A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

A Force for Good

Posted on: November 28, 2013

I enjoy reading upbeat news stories. Unfortunately for me, good news doesn’t make big headlines. Instead, it pops up in small columns buried in the city section or in a back section of the weekend paper. Sometimes we have to seek out positive stories to encourage us and pass them on.

Recently, someone at my Catholic Women’s League meeting recommended we read Ashley Judd’s memoir, All That Is Bitter & Sweet, to learn more about human trafficking and exploitation. Regardless of whether you agree with all of her opinions, the fact remains that Ms. Judd draws on her personal experience and makes use of her fame to help bring about change for those in need.

I admire celebrities’ efforts to raise awareness and funds for various causes—just think of the impact that Michael J. Fox has had on fundraising for Parkinson’s research, for example—but it saddens me that sometimes it takes a celebrity to draw our attention to pressing needs in the world. Radio, TV, Internet or newspaper reports should give us plenty to pray about. And sometimes, something may stir us to think, “Someone should do something about this.”

Maybe that someone should be me or you.

We don’t need fame to effect positive change. We need a heart and a spirit ready to see Christ in others and willing to serve.

With the start of Advent, opportunities to serve will abound. And so will opportunities to teach our children that Christmas is about more than receiving. One of my husband’s cousins put a request on Facebook for suggestions of ways to teach her children the joy of giving, and she quickly received a few dozen suggestions: make sandwiches to give out to homeless people, donate gently used winter clothing, go carolling to spread Christmas cheer, volunteer at a soup kitchen, and so on.

I pray that our focus would be less on finding Black Friday specials and hot deals and more on being a force for good. May we bring the warmth of the true spirit of Christmas into our communities through our words and actions.

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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