Tag Archives: new year

Securing the future

Happy New Year! We have just had our 2019 Annual Summit, which is the highlight of all our national events and a joyful gathering of more than 450 Legatus members from across the continent. At the Summit, we announced exciting news that in 2020, we will be going back to having two Summits a year. As a result of our growth, we want to make the Summit available to more of our members. Each Summit will not be identical, so we would love to have as many members as possible at both events.

Stephen Henley

I want to take the time to also touch on our endowment fund. In your renewal invoices, we give the option for members to donate to the fund. The fund is meant to ensure the growth and longevity of Legatus. Each year, we have members give between $15K-$30K. Your previous generosity in giving above and beyond your dues is nothing short of inspiring, especially as we continue to aim even higher in our goals. Each of you is part of a chapter that, at one point, was in development. We recently ran the numbers on what it takes to develop a chapter and it is a NET cost of $50K. This is by far the largest expense in our budget. However, how can we say “no” to growth when we can see the impact on all our lives and the amount of souls it has brought back to Christ? Throughout our 32 years, Legatus has had a great benefactor in its founder, Tom Monaghan, who has given over $13 million to Legatus and continues to pay his own way in all ways (dues, Summits, pilgrimages). But we are self-sufficient now and should not continue to count on his generosity.

Our goal in 2019 is to develop at least 12 new chapters, which equates to a net cost of $600K. Our national budget is not built with a surplus of $600K, so where do we get it? Either a chapter founder funds the development (we have had many of these before, such as Tim Busch or Joe Canizaro), we utilize funds from the endowment, or we raise dues $200/ member. I believe our two best options are to find chapter founders and to increase our endowment.

A possible fourth option is for those chapters that have excess funds year to year, to sponsor and/ or adopt a developing chapter. This is a way for a chapter to be involved in the future growth directly and put their excess funds to the best investment out there.

Between pages 38 and 39 of this issue, you will find an envelope where you can make a fully tax-deductible donation to the Legatus endowment fund. Please consider making a gift, and also consider naming Legatus in your will. You know the impact and potential Legatus has in our world. Let’s work together to secure that for many years to come!

STEPHEN HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director.

Reducing stress hinges on individual resilience

It’s 2019 – a New Year! A popular resolution made at this time of year is to “reduce the stress in my life.” The solution is not simple; stress or what is perceived as stressful varies from person to person

One’s ability to adapt to stressful situations and crises is often referred to as emotional resilience. Although it is thought that we are born with a certain degree of emotional resilience, it is also something that can be developed. The more emotional resilience you have, the better you can cope with the stress in your life.

Characteristics of emotional resilience:

Emotional awareness • the ability to understand what you are feeling and why you are feeling it
Perseverance • focus on being action oriented to move beyond stress
Internal locus of control • believe that you have the power to control events and outcomes, not external forces
Optimism • see positives in situations and believe in your strengths
Support • have a strong network and supportive friends and family members
Sense of humor • maintain levity amid life’s highs and lows
Perspective • learn from mistakes and see obstacles as challenges
Spirituality • often associated with stronger emotional resilience

The first step in stress management is to accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it.

The 4 A’s of dealing with stressful situations

Avoid unnecessary stress

  • Learn to say “no”
  • Avoid people who stress you out
  • Take control of your environment
  • Shorten your to-do list
  • Prioritize – distinguish between must do and should do

Alter the situation

  • Express your feelings
  • Be willing to compromise
  • Be more assertive
  • Manage your time better

Adapt to the stressor

  • Reframe the problem
  • Look at the big picture
  • Adjust your standards – perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress
  • Focus on the positives

Accept the things you cannot change

Remember to make time for fun and relaxation and adapt healthy lifestyles. Connect with others, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, reduce caffeine, sugar, and alcohol, avoid cigarettes and recreational drugs, and get enough sleep

Please visit Prescription for a Better Life by Susan Locke, M.D., at www.healthnetworkfoundation.org

If you would like more information about Healthnetwork Foundation and how we can advocate for you, please call or email us today.

SUSAN LOCKE is Healthnetwork Foundation’s medical director.

Secret to successive resolve – self-mastery

We associate the New Year with new beginnings, and so we often enter it with particular resolutions to amend our lives by setting goals for personal achievement or self-improvement.

