A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of willingly choosing to accept less freedom in order to become something greater than what we already are. When we choose to consistently give up certain freedoms, we become much more responsible, and we are eventually able to achieve more than we would have ever thought was possible. This is a critical concept that must be understood and practiced by those of us who are serious about becoming what God intended us to be.
Last week I wrote about the first step that a person needs to take to begin the process of overcoming his or her limitations, faults, and fears. That first step is to work daily at overcoming pride. None of us can completely eliminate pride. It will always be with us. But if we focus daily on replacing our pride with humility, we will eventually be able to minimize the impact that pride has our thinking, behavior, and reaction to others.
If you pay any attention to the national news, you know about the mass murder of 59 people last month by a lone gunman in Las Vegas. You also know about the terrorist in New York who killed eight people by driving a rented truck into a crowded bike path. In addition to the killings, within the past month, there has been a wave of news stories about several well-known Hollywood male executives and celebrities who have been accused of routinely abusing women and getting away with it.
The year was 1970. I was in the eighth grade at St. Mark’s school in Peoria. I remember the day like it was yesterday. One of my classmates — I’ll call him Paul — brought a Polaroid picture to school to show to his friends. Paul and I were the same age — 13 years old. The person in the picture was the girlfriend of Paul’s older brother. She and Paul’s brother were in high school. She was a student at Academy of Our Lady and Paul’s brother was a student at Spalding Institute.
Last week, I wrote about how I was able to convince a prosecuting attorney to agree to reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor for a client who had been accused of committing a serious crime. The attorney accused me of being a whiner when I refused to stop pushing him to work with me. In the end, I got what I wanted; he agreed to reduce the charge.
After I graduated from Saint Louis University law school in 1982, my wife and I moved back to Peoria. At that time, my wife was pregnant with our second child. Shortly after returning to Peoria, I began teaching CCD classes on Sunday mornings at St. Sharbel Catholic Church to seventh- and eighth-grade students.
Last week, I reread two documents: the U.S. Constitution, which was written more than 200 years ago, and The Communist Manifesto, which was written more than 150 years ago. James Madison and the other authors of the Constitution were primarily concerned with guaranteeing the freedom and liberty of all Americans by placing severe limitations on the power of the federal government. Karl Marx, the author of The Communist Manifesto, mapped out what would become a blueprint for dictators whose primary aim was to achieve power by exercising complete control over the lives of their citizens.