I feel confident that most of us want to do some great thing with our lives. But we labor under the illusion that authentically great things are reserved for a chosen few. Heroes. Martyrs. Saints. But not for you and me.

What if the greatest thing is not to go out in a blaze of glory, but to honor God with a life that seeks to do his will in the little things? Not to climb the highest mountain, but to stay on the uneven course that life has marked out for you? Not dying for your faith, but staying true to it over a difficult lifetime?

Think of the 24-hour blocks of your life as bank-fresh bundles of a hundred $1 bills. Your challenge each day is to "spend your time." You can't bank it. You can't save up until you get 500 or 1,000. You get a fresh handful of life currency each morning and any unspent balance evaporates before tomorrow comes.

You spend life assets when you mentor a new employee who is struggling, listen to a friend who is upset, or volunteer to help someone catch up.

You are laying down your life when you are generous with hard-earned money to help someone who has lost her job, a family that is being drained by long-term illness, or the ministries of your church.

You have invested a huge chunk of your life in giving birth, praying through your tears for a struggling child, and investing all the time, energy, and passion that go into molding a life for what lies ahead in this challenging world.

You are spending your life capital by putting your love for a fiancée or mate or child above career advancement that moves you from spiritual stability, calls for you to spend far too much time away from people who need you more than money, or calls for you to compromise some central value you have embraced.

The Bible says:

We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for one another (1 John 3:16).

Could it be that there are people who would die in bold, heroic moments (i.e., "cash in" everything) who just don't grasp that we must spend the smaller increments of our lives in unselfish, other-directed events that honor God by serving the people he has placed on our way? What a shame that they never developed a concept of serving God by serving those created in his image in small ways, in small increments, and in unseen circumstances that add up to an eternal difference in the lives of others.

You have today's life capital in hand. Spend it wisely — in small increments of unselfishness here and there. Or you will lose it completely.

All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.  Written by Rubel Shelly

Servant leadership

"The journey begins by recognizing that effective long-term leadership begins inside us. It is a matter of character. We cannot give what we do not have." This quote from Dr. Owen Phelps' book, Leading Like Jesus is a reminder that to be an effective servant leader, we need to share our own faith with others. Summer is a perfect time to recharge our spiritual batteries and refill the cup from which we give so that we can sustain our leadership efforts all year long. This month, we celebrate the love of God the Father so well represented by so many dads and father-to-be in our faith communities. We are called to lead like Jesus -- remember to thank the fathers in your life for heeding the call to this vocation!

Heidi Busse

A quote for June: "Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad." -- Anne Gedde

A prayer for fathers

 by Heidi Busse

 God our Father, 

we give you thanks and praise
for fathers young and old.

We pray for young fathers,
newly embracing their vocation;
May they find the courage and perseverance to balance work, family and faith in joy and sacrifice.

We pray for our own fathers
who have supported and challenged us;
May they continue to lead
in strong and gentle ways.

We remember fathers around the world
whose children are lost or suffering;
May they know that the God of compassion
walks with them in their sorrow.

We pray for men who are not fathers
but still mentor and guide us
with fatherly love and advice.

We remember fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers
who are no longer with us
but who live forever in our memory
and nourish us with their love.


Servants and superheroes    


by Greg Erlandson

I was recently thinking about Alfred, the indefatigable butler and

co-conspirator of Bruce Wayne (aka Batman), as a model of priesthood.

Now that is a sentence I don't suspect you've read anywhere else, but bear with me.

What I've really been thinking about is servant leadership. What does servant leadership mean, and how does it apply to today's parishes?

One of my favorite papal titles, created by Pope St. Gregory the Great, is "Servant of the Servants of God."

I have often thought that that title describes all of us who are in any sense "professional Catholics": not only popes, but bishops, priests, ministry leaders, Catholic Charities employees, chancery secretaries and even Catholic publishers and editors.

Seeing ourselves as servants is a powerful antidote to the pride of position that can tempt so many of us.

But if all of us are servants, who are we serving?

In a word: You.


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