Posted on Oct 8, 2019

6 October 2019

At Newman as most of you know, I used to take a long walk every day.

And, usually, I would take a student along with me.

I had a set of questions I asked along the way and near the end I would always say,

“Ok, so do you have any questions for me?”

The most often asked question of me was: “Why did you want to become a priest?’

I’d answer that I never wanted to, I wanted to be an architect.

The inevitable follow up question was:  Why aren’t you an architect then?

            How can you be something that doesn’t make you happy?”

And I would always reply, “Because I thought it was the right thing to do with my life.”

One student I walked with was really upset with my answer.

She said, “But we have to do what makes us happy.  What’s the point otherwise?”

And I said, “There’s a difference though between what makes us happy and what the right thing to do is.  Actually this world only works if people do the right thing rather than what makes us happy.”

“But,” she said, “Doing the right thing has to make us happy or it’s not the right thing.”

I could only reply: “Doing the right thing is more likely to make someone else happy, or loved, or cared for, or healthy, or less poor than me.  I may not be happy about it at all at the time.”  Her face remained clouded.  Finally, I said, “Can you see that at all?”

Finally, she said, “Oh, I suppose so, but I don’t like it.”

There are days we’d all like to feel like heroes or saints, or at least better than everyone else,

for simply doing the right thing.

There are days, I’d like Jesus to give me a gold star, let me win the lottery,

and assure me I’m going to get a higher place in heaven than Ray Burke,

because I’m a priest and I really wanted to be an architect.

The truth is, I’m no hero, I’m certainly no saint, and I’m just doing my duty,

doing the right thing, doing what I’m probably supposed to do.

And there is no reward for that other than knowing I tried to do the right thing.

I hope everyone who comes here can come to that same conclusion about your lives.

Not that you have done what made you happy, but that you have done your duty,

you have done the right thing day to day.