Friday, October 21, 2011

(9) The Christophers - You Can Change the World a Little Bit At a Time

Note: The Christopher Movement has inspired me since I was in college back in the late 1950s. It had a major influence on my life that led me to the missions in Peru as a Papal Volunteer for Latin America. Even after leaving Peru in the early 1980s, that missionary spirit continues in my family, in my teaching, in my parish, in my community. Thus for this Mission Sunday that honors missionaries, which we all are, I would like to share the Christopher Movement with you.

        Christopher comes from the Greek, "Cristoforos", meaning Christ bearer. According to its name, the Christopher movement is directed to the lay person to apply the principles of the Gospel in the marketplace of everyday life.  That is to bring Christ to all segments of Society, especially through the critical professions of education, government, social work, social communications, and labor-management relations. Their motto comes from the Chinese proverb: "Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness". May we light many candles in the classroom, the work place, the home, the parish, in our community activities, and even at social gatherings. And through our children, students, subordinates, or colleagues may we illuminate the entire country as their founder, Fr. James Keller, a Maryknoll Father envisioned in his book, "You Can Change he World".

        Making a Difference Wherever You Are. The Christopher movement has been a great influence upon me since I was an undergraduate in college.....especially their emphasis upon individual responsibility for making the world just a little bit better because of you.....that God has given each one of us a special mission, a mission that He has not given to any other. One person can do little to change the world, but you can do something.....a little today, a little tomorrow, and a little the next day. Then with God's help, the accumulation of many small deeds over a career can add to greatness (grounded in humility) great as many noted people in history, who have only one or two major positive accomplishments or contributions, but nothing more. Thus, you can change the world. The key to great achievements and greatness itself is perseverance.....a little every day as God works through each one of us.

        Each one of us in our careers touches the lives of hundreds of people. For you, it could be in the thousands someday. There must be many heroes and saints out there who do their little bit every day for God, Country, community, parish, family, and neighbor. In the inner cities, for example, there are mothers who raise great persons for the Lord despite having been abandoned by their husbands. There are the sick and the hurting who offer their crosses as dynamic prayers for a better world. When you die, nobody will remember nor care how much money you made, but how you enriched other people's lives in little or big ways.....beginning with the immediate family and reaching out to groups or individuals in the work place, the parish, and the community.

        Enriching people's lives ---starting with the family is crucial since a child benefits more from and later remembers a parent's time in quality and quantity more than the toys showered upon him or her--- may be just little things........being there when somebody needs help or a patient understanding ear, giving someone a little time even when in a hurry, a kind word of encouragement and praise that reinvigorates, a greeting and a smile that communicates a little love, accepting one who is difficult to like, being patient with one who taxes one's patience. I have an ideal and a desire.....that when I die the world will be just a little bit better because of me. We wish the same for you.

        From the Christophers, came my ideal of putting Christ into Business and other organizations through our students. If every alumnus from your school or every member of your parish, for example, would light just one candle, we could illuminate the whole country.

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