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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Every year during the Christmas Season, there are articles published that are critical of the song, Mary Did You Know. As expected, in early December, Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ, published an article with the title, “The Problem With ‘Mary Did You Know.’” In the article, Fr. McTeigue criticized the following lyrics: “Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new? This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.”
Fr. McTeigue’s complaint was that the lyrics imply that Mary was a sinner who needed to be delivered from her sins. This is contrary to Catholic doctrine which states that Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin from the moment of her immaculate conception, which allowed her to be a pure vessel in which the Son of God could be conceived and born without ever having come into contact with sin.
Another article that was published before Christmas stated that the song implies that Mary was not fully aware that she was the mother of God. The article went on to say that anyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that Mary possessed knowledge that she was the Mother of God, not only because of the Angel Gabriel’s announcement (Luke 1:26-56), but also because of her “song of praise” — known as “The Magnificat” — which indicated that she was aware of her role in the salvation of mankind. Here are the first two sentences of the Magnificat:
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his handmaid. For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; for he who is mighty, has done great things for me and holy is his name. (Luke 1:46-49)
Whenever I read anything about the life of Mary, I think about a book that I read in the early 1980s, while I was in law school. The title of the book was, The Life of The Blessed Virgin Mary. The content for the book was taken from the recorded visions of the well-known 19th-century Catholic mystic, Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774 – 1824).
I recently counted the sexual predators who have been exposed over the past three months who are associated with the mainstream media and the movie and television industries. All of them are men. The number of men who have been outed over the past three months exceeds three dozen.
One of the men who was exposed by the woman he abused is Matthew Weiner, the creator of the award-winning television series, Mad Men. The show premiered in 2007 and ended in 2015, after seven seasons and 92 episodes. During that time, the show won numerous awards, including Golden Globes and Emmys, for its “historical authenticity” and “visual style.”
Mad Men was known as a “period show,” and was based in the early 1960s. The show was about a group of Madison Avenue advertising men. Even though the story line of Mad Men took place in the 1960s, the primary content of the show was centered on adulterous and licentious behavior.
In 2010, I watched one episode of Mad Men and it was obvious to me that like a majority of the modern-day movies and television shows, the men in the show routinely found themselves in situations where they met beautiful young women and then ended up in bed with them the same day they met.
Like the other men who create and produce these types of shows, the creator of Mad Men produced shows that were centered on his own fantasies. He simply had actors play out those fantasies on television.
With the outing of the more than three dozen men in media, television, and the movies, it should be no surprise to anyone that they were simply living out the fantasies that that wrote about — fantasies that always showed men engaging in one-night stands with beautiful young women whom they had only known for a matter of hours.
But the men who got caught went too far. They became animals who used power, intimidation, and force to get their way with women. They should all be charged with crimes and, if convicted, they should be put in prison.
In March 1975, during my senior year in high school, country music singer John Denver released a new single record with the song, Thank God I’m a Country Boy. That year, only six songs made it to the top of both the Billboard Hot Country Singles Charts and the Billboard Hot 100.
At that time, the Billboard Hot 100 included the week’s most popular songs across all genres. Rankings were based on record sales, radio airplay, and jukebox activity.
To this day, whenever I hear Thank God I’m a Country Boy, my spirits are lifted and I feel grateful for what I have.
There’s a video on YouTube of a 1977 TV special, where John Denver performed the song with a backup group that was made up of three additional great country music performers: Johnny Cash, playing the guitar; Roger Miller, playing the fiddle; and Glen Campbell, playing the banjo.
In the area below the YouTube video is a comment from one of Denver’s fans: “I wish I had a time machine, so I could go back and be there.” Most people who were teenagers during the 1970s (including me) would love to go back and “be there” for a performance of their favorite musician.
Denver’s Thank God I’m a Country Boy came to my mind last week when I realized that Thanksgiving Day was right around the corner.
While it’s good that we have a day set aside each year to reflect and be thankful for everything that we have, one day a year is not enough. Unfortunately, most of us are so busy that it’s easy to go several days without consciously giving thanks for what we have.
If you’re familiar with Thank God I’m a Country Boy, you’ll recognize a refrain that’s repeated throughout the song:
Well, I got me a fine wife, I got me old fiddle
When the sun’s comin’ up I got cakes on the griddle
Life ain’t nothin’ but a funny, funny riddle
Thank God I’m a country boy
If you pay attention to the news, you know about the wildfires in California. I’m writing this article on Friday, October 13, 2017. There are currently several fires that are burning out of control in California. Firefighters have not been able to contain any of the fires. So far, more than 5,700 buildings have been destroyed and 34 people have died as a result of the fires.
Thousands of homes are still in danger of being burned to the ground. The path of the fires is completely unpredictable because no one knows how strong the winds are going to get or when the winds will shift course. One of my older brothers, Mike, lives with his wife in Santa Rosa, California, which is one of the cities that was hit by the wildfires. While several areas that surround my brother’s neighborhood were destroyed by fire, his neighborhood was spared. Unfortunately, there’s still a chance that the fire will come roaring back into his neighborhood. I would appreciate it if you would say a prayer that everything will go well for my brother, his wife, and their property.
