September 25, 2007

Hope, Character & Leadership & Other Candidate Buzzwords

Caught a bit of a C-Span special on presidential candidate books, and one of the panelists remarked how all presidential books seem to have one (or more) of three words in the title: "character", "leadership" and "hope". (I'm waiting for someone to write, "Giving Hope Through Character and Leadership".)

If candidates are selling these three things, it must mean there's a market for them and it is obvious that we long for strong character, for good leadership and for hope in our despair.

I think Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth help addresses these issues better than any candidate's book. For who displays character, leadership and hope better than Christ? As St. Peter said, "To whom shall we go?" It is because the Jesus of history and the Christ of Faith are one and the same that hope is real.

From a recent Word Among Us meditation:
To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God. (Luke 8:10)

Who among the twelve would not feel especially privileged to know that long-hidden secrets were now being revealed to them? We, on the other hand, might respond differently. “The apostles were special. I’m more like the other people whom Jesus describes as those who look but don’t see, and who hear but don’t understand” (Luke 8:10).

Nothing could be further from the truth! Jesus wants to reveal the mysteries of heaven to all his children. You really are a chosen disciple, just as privileged as the apostles were! God does not measure out his love or his blessings any differently today than he did back then. Every day, he is prepared to pour wisdom and insight into your heart to help you understand the plans he has for you. Every day, he wants to convince you that they are “plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

God wants to reveal himself to you, but this revelation will come only if you ask for it. This is why prayer and Scripture reading are so important. Every day, be sure you are meditating on Scripture, asking the Holy Spirit to open your mind and your heart. Use your imagination to place yourself in a scene from the gospels. Try to re-create the scene in your mind and see the situation through the eyes of one of the characters in the passage. Or maybe spend time contemplating different points from the homily you heard at Mass. Allow what you heard on Sunday to penetrate your heart as you pray or read Scripture that week. Whatever you do, try your best to keep a big perspective. Don’t let the worries and concerns of the day dominate your thoughts or weigh you down. Lift your eyes to heaven. Ponder the majesty of the risen Lord, the purity and glory that surround his throne, and his plan to bring you into his presence. Let the truths of heaven fill your heart, and you’ll be amazed at how much more easily you will be able to work through the challenges and questions of your day-to-day life.

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