Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rewarding Occupations- Such as the Priesthood

In an interesting article that I read titled, "10 Careers That Can Make You Happier," by Chris Iliades, it states that clergymen rate their occupation as the most rewarding in America. The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, conducts a poll titled The General Social Survey and it's considered comprehensive. Its most recent findings show that spiritual caregivers such as priests and ministers report being very satisfied with their work, as a matter of fact, 87% report being very satisfied, which is 7% points higher than anyone else in the survey. That's good news.......Careers that involve caring, helping or protecting others rated high for satisfaction levels. Other rewarding jobs and careers that help people to feel happier included: teachers, doctors, psychologists, firefighters, business owners, those who work outdoors (surrounded by nature), maintenance workers and engineers and architects. Also, anyone in creative fields such as writers and artists report a high level of satisfaction with their work. (It didn't mention bloggers.........)
Developing one's creativity regardless of what occupation you are in, always improves self-esteem and helps you to feel uplifted and happier. The benefits of developing your creativity, whether through journaling, writing or dabbling in art has been well documented. So if you are not in a satisfying job, spend time being creative and it will help your overall satisfaction levels and help you to feel more fulfilled (from what I've read on the subject). Listening to classical music also helps to enhance your creativity. Also, helping others through volunteering is another way to have a more satisfying life and do good at the same time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pride and Greed-The Deadliest Sins of All?

Human beings just don't get it. Pride as well as greed are very grave sins-known as two of the Seven Deadly Sins (also referred to as Capital Sins or vices). In case you've forgotten what the Seven Deadly Sins are: Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed and Sloth (avoiding work).
When I read (with dismay) that "Sea levels are rising at the fastest rate in 2,100 years" or that "Shocking reports tell of alarming rate of mass extinctions in the oceans"...you have to wonder what kind of news or scientific reports it will take to wake up the human race before pride (we can do anything we want, without consequences), or greed winds up destroying all of creation on this planet, including us. I certainly hope not.......These kinds of news stories (very trending right now on the internet), I find quite disturbing.
Some people don't believe these reports and they choose to ignore them or downplay them. But soon, according to scientists you won't be able to ignore them any longer, as the effects of global warming (starting to show up already), will be in our faces, so to speak. Unless the global community starts to act and act decisively and constructively, I fear the future will hold more bad news for our children and grandchildren.
Where are the geniuses, the innovators, the creative, out-of-the-box thinkers and scientists? Who is listening to them? Who is listening to God and the promptings of the Holy Spirit? There are certainly enough warnings and promptings being communicated to us.
In the Bible the word listen appears 1,000 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and 425 times in the New Testament. When I give talks to adults or children I always mention that. Do you think God wants us to listen? (It's pretty clear in the Bible that God does, for our own good.) Do you think God wants us to be good stewards of the Earth and care for this beautiful and awesome creation and use the resources wisely, for the good of all? I'd say, Yes! Is humankind listening? We can have a good business environment, create jobs, which this country desperately needs, while making good decisions to safeguard the environment. It's time for everyone to work together on this, because not to do so, is going to cost everyone in the future, money as well as security and well being.
The Pope seems to be listening. The Vatican has contracted "Mercedes for the first ever hybrid popemobile. That's some good news.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Catholic High School Goes Green!

I read an uplifting article in New York Newsday titled, Kellenberg To Expand Its Solar System (6/14/11) by Nicholas Spangler which tells how Kellenberg Catholic High School in Uniondale, Long Island, NY will be expanding a program that they've had in place for two years. Beginning in September, "there will be many more of those tubes: 3,450 to be precise, facing south at a 45 degree angle to catch the sun's rays. In colder months, the tubes will help heat the school's water and warm its classrooms; in summer, they will help cool them down.....An official from the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority, Dale Zatlin, said she believed it would be the first 'solar thermal' system in the state that both heats and cools.
What great news! Kellenberg is a well respected school, with a fantastic reputation. I know a teacher who works there and the students are truly remarkable. I've been to events there on the weekends, when students are willingly giving time to serve and help out. It's that kind of school. And now this terrific news that they're trying to go green, by harnessing the sun's energy while saving money too.
The project is being led by Brother Gary Eck, a Kellenberg math teacher, who was quoted as saying, "Renewable energy has benefits beyond dollars and cents. We are participating in God's creative activity. Using energy well is part of that."
I hope this creative and innovative idea catches on in other schools around the country. It's greatly needed. It's a practical way to use a renewable energy source while following the Church's mandate to be good stewards of the earth and its resources.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Perils of Sexting

I recently gave a Confirmation retreat (with the help of a DRE) and one of the things I asked permission to speak about was sexting. Now this is a different world we live in, because years ago there wasn't even such a word, no less an action such as sexting. But given that there was a front page article in the New York Times a couple of months ago about the perils and problems associated with sexting, I thought it was important to bring up the subject. Young people don't realize that sexting can be a crime, depending on the age of those involved, it can fall under child pornography laws. I framed the talk emphasizing how important it is to stay on the right path in life, to avoid temptation and sin. I mentioned how the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the graces received in the sacraments and the anointing at Confirmation (and of course prayer), helps to strengthen us to make the right decisions in life.
I spoke about the NY Times article. I even brought it with me to show them that when the Times devotes a front page and two other full pages to a news subject, it's usuallly important, very important. Perhaps you saw the article, it's certainly worth reading. They were very interested in the story. They wanted to know the age of the young girl who made a big mistake and used poor judgment by sending a revealing photograph of herself to her boyfriend. Well, it didn't end there because he sent it to someone else (after they broke up), and that girl sent it to many of her friends. Before long, the photograph was everywhere in her town and elsewhere. It's a sad story of a reputation being ruined in minutes......They weren't surprised by the story. They've heard similiar stories. They shared with me that they knew children (preteens and teens) who are sexting, who have been in trouble for it. It's going on in schools and in homes and it's a big problem, though many young people think it's no big deal. But it is a very big deal and the students were very receptive to my message. I told them something they already knew, the mere pressing of a send button on a phone or a computer can destroy someone's reputation (even their own) in minutes. There are serious consequences to sexting, it's no joke.
Those Confirmandi understood what I was saying to them and they appreciated my blunt talk. It was straight-forward and clear--listen to Jesus' words, stay on the right path in life, avoid evil and sin and self-defeating, destructive behavior. God wants us to have fullness of life and that's why the Bible is filled with wise sayings, wisdom, and commandments to follow. Ultimately, it's all for our own good. Lying never works, lying is sinful and they know that.
Straight talk for kids living and growing up in New York City. They knew what I was saying was the truth. They got it and I was grateful for that. I prayed for them on the day of their Confirmation that the Holy Spirit would descend upon them in a powerful, transformative way and give them courage and strength for the journey of life and the challenges they'll face as a Christian.