The wildfires in California came only a month after Hurricane Irma left a devastating path of destruction in the Caribbean, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. In addition to the widespread destruction that was caused by Hurricane Irma, there were 134 deaths, most of which occurred in the United States. A month before Hurricane Irma arrived, hurricane Harvey barreled through Texas causing extensive property damage, flooding, and 77 confirmed deaths.
Of course, each time one of these devastating natural disasters occurs, we are lectured by Hollywood celebrities, the talking heads in the media, and various “experts” from around the world that the disasters are being caused by climate change. We are then told that we should listen to these so-called experts, so they can tell us what needs to be done to eliminate future catastrophic events.
During the spring semester of my junior year in high school (1974), I organized a barbershop quartet. I recruited three of my friends who were in the music program with me at the high school. We started out by practicing at the house of one of the guys in the quartet. We continued practicing throughout the summer and started performing in the fall.
During the summer, I heard about a show that was scheduled to take place at the Shrine Mosque in downtown Peoria. The featured performers for the show consisted of a group of four men — a barbershop quartet — who had won the previous year’s international competition of barbershop quartets. Also performing at the show was a local men’s singing group.
At that time, I had a part-time job at a restaurant that was located inside the Ramada Inn in downtown Peoria. I initially started working as a busboy and was later promoted to room service.
The show was scheduled for a Saturday evening in August. I was not available to attend because I was scheduled to work during the evening of the show. On the night of the show, I convinced my boss to let me off early. After leaving work, I jumped in my car and drove to the Shrine Mosque. As I drove around the back of the building looking for a place to park, I saw a group of four men who were standing next to the building.
I quickly parked my car and walked over to the men and introduced myself. It turned out that they were the featured performers for the show. They told me that it was intermission and they had stepped outside to get some fresh air. A couple of the men were smoking cigarettes.
I explained to them that I was going to be a senior in high school and that I had organized my own barbershop quartet. I told them that I had wanted to attend their performance, but was unable to because I had to work. One of the men responded by telling me that I was welcome to watch the rest of the show from backstage.
In the early summer of 1975, one of my cousins decided that he wanted to try his hand at gardening. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to call him “James.” At the time, James and I were both 18 years old. I knew quite a bit about gardening because I had been in charge of taking care of our large family garden for the previous five years.
James was a “city boy” who knew nothing about gardening. He planted a small garden that consisted of a few tomato plants and some short rows of lettuce, corn, and sweet peas. About a month after James planted his garden, I stopped by to see him and noticed that his garden was overrun by weeds. I told him that the garden was almost beyond the point of no return.
When he asked what I meant, I told him that if he didn’t immediately get rid of all the weeds, they would completely overwhelm and kill off his plants. At that point, he surprised me with this question: “I didn’t plant any weeds, so where did they come from?”
I responded by telling him that the seeds for the weeds had been spread throughout his garden by the wind. I explained to him that because there were weeds almost everywhere — on the sides of roads, in ditches, around buildings, in most yards — there were always small seeds being produced, which were picked up by the wind and carried to other areas.
My cousin never got around to pulling the weeds. As a result, his garden didn’t produce any vegetables. I knew when we had our initial conversation that he would never take the time to pull the weeds or do the work that was necessary to keep additional weeds from growing. He was busy with other things that were more important to him and he didn’t have the time to tend to his garden.
If you’ve ever had a garden, you know that weeds grow faster and are much more pervasive than vegetable plants. If neglected, the weeds quickly and aggressively multiply until they crowd out and suffocate the vegetable plants.
Last week at the end of my weekly Adoration Letter article, I asked a question: “So what can Catholic couples do to stay happily married while the world around them is falling apart?” Before I answer the question, we need to take a look at the Catholic Church’s definition of marriage.
The Modern Catholic Dictionary defines marriage as follows:
As a natural institution, the lasting union of a man and a woman who agree to give and receive rights over each other for the performance of the act of generation and for the fostering of their mutual love.
The state of marriage implies four chief conditions: (1) there must be a union of opposite sexes; it is therefore opposed to all forms of unnatural, homosexual behavior; (2) it is a permanent union until the death of either spouse; (3) it is an exclusive union, so that extramarital acts are a violation of justice; and (4) its permanence and exclusiveness are guaranteed by contract; mere living together, without mutually binding themselves to do so, is concubinage and not marriage.
Christ elevated marriage to a sacrament of the New Law. Christian spouses signify and partake of the mystery of that unity and fruitful love which exists between Christ and his Church, helping each other to attain holiness in their married life and in the rearing and education of their children.