Yet it’s easier to make resolutions than keep them. Most require interior strengths such as temperance, prudence, or patience — in other words, virtues. We need virtues to overcome vices: self-control to trump gluttony, fortitude to combat laziness, and perseverance to succeed at practically anything.

“Habit is overcome by habit,” states Thomas à Kempis in the 15thcentury spiritual classic The Imitation of Christ. He knew how difficult that can be.

“If we were to uproot only one vice each year, we should soon become perfect,” writes à Kempis. Instead, we often grow lax in practice over time, whereas “our fervor and progress ought to increase day by day.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that virtues “govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life” (1804). Resolutions are largely about self-mastery — and therefore virtues

Here are a few bits of wisdom that might assist us in our New Year’s resolve this year

1) Make just one resolution

Perhaps taking a cue from à Kempis, Dominick Albano, a speaker for Dynamic Catholic, suggests keeping things simple by focusing on making a single resolution.

“Because you have chosen just one effective, efficient habit you can adhere to, you are much more likely to be successful,” Albano writes. “And success builds on success. Before you know it, you will begin to see results, which will propel you to further success.”

2) …and make that prayer

David Torkington, a British spiritual theologian, echoes the one-resolution idea but goes a step further: “[W]hy not just make one that will eventually enable us to keep them all,” he writes on the Catholic Stand website.

We have limited energy to expend and must manage it well. So give up some of the bandwidth you use for less vital pursuits and create quality space and time for regular prayer, Torkington suggests.

3) Persevere

Sister Mary Columbiere, a Carmelite sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, cautions realism in that prayer goal.

“Perhaps you’ve resolved to pray more this year, to set aside a block of time for regular prayer,” she writes on her community’s website. “That’s a good thing. But if you want to succeed, don’t bite off more than you can chew – at least not right away. The time we spend in prayer is not about our success at it; it is rather about our relationship with Him who loves us.”

4)  Seek holiness

Setting a reasonable, achievable length of time for prayer will help us persevere. “It may be less than what we had hoped to do,” she advises, “but as time goes on and we find ourselves looking forward to those moments, we can always increase the length of time that we spend in prayer.”

As Christians we are called to pursue holiness, which constitutes a fine resolution. But “however determined you are to be a saint, you will not become one if you rely on your own strength of mind,” writes Dom Hubert van Zeller in his 1963 book Sanctity in Other Words. “The only thing that can get you to sanctity is God’s grace.” We must cooperate with grace, but “if you imagine that making good strong resolutions will carry you the whole way, you are wrong.”

We must have sufficient humility to recognize our need of divine assistance.

5) Tolerate those who irritate

Returning to The Imitation of Christ, à Kempis urges that we get along with those who annoy us. If we want people to put up with us, after all, we need to bear with them too.

“It is no great thing to associate with the good and gentle, for such association is naturally pleasing,” he writes. But “to be able to live at peace with harsh and perverse men, or with the undisciplined and those who irritate us, is a great grace, a praiseworthy and manly thing.” (Womanly, too.) Toleration has its limits, but exasperating companions provide opportunities to practice patience, fortitude, and charity.

6) Curb the tongue

Pope Francis frequently notes the evils that result from engaging in gossip, which he likens to terrorism: the gossiper throws a bomb and destroys reputations. It’s the devil’s way of creating divisions, he adds.

“Every time your mouth is about to say something that sows discord and divisiveness and to speak ill of another person, [just] bite your tongue!” Pope Francis said in a 2015 homily. You may wind up with a swollen tongue, he noted, but exercising prudence beats doing the devil’s work.

7) Fast as you can

For Catholics in the United States every Friday is a penitential day. According to norms set by the U.S. bishops, abstinence from meat is the preferred Friday observance, but outside Lent we may substitute other “works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance” in remembrance of Christ’s Passion.

Catholic blogger Gretchen Filz suggests we recommit to Friday penance in some form. “Maybe it is tried-and-true abstinence from meat, or perhaps another penitential practice such as praying the Stations of the Cross, or even acts of service for the less fortunate,” she writes. “Remember that penances aren’t meant to be pleasant at first, but the graces that come from them grow sweeter with time.”

8) Practice gratitude

Gratitude and compassion can motivate us toward greater self-discipline and perseverance in our resolutions, writes David DeSteno, psychology professor at Northeastern University, in a New York Times commentary. That’s because these “social emotions” redirect our focus away from ourselves, inspire us to short-term sacrifices for others, and “push us to behave in ways that show self-control.”

