Skip to main content

Legacy

It must be the season. My mailbox is stuffed with requests for charitable donations. An Indian school in the Southwest sends pictures of their lovely children with big dark eyes pleading for help. Another cause offers pictures of hungry children in Latin America, desperate for just a few of my dollars. A religious order asks for my support as they build new facilities to support the influx of new novitiates. An environmental group gives me pictures of gloom and doom if I don’t send money to save the rain forests. A university needs my money to give others the educational opportunities I had. All of these groups are asking for my financial help. In exchange, they promise their work will be my legacy.

We all want to feel we will leave an important legacy behind when we pass from this world to the next. Some have the resources to make their legacy very public. A building will bear their name. A scholarship will memorialize their generosity. A bronze plaque will call attention to their contributions. For most of us, our legacy is much more subtle. As a writer, I think about the possibility my work will be forever listed in the catalog of the local public library. More than likely, it will be available for only a few years. The public will lose interest. I will be relegated to an obscure list of once published but now out of print authors.

A more important legacy is the positive influences I have on others. Some are initially small. An act of kindness to a stranger can have a large ripple effect. My smile and kind words to the grocery store cashier may be just the encouragement she needs to keep her cool when a difficult customer comes her way in another hour or two.

Perhaps my greatest legacy is my children. I can do my best to be a positive influence on the world around me. However, if I raise my children to seek to do the same how much greater and longer lasting is my positive effect on the world. This was brought home this week when I attended the funeral of a woman I had the privilege of knowing through my role as a soccer mom. The church was full of family and friends. We had all been touched by her positive and loving demeanor. We now grieve the loss of her personal presence. However, it is clear her spirit and values continue through her four children. She left a beautiful, lasting, incomparable legacy.

I am sure I will respond to some of the solicitations in my mailbox. However, I will not do it because I want the title of benefactor. I do not need buildings, scholarships or plaques with my name. I want my legacy to be acts of generosity, kindness, and compassion done as a witness to my Faith. I pray I can inspire the same from my children. And they will someday inspire the same from theirs. A legacy will live on.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Parent Letter from a Catechist

I am going to be teaching seventh grade CCD this year. We do most of the preparation for confirmation during this year since Confirmation is usually scheduled for the fall of the eighth grade year.I have composed a letter to the parents to try and keep them active in their children's religious education. I thought I would post it here and get your feedback before I send it out in a couple of weeks.

I am privileged to be your child’s seventh grade CCD teacher for the 2006-2007 school year. This is a very important year. We will focus on your child’s preparation for confirmation. Of course, you have already been preparing your child for this sacrament for many years. You are the primary catechist for your child. You show how important your Faith is by making Mass attendance a top priority and by family prayer.

Confirmation is one of the Sacraments of Initiation. It is a beginning. It is not a graduation. This year we will work to solidify the foundation of your child’s Catholic Faith.…

Dispelling the Myth of the Travel Dispensation

One of the fun things about having a site meter on my blog is I can see which posts garner the most attention. I can also see how people find my blog. One of the most read posts from my two years of blogging is this one that discusses finding Mass while traveling. I would like to think this post is so popular because it is so well written. The truth of the matter is that it generates so much traffic because I use the words “travel dispensation for Mass”—as in “There is no such thing as a travel dispensation for Mass.” I would guess that nearly a dozen times every week, someone googles “travel dispensation for Mass” and finds my blog. I wonder how many of these folks are poor souls trying to assuage their Catholic guilt with evidence of a justification for missing Mass while on the road.

I know that when I tell my seventh grade CCD students that attending Mass every Sunday is a commandment (one of the top ten!) and not just a pretty good idea they are amazed. Missing Mass has become so …

United Breaks Guitars

This guy is really talented and what a creative way to get your message across. I think he captured the "indifferent employee" perfectly. They don't just work for airlines. I think I ran into them at Walmart on Friday!