The Son of God declared that there is no power on Earth that can dissolve a valid marriage. It is only His church — the Catholic Church — that has continued to abide by His declaration. Except for Catholicism, there has never been a religion that has believed and taught that marriage is indissoluble.
One of the primary conflicts that arose between Rome and the Eastern Orthodox Church, which eventually resulted in the Eastern Orthodox Church’s separation from Rome, was the practice among the Eastern bishops of repeatedly granting “annulments” without justification.
There’s a new trend that’s been developing among couples who are getting married. They are signing prenuptial agreements that prohibit their partners from posting nude or embarrassing photos on the Internet. A prenuptial agreement has been traditionally defined as a written contract that is signed by a couple prior to marriage. The agreement provides that in the event of a divorce, the couple will be allowed to retain the property that each of them acquired during the marriage.
Prenuptial agreements have historically been used by wealthy people who are concerned that their future spouse may eventually file for divorce and claim half of their assets.
In our modern Internet age, prenuptial agreements are becoming more common among couples who may not have acquired wealth, but are concerned about the actions of their spouses in the event of a divorce. The new language that is included in these agreements is commonly referred to as “social media clauses.”
In a recent article published on the website for CBS Philly, a local television station in Philadelphia, Aaron Weems, a family law attorney in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, commented on this trend: “It’s just a way for people to really put down on paper what the expectations are, that after you’re divorced or when you’re in the midst of a divorce, you’re going to treat each other with respect.”
Weems added, “We don’t live in the age when you can just turn over the photos and burn the negatives and you’ve now prevented yourself from ever having to see something embarrassing exposed. This digital media travels and it’s difficult to remove once it’s on the Internet.”
Can you imagine your grandparents signing a written contract that prohibited them from passing around nude photos of each other to members of the public?
Earlier this year while I was at a church-related function, I ran into some relatives — a married couple — who are about 20 years older than I am. After we talked for short time, a priest (who is in his 60s and a friend of the couple) walked up to us and joined in the conversation.
While we were talking, the wife asked the priest if he had seen a recently released documentary that provides explicit details about corruption in the Vatican. When the priest answered that he had not seen the documentary, the wife proceeded to talk about how appalled she was by what was revealed in the documentary.
The conversation quickly morphed into a discussion about corruption among priests. The priest launched into a long explanation of how the church needs to change its position concerning marriage. He said that it is his belief that it’s unreasonable for the church to expect priests to remain celibate for their entire lives.
In addition to the marriage issue, the priest said that he believes that priests should not be ordained until they are at least 45 years old. He said that when a man is in his 20s, “he’s not mature or experienced enough to understand the seriousness of the commitment that he’s making.”
It appeared to me that the priest and my relatives were in complete agreement on all the topics that were discussed. I kept quiet during the entire conversation except for one occasion when I challenged the priest to back up one particularly egregious statement that he made about the majority of priests in the diocese of Peoria.
I’m not going to repeat that statement here, but I will tell you that the priest was not able to offer any credible evidence that his statement was true. He quickly changed the subject when I continued to push him to provide us with the evidence he had to support his statement.
There’s a business on Main Street in downtown Peoria, across the street from the courthouse, called The Nut House. The inside of the business consists of a tiny storeroom that is lined with glass display cases along three sides. Inside the display cases are numerous trays and jars that contain different types of candy and nuts. On top of the display cases and on shelves attached to the walls are decorative jars that are also filled with candy and nuts. There are at least 200 different items on display that a customer can choose from.
Last month, in one of my Adoration Meditation articles, I quoted from an article I wrote seven years ago about the 10 principal virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary: her profound humility, her lively faith, her blind obedience, her continual mental prayer, her mortification in all things, her surpassing purity, her ardent charity, her heroic patience, her angelic sweetness, and her divine wisdom. I pointed out that I had not done anything in the past seven years to improve my practice of these 10 virtues.
The following week, soon after stopping by The Nut House to purchase some of my favorite nuts, I decided that it was time for me to memorize the 10 principal virtues. To assist me in the memorization process, I decided that each time I wanted to eat some nuts, I had to first write down as many of the 10 principal virtues as I could from memory.
At first, I was able to write down only three or four of the virtues from memory. Each time, before I grabbed some nuts to eat, I wrote down the virtues I remembered and reviewed them against the entire list. The virtues that I forgot, I added to my written list. It took me a couple of weeks, but now I’m able to write down all 10 of the virtues from memory.
An unanticipated consequence has arisen from writing down the virtues every day and committing them to memory: The virtues have started popping into my mind when the need to practice them arises. For example, on several occasions, the words “heroic patience” have come to mind when my patience was being tested by someone, prompting me to soften my tone toward the person I was dealing with. Several times while I’ve been eating, the words “mortification in all things” have come to mind, prompting me to make a small sacrifice by denying myself an additional portion of food. On a couple of occasions when I was feeling discouraged, the words “lively faith” flashed through my mind, prompting me to recite the acts of faith, hope, and love.