Studies have tied the cultivation of these virtues to better academic performance, increased willingness to exercise and eat healthily, and reductions in consumerism, impulsivity, and tobacco and alcohol use.

9) Forgive someone

We all suffer hurts, and we might hold grudges toward someone who has wounded us. Yet our faith calls us to “forgive those who trespass against us.”

“Make a resolution to forgive somebody for whom you’ve been harboring resentment, then do something tangible like offering every Friday Mass” or pray daily for the grace to forgive that person, recommends Catholic blogger Meg Hunter-Kilmer. “For most of us, a year of such actions will move the forgiveness from our will to our hearts. For the rest, it’s still a good start.”

10) Ask for help from Mother

January 1 is also the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and as such “is a fitting time to entrust our resolutions, and indeed our very lives, to her care,” writes Gretchen Crowe, editor of Our Sunday Visitor. We should pray for her assistance “for a fresh start with a deeper resolve to be people of joy, prayer and gratitude.”

Thomas à Kempis wrote: “There is one thing that keeps many from zealously improving their lives, that is, dread of the difficulty, the toil of battle.” Resolutions are never easy. But with a focus on growth in virtue and a faith perspective, they might just be possible.

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

What is most important right now? Fruitful discipleship.

Fr. John Riccardo

I personally find the beginning of a new year a most helpful time, an especially energetic time, a time to think deeply about making some new goals regarding those areas in my life that I most want to turn my attention to, both physically and spiritually. As St. Teresa of Avila was fond of saying, albeit in an entirely different context, the new year is a time to “begin again.” I know that many of you share these or similar sentiments at this time of year. With that in mind, could there possibly be a better theme for this Faith Matters article than “Renewed Purpose?”

The theme calls to mind a question that I increasingly ask myself, thanks to Pat Lencioni and his excellent book The Advantage: “What is most important right now?” Questions in general are helpful, for they serve to clarify things for us, but this question in particular I find especially helpful and continually return to it. Another way to think of this question is, “If I could only do one thing over the course of the next six months, what should that one thing be?” This question can be used at work, in marriage, in family life and for our personal lives as disciples of Jesus.

Perhaps for some of us the answer to that question is to finally make a commitment to set aside time each day to pray. Not to squeeze God in, not to settle for praying in the car or while I’m working out (though those are fine places to pray!), but to put into my calendar an appointment to “waste” time with Jesus daily. For others of us perhaps we might decide to make a commitment to spend time each week for an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament, to attend daily Mass, monthly Confession, or pray the rosary every day. Maybe for more than a few of us it will be to commit to ponder over the Word of God in a deliberate and intentional way each day, perhaps starting with the Gospels.

Countless others, I’m sure, come to mind. Let me offer one resolution in particular, though, that I think is worth pondering at length as we enter this year with “renewed purpose.” It comes by way of Curtis Martin, a co-founder of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students). Curtis makes it a point to say that Jesus calls us not simply to be faithful disciples but to be fruitful disciples. From my experience, many (most?) Catholics don’t think this way. Many see faithfulness, getting my life finally under the Lordship of Jesus, as the “ultimate” goal. Now, to be sure, you and I are called to be conformed to Jesus, to put the mind of Christ, to bring everything in our lives under His loving rule. However, as Curtis reminds us, Jesus called the disciples – you and me! – to bear fruit (cf. John 15:1-10), and to go out and make disciples. This isn’t the task of bishops, priests, deacons and religious; this is the task of every friend of Jesus. And in a particular way, I think, this privilege is worth the members of Legatus praying about intently.

As a priest and pastor, I believe that one of the most helpful things men and women like you can offer the Church and the world is to spiritually multiply, that is, to ask the Lord, “Who are You calling me to share my life with in the year ahead, Jesus? Who are You inviting me to walk with in a deliberate way, to mentor, to disciple (yes, that’s a verb)?” You know how many people respect and look up to you. This is a gift God has given you. He has placed you on a lampstand so as to shine with His light, and to bring them into a life-changing encounter with the only One who can satisfy the desire of every human heart: Jesus. May the year ahead be one filled with renewed purpose and abundant fruit!

FR. JOHN RICCARDO is a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit. He was ordained in 1996 and currently serves as pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, MI. He is passionate about the new evangelization and offering others a life-changing encounter with Jesus.