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February 14, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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February 14, 1998

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My first encounter with the Beatitudes took place more years ago than I now care to remember. It happened in the sixth grade. One of our substitute teachers, who was a Lutheran minister, decided to use the first part of today's Gospel as our opening prayer. "rhese are the most beautiful words in the Bible," he told us. Please remember that this was in the days when prayer and Scripture reading were still allowed in public schools. As he read, I fidgeted and wondered what was so beautiful about them. The Beatitudes made little or no sense to me. Things have changed a lot since those days. Jeremiah 17:5-8 ! Corinthians 15:12, 16-20 Luke 6:17, 20-26 Fr. William Gould As God did through the prophet Jeremiah in today's first reading, Jesus challenges us to look beyond the surface of life and discover reality. Anyone who "trusts in human beings" and sees this world as the be-all and end-all is in for a surprise. He or she will be undernour- ished, stunted and all but dead, Life may be full of things, but there will be very little else. Those who center their lives on God and take the spiritual life seriously will experience just the opposite. They will enjoy life, reap tremendous benefits and be able to endure and grow even through suffering and trials. Jesus calls us to a life in which we recognize our need for God and our dependence on Him. He asks us to em- brace a simple life in solidarity with the poor. He expects us to live the sort of Gospel-based lives that will challenge our secular world to change its and values. God must come first in our lives, He doesn't, we will never'- have thing of lasting value. This .is what final part of the Gospel is really ing. "I thought I had everything until God became part of my life," a new once told me. "I'hen I discovered little I really had. Thank God that I Him!" Or in Jesus' words: "Blest are you the reign of God is yours ... filled shall be ... you shall laugh ... your ward will be great in heaven." Father W~lliam Gould's weekly column ~ sponsored by Little Rock Scripture Study. Untangling infatuation: when to call it quits W faat's the difference between in- tuation and authentic love? Think about the following story: Two teens started dating a few months back. At first it was the usual mutual infatuation at work. You know how that feels. qChe excitement of attraction, the pleasure that comes from knowing that someone is attracted to you, the pride in dating someone and the good times from hanging out with someone you like were all a part of it. But after a couple of months, Sandra started losing interest. The infatuation passed, and what remained was a cer- tain level of affection, but nothing she could call "love." But she kept dating the guy. It eventually got to the point at which she didn't even like kissing him, didn't want to be in a relationship with him. But she kept dating him. She even continued to say "I love you" to him. W y? There are many reasons people stay in dating relationships even when they're no longer terribly interested in the other per- son. There's the fear of the un- known. This is a secure thing, they reason. This per- son likes me, and as long as I stick with him I'll have someone to hang out with on Friday nights. It OM//qG might be a littleAmy Welborn scary to be all alone again. There's the fear that maybe I'm wrong, maybe this person is right for me and I just need to get over what- ever is bothering me. But probably the strongest deter- rent to breaking up, even when the relationship no longer is doing much for you, is this: "I don't want to hurt him." Of course you don't. No one with a conscience wants to cause another per- son pain. It Would be really frighten- ing if a person's response to this situa- Consider an alternative that offers: Favorable tax treatment Contractually guaranteed minimum return Current interest at 5.75% to 6.75/o Plus: the added benefits of membership in a [ralemal benefit society that has been serving Catholic families for more than 120 years Contact: Cox Insurance A jency P.O. Box 1800 Conwa AR 72033-1800 (800) 632-0644 And ask about Single Premium Deferred Annuities Flexible Premium Deferred Annuities Immediate Annuities and/or tP, As Before you open or renew that C.D.! tion was: "Great! I get to break up with Suzie tonight! It will be a blast to see her cry!" Heavens, no. But in a situation like the one I've outlined, clear thinking is in order -- clear thinking about what respect is, how we should treat others and our responsibilities toward other people. First, in your mind, do a little role playing. What would you want if you were dating someone who wasn't that crazy over you, but only kept it up because of pity? Isn't that kind of in- sulting? Wouldn't you want that person to be honest with you, end it, so you can move on and find someone who is really interested in you? Would you want to be wasting your time? Would you want to be lied to? I doubt it. So if you wouldn't want that, it's a pretty sure bet that the person you're deceiving wouldn't either. Finally, it is only a shallow sort of respect that prompts us to lie to other people in order to spare their feel- ings. If we have a deep, true respect for others based on their integrity as chil- dren of God, we know that everyone deserves honesty, and we are obligated to give it to them. It's not easy. It's not painless. But just remember -- the longer you wait, the more painful it will be, and the more your own integrity will be compromised by your own deception, no matter how well-meaning it might be. A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear Jesus and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tor- mented by unclean spirits were cured. Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came from him and healed them all. (Luke 6:17-19) 1998 CNS Graphic March ZT-:Z9 " Pontchartrain Center I I Celebrate the New Springtime New LacatDn, New Motels, New Format, New Office / //ardd fo/ Pm Friday tMoolisl March 2"/, 7:09 P,M. Hall A and B. Ft Tom Foml, C,Ss.R, and Danny Abramowicz. laiarday Teen Wldudlop and ME March 28, Hall C, 10 to 5, M01 Kelly, Babsie Bleasdell, Ft. Joe Palermo, Oann Abramowic2