Sin

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.

December 16, 2017

Hollywood Predators and Our Consent-Based Culture

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.

November 4, 2017

Killers, Terrorists, and Criminally Abusive Men

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.

There’s something that the killers and the abusive men have in common. Do you know what it is?

Prior to their criminal acts, these men’s hearts turned cold and black. Over time, the evil values that they embraced became embedded within their hearts.

With each of the incidents that were referenced above, the mainstream media followed the same path that they always follow. They spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what was going on in the minds of the men who had committed the crimes. As usual, they couldn’t figure out why the men had behaved the way they did.

While the media always consults with so-called experts to figure out what’s going on in the minds of the criminals, they should instead be focusing on what’s going on in the hearts of the criminals.

Behavioral experts have been trying to explain and understand human behavior for centuries. The oldest model for understanding human behavior dates back to at least the time of the Greeks and maybe even to the time of the Egyptians.

Back then, experts focused on three elements of human behavior. The first element of behavior was known as “cognitive,” which is related to the conscious, intellectual activity of the brain (thinking, reasoning, and remembering).

The second element of behavior was known as “affective,” which is related to the emotional and feeling attributes that each of us have.

October 7, 2017

What is a Bump Stock?

If you pay any attention to the news, you know about the massacre that took place in Las Vegas on Sunday, October 1, 2017. The evidence so far indicates that there was a lone gunman on the 32nd floor of a major hotel who repeatedly shot bullets into a large crowd.

He ended up killing 58 people and wounding 489 other people. The crowd that the gunman shot into was gathered for the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a country music event that is held annually on a 15-acre lot next to Las Vegas Boulevard (formerly U.S. Route 91). This year’s event was attended by more than 22,000 people.

Within hours of the massacre, a number of politicians, Hollywood celebrities, and big-media news broadcasters demanded that the federal government pass new gun-control laws. Within 24 hours of the shooting, several members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives were suggesting that a gun accessory called a “bump stock” be outlawed.

Before long, it seemed as though most people who were in positions of power were in support of banning bump stocks. Prior to the shooting, very few people had ever heard of a bump stock. When reporters interviewed gun shop owners, the reporters found out that most of the owners didn’t have any bump stocks in their stores. The owners told the reporters that no one ever asked for bump stocks. One owner said that he had two bump stocks on the shelf and that both of them had gathered dust over the past several months because no one had shown any interest in them.

A bump stock is a device that can be attached to semi-automatic rifle, allowing the rifle to be fired at a more rapid rate than a rifle in which a person pulls the trigger as fast as he can. The addition of a bump stock does not convert a semi-automatic rifle to a machine gun. It only allows the person who is using the rifle to shoot at a higher rate of speed.

September 30, 2017

The Death of the Playboy

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.

The picture showed the girl lying on a couch with no clothes on. She was facing the camera and was obviously posing for the picture. It was the type of picture you would see in Playboy magazine, and she was behaving like a “Playboy Bunny.” It didn’t take very long before a crowd of boys gathered around Paul to see the picture his brother had taken. Shortly after the crowd gathered, one of our teachers, James Lediger, noticed the crowd and came over to see what was going on.

By the time Paul saw Mr. Lediger, it was too late. Lediger had already seen that there was a picture and ordered the boy to turn it over to him. Lediger immediately tore up the picture into small pieces, and then asked Paul where he had obtained the picture. Then he gave a stern warning to Paul that if he ever brought another picture to school, he would be disciplined.

That incident happened 47 years ago. At the time, there were only two ways for consumers to get a photograph printed. The first way was to use a Polaroid camera, which printed the picture directly from the camera. The second was to use a camera that had film inside. In order to get pictures printed, the film had to be developed by a company that was in the business of developing and printing photographs. Back then, none of the consumer-based film processing companies were willing to print nude photographs.

August 5, 2017

He or She – What’s Your True Identity?

Do you remember what your priorities were when you were eight years old? When I was that age (1965), I was in third grade. One of my jobs at home was to make breakfast on certain weekday mornings for my younger brothers and sisters. At that age, my primary goal was to figure out ways to get out of work around the house, so I could go outside to our family neighborhood and play with my cousins.

By the time I was eight years old, I had received my first communion. Once a month, I was required to go with my Saint Mark Catholic School classmates to the church so we could all line up and go to confession. In preparation for my first communion, I had learned several prayers, including the Act of Contrition, Act of Faith, Act of Hope, and Act of Love. I knew the mysteries of the rosary by memory because my mom insisted that we pray the rosary together every day as a family.

I had already learned and accepted as true that I was a child of God and that I was created by Him to know, love, and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him in Heaven for eternity.

My memories of being eight years old were triggered on Friday (August 4) when I read an article on the internet about a discrimination lawsuit that had been filed against Heritage Oak, a secular private grade school in California.

The lawsuit was filed by the parents of an 8-year-old child who was born as a boy, but shortly before turning seven years old, decided that he wanted to be a girl. When he announced the news to his parents, he said, “I am a girl. I want to be called a girl.” He then requested that his name be changed to Nicole (Nikki) Brar. The boy’s parents went along with his newly declared identity and enrolled him in Heritage Oak, for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year.

The lawsuit claims that the school rejected the child’s request to wear a girl’s uniform and rejected a request that he be referred to with pronouns that would indicate that he was a girl. The lawsuit further claims that the school failed to address issues that related to him being bullied in the classroom, and that the school required that he use an individual staff restroom instead of the girls’ restroom.

June 17, 2017

Repairing the Damage

During a recent storm, the electrical power in my daughter Maria’s house went out. Maria and her husband have four young children. Several other homes in their neighborhood also lost power. Apparently, a couple of trees were hit by lightning and one of the trees fell and snapped a power line.

