several of our children to see Topol perform in Fiddler on the Roof at the Oriental Theater in Chicago.

The show was magnificent. Although Topol was 73 years old, he had the energy and stamina of a 25-year-old man. During intermission, we all agreed that God created Topol to play the part of Tevye.

If you’ve ever been to a production at a theater, you know that at the end of the show there is a “curtain call.” Wikipedia defines a curtain call as a final bow that “occurs at the end of a performance when individuals return to the stage to be recognized by the audience for their performance.”

The curtain call at the end of Fiddler was what you would typically see, with one unexpected twist. As usual, the performers paraded onto the stage to be recognized by the audience. Of course, the last performer to appear and take a bow was Topol. Then he and all the performers held hands and bowed one last time. The curtain then came down.

But the curtain call wasn’t over. Within five seconds, the curtain was raised again. Standing in the center of the stage, facing the audience, was one man — Topol. There was an immediate, deafening roar of applause from the audience that lasted for more than two minutes.

November 26, 2016

Are you on the take?

on-the-takeLast weekend, after Mass at St. Philomena Church, a young woman in her 20s approached me and asked if I would write an article about what it means to show praise and thanksgiving to our Lord. The celebration of the Mass had been in honor of Christ the King and she felt that the upcoming Thanksgiving and Advent seasons provided a perfect opportunity for us to praise and thank God for what he has done for us.

A few days after I talked to the woman, I looked up the word “thanksgiving” in the dictionary. The word was described as an “act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.” The phrase “thank you” was defined as “an expression of gratitude and appreciation to someone.”

Unfortunately, in the world in which we live, there are a lot of people who are accustomed to taking whatever they can from others without showing gratitude or appreciation for what has been given to them. The phrase that is used most often to describe those types of people is that they are “on the take.” People who are on the take have an attitude that they are deserving of what others have, or that they are entitled to take from others because they are less fortunate than the people they are taking from.

This attitude arises out of their envy and resentfulness toward people who have gifts, talents, abilities, or possessions that they don’t have.

People who are envious and resentful have trouble showing gratitude and appreciation toward others. When they fail to express gratitude to those who help them, the people who have previously helped them feel as though they have been taken for granted and stop helping them. This causes the people who failed to show appreciation to become even more envious and resentful.

Gratitude and appreciation are closely linked. An expression of gratitude is the equivalent of an expression of appreciation. There are two primary definitions of the word “appreciation.” The first definition provides that when there is appreciation, an increase in value occurs. Within the context of this definition, the word appreciation is most commonly used in the valuation of assets. For example, when we hear that there has been an appreciation of gold or stocks, we know that those items have increased in value.

November 20, 2016

My Grandmother’s Favorite Priest

fultonsheenThere was a famous priest that my grandmother, Effie Williams, loved to talk about. She was personally familiar with him because after he was ordained, he was assigned to her parish — St. Patrick’s Church in Peoria. Whenever she talked about him, her face would light up.

The one thing she talked about most was his eyes. She said that when he looked at you it was as though his eyes could see right through you — straight into your soul.

The priest was Fr. Fulton J. Sheen, later known as Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. Grandma Effie told me that when Sheen spoke, everyone listened, even the people who were not Catholics. It was as though there was a magnetic force that surrounded him that attracted people to him.

If there was such a force, it came directly from the extraordinary graces he received as a result of the holy hour of adoration he made every day for more than 60 years in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord — from the time he became a priest in 1919, until the time of his death in 1979.

It was a talk that was given by Archbishop Sheen that I listened to on a cassette tape that ignited the flame that eventually turned into a burning desire within me to start the Saint Philomena Perpetual Adoration Program. I don’t remember the year I first listened to the tape, but it was sometime during the 1980s. The tape was part of an album of tapes that I purchased that were made from recordings of a retreat Archbishop Sheen had given to priests and bishops.

The title of the tape was, The Daily Holy Hour. The audio recording of the tape is posted on the home page of my website at Adoration.com. I would strongly encourage you to listen to it. I cannot do justice to Archbishop Sheen’s message by attempting to describe it to you here. You have to hear it with your own ears.

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