Share Your Passion

As a high school religion teacher, I used to like to ask a new class: “What would you die for?” After a few not too well thought out responses, I suggested that however we spent our day today is truly what we are dying for and not some high and mighty wish or vision that we only think about occasionally like when we’re asked the question in religion class.

I believe finding something worth dying for is a great description for the mission of the Passionists Partners today. We say it a little differently, i.e. keeping alive the memory of the Passion of Jesus. Yes, I believe Jesus died on the cross for me. He also lived 33 years walking this earth teaching, healing and causing all sorts of problems for those in charge. That’s what Jesus died for. It’s also what he lived for.

Another way of saying that is Buddhists, Yasuhiku Genku Kimura’s teaching: “Passion is not something we have, it’s who we are as a cosmic destiny” quoted in the above Ted-x Talk, Building Community that Creates Exponential Impact by Nadav Wilf .  Mr. Wilf encourages us to: “…share your passion, your vision with your friends, your social media network…you never know who may share the same passion as you and is just waiting to meet you.” What a great idea! Thanks Nadav.

I was very blessed to have two careers that I still feel passionately about, teaching and selling life insurance. That might sound like a funny combination, but they are really the same task. Your students are different. The goal is the same, finding what is worth living for, doing it and if you can, make sure that dream lives even without your being there to make it happen.

Posted by Dan O’Donnell, a layman who has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

Thanks a Thousand

I find saying “thank you” a real  chore, one I often put off so long I actually end up avoiding it completely. I know saying thanks can instantly change my thinking and my acting for the better. Knowing however for me is not doing. In his June 2018 TED Talk My journey to thank all the people responsible for my morning coffee, author AJ Jacobs tells about how his journey to say thanks woke him up to the tremendous inter-connectedness of us all.

Jacobs gives us five simple actions to try if we want to grow in awareness and thanks:

  1. “Look up
  2. Smell the roses, dirt and fertilizer
  3. Find the hidden masterpieces all around you
  4. Fake it until you feel it
  5. Practice six degrees of gratitude.”

This awareness Jacobs says leads us to wonder and joy. I experimented this past week, testing his claim. I got up one morning and even before my morning coffee, meditation or shower, I sat down and wrote a friend a thank you note. It worked! It truly started my day on a positive note, so much so that I vowed to do it every morning. I’m afraid, I already broke my vow, but now I have another something to work on. I hope you’ll hear more about this promise in the future.

Thank you for reading this far and Happy Thanksgiving 2018.

Posted by Dan O’Donnell, a layman who has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

Letters

My good friend, Jim writes letters. Now, every time I receive one of these, I vow that I will write a response. You see, Jim doesn’t use email, so I can’t just send off a quick response. I used to be pretty good at writing letters. I started when I went off to another state for high school and pretty much kept it up until I discovered email and the Internet in the early 1990’s. It’s been downhill ever since, at least as far as letter writing goes.

Lakshmi Pratury in her 2007 Ted Talk, The lost art of letter-writing challenges her listeners by suggesting we should not give up on letter writing sharing how rereading her deceased father’s letters connects her to him realizing “…the paper that touched his hand is in mine…”

I’ve kept a few of the many letters I have received over my 73 years on this earth and periodically look at them and remember another person, time and place. One letter in particular from my older sister, Marianne who in the midst of starting and raising a family took the time to tell my what she thought of my “vocation” and how our family influenced that. I won’t go into the particulars here, but to this day fifty-five years later, I think of that sage advice and sometimes actually reread it.

The founder of the Passionist, Saint Paul of the Cross (1694 – 1775) whose feast day we celebrate this coming Saturday, October 20 wrote more than 20,000 letters.  In his day letter writing was the new technology, kind of like email today. In their book The Letters of St. Paul of the Cross, two Passionists I claim as friends and mentors  Fr. Roger Mercurio (1918 – 2001) and Fr. Frederick Sucher (1917- 2013), building on the work of other Passionists translated  over 2,000 of these opening to English readers the thoughts, struggles and mysticism of this simple man. Thank you Roger and Fred, for introducing this saint to me and happy feast day to all celebrating the gift of letters.

Posted by Dan O’Donnell, a layman who has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

Who Will I Feed Today?

Thanks to the Jesuit Post which I read faithfully, I discovered a new site, Happify, that I subscribed to today. This short, simple, well animated story from Happify tells how to make friends out of enemies. Often, I’m tempted to think your are the source of my angst, my anger or my discomfort.  In my more sober moments, I remember the lesson of this animation, and live a much more peaceful day. Hope you have time to enjoy.

Posted by Dan O’Donnell, a layman who has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

Not Me!

Watching television today leads me to believe that all I have to do to be happy is to buy the right car, live in the right neighborhood, eat the right food or take a particular pill–the list goes on ad infinitum. I don’t think so, in fact I truly doubt that any of that will make me happy. I believe that grappling with life’s struggles, even when I feel completely helpless and abandoned, rewards me and all of us with life.

That seems to be the theme of  Andrew Solomon’s new movie “Far From the Tree”. With this movie Solomon examines life as lived through the lives of five main characters, none of which claim to have any of the above.  I watched, I laughed, I cried and I left the theatre understanding a little better what it means to truly live and not run away, my first choice of action when confronted with a challenge.

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

“Why Wonder Why”

“Just as modern mass production requires the standardization of commodities, so the social process requires standardization of man…”   (Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving)

Sometimes I just wish I could be a great singer, or a famous writer, or just anything but me. At those times, I turn to my old buddy Kermit the frog and listen to his words of wisdom, especially his: “…why wonder why…”

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why
Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful
And I think it's what I want to be

Thank you Joe Rapozo, Jim Henson and Sesame Street.   It’s Not Easy Bein Green.

Each day each of us get to be who we are and that’s enough.

Posted by Dan O’Donnell, a layman who has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

We Are All Called to be Builders

Can you imagine a world “of hopes, dreams and visions…where prophets speak…where peace and justice meet…where outcasts and  strangers bear the image of God’s Face and the cross stands as witness”?

Posted by Dan O’Donnell, a layman who has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey