Home Greetings Who We Are Teachings Commentary Editorial Special Featured Saint Radio Station Contact Us / Links Letters to Editor Archive
Gratitude
The Weight of Love

In Memoriam

Kenneth Whitehead

Kenneth Whitehead, longtime Catholic education advocate, Church affairs expert and former United States Assistant Secretary of Education, passed away on Thursday, April 16, 2015.

Whitehead was educated at the University of Utah and the University of Paris and later received an honorary doctorate from Franciscan University of Steubenville. He authored and coauthored 27 books during a period from the 1980s to nearly the present time. His most popular book was One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic: The Early Church Was the Catholic Church. Perhaps one of his most important writings concerned arguments against Catholic colleges diluting their Catholic identities in order to receive federal funding.

After serving in the President Ronald Reagan administration as an education official, Whitehead was the executive vice president of Catholics United for the Faith. He served on the boards of Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and The Review of Metaphysics.

Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, stated, "Ken Whitehead was intelligent, accomplished and influential in the government and in the Catholic Church, as both an academic and a keen observer of Church affairs and Catholic education."

Whitehead along with his wife Margaret were some of the first Catholics active in the Pro-Life movement even prior to Roe v. Wade. One of his first books, Agenda of the Sexual Revolution: Abortion Contraception Sex Education and Related Evils, pertained to this and was published in 1981. His entire family was and is active in the Pro-Life movement.

Whitehead will be especially remembered for his abundant faith in Christ and love for his family.

Jim Fritz

 


Gratitude

 

When we think of virtues we normally think of Faith, Hope and Charity which we pray for with every rosary; however, it is worthwhile to think beyond this. Some philosophers have claimed virtues such as courage, prudence, justice and others are more important. A hundred years before Christ, Marcus Cicero, a Roman philosopher, declared, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others." It is gratitude which allows us to appreciate what is good and to discern what should be defended and cultivated.

We are certainly grateful for all creation and for our lives and for mercy from God.

What is interesting about the virtue of gratitude is it develops other virtues. It fosters other virtues. It parents other virtues.

Of course, what I am most grateful for is my faith and coupled with this is the gift of the Holy Eucharist. The word Eucharist itself is taken from the Greek word "eucharistia" which when literally translated means "thanksgiving."

When we think of it we are most grateful for many things and sometimes we even turn around what before made us most despondent. I know, as a convert, I was most impressed by how Catholics who may be suffering terribly in some situation such as a medical problem are able to "Offer it up!" I could not get over how many Catholics seemed to be grateful to have something to "Offer Up." They knew suffering by itself is simply the promise that death will claim these mortal bodies of ours, but suffering in Christ is the promise that we will be raised with Christ. It certainly gave them the virtues of Faith, Hope and Love.

We often use gratitude to turn things around. Once, when I was very upset with a person for doing something really dumb, I began thinking of the virtue of "Gratitude" and I suddenly turned my thoughts to how I might have been like this person based upon inherited capabilities, upbringing and/or other circumstances. I then forgot my displeasure and felt gratitude to God for not having this person's problems. I felt more compassion toward her and more willing to work with her. It brought in another virtue called "charity."

At other times, while a group of us may be sidewalk counseling, passersby sometimes yell out profanities, throw something at us or give us an indication of their IQ with an obscene gesture. We often shout out, "God bless you. Those who are persecuted shall inherit the Kingdom of God." Those negative gestures with which people tried to offend us made us happy by encouraging us to think of God.

I have a friend who prays to be able to stop using a medication he is required to take, and I told him he should be grateful the medical profession has developed this medicine, and he can afford to purchase it.

I have a son who is always telling me to eat better and to get more exercise. He is not criticizing me.He is telling me he loves me and wants me to be around for a while.

The list of opportunities to give thanks to God goes on and on.

Humility is the opposite of pride, and pride is the root of most sins. However, humility leads to gratitude and gratitude leads to humility. The devil loves to give you pride. If you give gratitude to others who have helped you rather than taking credit for all of it, you will feel humility, not pride. Also, sometimes God has a way of changing your pride to humility. Show Him gratitude.

Colossians, Chapter 3, mentions many virtues; however, 3:16 reads, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing songs, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts toward God."

 

Jim Fritz


 

 

The Weight of Love

 

 

So all the little animals of my childhood,

small green turtles from the dime store,

speckled robins out of nest,

all found a new home in the lengthening row

of tiny graves under the fig tree

alongside popsicle stick crosses marking baby bunnies that didnt live.

Even Skipper, the scruffy terrier who pulled my sled in the snow.

In the end, all came to the fig tree.

 

And I thought these losses were as much as a child could bear.

How was I to know they were practice in learning how to love?

For we must learn to hold the weight of love carefully,

balancing fear in one hand and hope in the other,

both as delicate as a wild birds thin shelled egg.

 

So, sitting with my ninety-eight year old mother,

waiting to see if she can recover,

and to be with her when she wakes,

again I need to balance this weight of love,

which Is always vulnerable to pain and loss,

but is also all we have to give.

 

Yesterday, a hard rain swirled with sleet and snow,

and ripped fragile white blossoms off the bare plum trees.

Cold rain lashed the windows and rumbled along the roof.

Sparkling ice and white petals cascaded down the dark street.

 

This morning, on my way to the nursing home,

I drove beside a sun soaked field of deep blue grape hyacinths,

Which one will win today, snow or sun?

Lord, teach me to balance the weight of love

And not ask the flowers for assurance.

 

Kathy Hull

 

Note: Kathy is a former resident of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and has many wonderful poems of her growing up in this unique area.

Return to Top

Close this window to return to current Commentary page