After Maria learned that the power company had put out a statement that the electricity would not be restored until the following morning, she emptied the contents of her refrigerator into boxes. Her husband then took the boxes over to a relative’s house to store the items in the relative’s refrigerator. Maria wasn’t worried about the items in her freezer, because depending on how full a freezer is, the items can stay frozen from 24 to 48 hours.

As promised, the power was restored the following morning, which allowed Maria and her neighbors to breathe a sigh of relief.

I have two questions for you to consider: What if the power in Maria’s neighborhood had been off for a month? What if the power for the entire City of Peoria had been off for a month?

While there was only a minimal amount of suffering that resulted from the power being off for less than 24 hours, there would have been an immense amount of suffering if the power had been off for a month.

The amount of suffering that is associated with a power outage is directly proportional to the time that it takes to make the necessary repairs to restore the power. The longer it takes to make the repairs, the longer and more intense the suffering.

In the spiritual world, sin works the same way. Every sin disrupts the natural order and damages a person’s relationship and standing with God. The more serious the sin, the more serious the damage.

After a sin is committed, there is suffering that occurs until the damage has been repaired. In most cases, the suffering extends beyond the person who committed the sin to the person’s immediate family. In some cases, the suffering spreads to the person’s extended family and community.

June 10, 2017

Is Getting Drunk a Mortal Sin?

On a Saturday evening during the summer of 2001, my three college-age children invited several of their friends over at our house for a party. They started the evening in the kitchen eating pizza and then moved the party downstairs to our family room.

The friends were from two large local Catholic families. Georgette and I were friends with their parents, so later in the evening, the parents stopped by our house to join the party. I stayed upstairs until I finished a project I was working on. I ended up going downstairs at around 12:30 a.m.

When I joined the party, there was a lively discussion going on between the parents and the children. They had gone back and forth, giving their opinions about whether they thought it was a mortal sin to get drunk. By the time I arrived, they had all agreed that although it was sinful to drink to excess, the sin did not rise to the level of a mortal sin.

When I entered the room, one of the parents filled me in about what was going on and asked what I thought. I responded by saying, “Of course it’s a mortal sin!”

I explained that when people drink to excess, they deprive themselves of the ability to think and behave rationally. Because they have given up their ability to think and behave rationally, they become a danger to themselves and to the other people they come into contact with.

While my children and our friends agreed with me that people who drink too much lose their ability to think and behave rationally, they refused to agree with me that getting drunk is a mortal sin. They insisted that I back up my position with proof.

All I could tell them was that when I was a senior in college, I read several books about the Catholic faith. One of the books stated that getting drunk was a mortal sin. I told them that the book was written during the 1950s, before the “anything goes” culture of the 1960s changed the way a lot of Americans viewed sex, drugs, and alcohol.

May 6, 2017

A Game of Chicken

Francisco and Jacinta Marto

When I was growing up during the 1960s and 1970s, every so often there would be a news report about a head-on collision between two cars that were driven by teenage boys who had been playing a game of chicken. The way the game was played was that the boys would get in their cars and drive at a high rate of speed toward each other. If one of the boys swerved to avoid an accident, he was branded as a chicken. There were actual head-on collisions that occurred because of boys who would rather die than be called a chicken.

There is a game of chicken that is taking place right now on the world stage — a game that could result in the death of millions of innocent people. The two men who are playing the game are President Donald Trump and the tyrannical ruler of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.

Last month, President Trump sent a message to Kim Jong-un that notified him that there would be grave consequences if he did not stop testing missiles and nuclear weapons. Kim Jong-un immediately responded by threatening to wipe out the United States with nuclear weapons.

While the North Korean military does not yet have the capability to reach the United States with its intercontinental ballistic missiles, it has the ability to kill millions of innocent people in South Korea, a country that shares a border with North Korea. Kim Jong-un believes South Korea belongs to North Korea.

The North Korean military has the fourth largest army in the world, with more than 1.2 million men. The military is equipped with 70 submarines, 1,000 missiles, 20,000 artillery pieces, 400 patrol and missile boats, and more than 550 combat aircraft.

The capital of South Korea is Seoul, which is only 30 miles from the border that separates North and South Korea. With a population of more than 25 million, Seoul is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It is estimated that North Korea could strike Seoul within six minutes of launching an offensive.

March 4, 2017

Sin – Coming to a Theater Near You

Beauty-Beast-PosterDuring the summer of 2008, my daughter Maria played the part of Belle in the Corn Stock Theater Production of Beauty and the Beast. At that time, she was 24 years old.

Beauty and the Beast was originally released in 1991 by Walt Disney Pictures as an animated musical and romantic fantasy. The movie was a box-office success and produced gross worldwide revenue of $425 million.

In 1994, Disney successfully launched Beauty and the Beast as a Broadway musical. After several years on Broadway, community theaters were given permission to rent the script for local productions.

The Corn Stock Production that Maria was involved in featured eight performances over a period of two weeks. I attended three of those performances. At each of the performances that I attended, there were young girls ranging in ages 4 to 10 years old who were dressed up like Belle. After each of the shows, the girls lined up with their mothers to meet Maria and to get a picture with her. It was fun watching the way the young girls behaved around Maria. They treated her as though she was a real-life princess.

The show represented the best of what Disney has always been known for: good, wholesome, family entertainment. Disney did a masterful job of combining music, dancing, romance, and conflict. As usual, in the end, good conquered evil and the prince and princess lived happily ever after.

In 2014, Disney announced that it was working on a live-action film adaption of the original 1991 animated film. After more than two years of work on the film, Disney released its first trailer in November 2016. The trailer accumulated more than 127 million views in the first 24 hours after its release, breaking all previous records for trailers. Since the release of the first trailer, Disney has done a first-rate job of promoting the film.

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