Three Secrets of Life

By Jeff Hedglen

North Texas Catholic

8/18/2014

All over the Internet and social media are lists and quizzes. The following appeared on my news feed on Facebook in the last of couple hours: “Which Disney couple are you and your significant other?”; “50 Cities you should see in your lifetime”; “Why readers, scientifically, are the best people to fall in love with”; “What grade are you mentally in?”

These lists and quizzes range from the most bizarre to the strangely curious to the outright ridiculous. But the one that may be most important is the one I received from Father Hoa Nguyen, pastor of St. John the Apostle Parish in North Richland Hills, during one of his homilies when he was celebrating Mass for the students at the University of Texas at Arlington: Three secrets of life.

1) God doesn’t need us.
God is all-powerful and He does not need us to accomplish his will, but He chooses to use us. I sometimes think that God made a mistake in choosing to do it this way. I mess up so often, and I am sure I regularly miss “divine appointments” that He has put on my daily schedule. In my finite view of things it seems that things might go better if He handled all these appointments. But of course, God has infinite wisdom and using us to do his will helps us to grow and brings us into contact with his grace and mercy in ways we never would if He bypassed us on the road to accomplishing his will.

2) Be a go-giver. Not a go-getter.
This is so counter-cultural. We are surrounded by a world-view that calls us to be go-getters, to go out and get all we can for ourselves regardless of how it affects those around us. But Fr. Hoa suggests that what we really need to be is a “go-giver.” If you think about it, this is what we hear at the end of every Mass. We are told in one form or the other to “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” We are told to GO!! The priest is not talking about us getting out of the church so he can take a nap, or set up for the next Mass; no we are being sent forth out into the world to give what we have just received. Being a giver instead of a getter in some ways is all about attitude. If we start with the understanding that all we have is given to us by God, then giving of our time, talents, and treasure becomes an act of gratitude and faith.

3) It’s not what you have that matters but who you are.
We are made in the image and likeness of God. God knows us so intimately that, as Scripture says, He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30), and He knit us in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13). We are the crowning achievement of creation (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 343). All of these descriptions of who we are reveal a richness that transcends the collection of our possessions, actions, thoughts, and impulses. All too often we define ourselves (for good or ill) by these lesser criteria, but the most important indicator of our worth is found in the reality that God made us in his image and He loves us so much that He died for us to set us free from sin so that we may live eternally in his glorious presence.

These three “secrets of life” from Fr. Hoa, each in their own way set a course for how we encounter the world around us, but when taken altogether they can impact every aspect of our lives. Realizing that we are each called by God to build the Kingdom gives our lives purpose. Moving from a go-getter to a go-giver takes the focus off of ourselves and trains us to see the needs in our midst. And when we lean, not on the temporal qualities we have, but rather on the divine life that has been breathed into us, we have the power to achieve our purpose as go-givers in the Kingdom of God.

All over the Internet and social media are lists and quizzes. The following appeared on my news feed on Facebook in the last of couple hours: “Which Disney couple are you and your significant other?”; “50 Cities you should see in your lifetime”; “Why readers, scientifically, are the best people to fall in love with”; “What grade are you mentally in?”

Published