Daily Reflection
March 7th, 2000
Don Driscoll, S.J.
Pharmacy School Chaplain
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2 Peter 3:12-15, 17-18
Psalms 90:2-4, 10, 14, 16
Mark 12:13-17

The words that most struck me from today's gospel are these:  "You are unconcerned about anyone's opinion.  It's evident you do not act out of human respect, but teach God's way of life sincerely."  What a wonderful compliment to have someone say that you are a person of inner direction and principle. 

I read once that when we're in our 20's we worry about what others think of us.  In our 30's, we don't care what they think of us.  Then in our 40's, we find out they weren't thinking of us at all.  I often relate that concept to my early years of teaching.  I was far too intent on performing well and appearing successful.  In other words, I was more concerned about others' opinions of me than I was of my students' needs.  If a student appeared bored or resistant, I became hurt, angry, defensive.  Truly I was not teaching "God's way of life."

A wise old Jesuit (is that redundant?), helped me see that my pride was at the heart of this.  I was trying to show off my talents rather than helping my students discover their gifts.  He suggested that I daily pray for all my students, especially for the ones for whom I felt a negative reaction.  Guess what?  There was an almost immediate change.  Praying for a resistant student, for example, didn't change him, but it did change me.  And because I was no longer reacting to him, however subtly, but was now acting more like Jesus, my student changed.  This practice has worked almost miraculously for me for the past 25 years.

Since tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, may I make a suggestion?  Give up what makes you unhappy.  It's sometimes easier to give up ice cream, cake, etc. for Lent than it is to give up an attitude or resentment or negativity towards someone.  What (or who) makes you unhappy?  Give it up, or say a prayer every day for that person.  Believe me it will work beyond your imagination.  What I have discovered as a result of practicing this is that I can far more freely give to God what is God's -- my whole heart.

P.S.  Last month I received a number of e-mail responses to the reflection I wrote for February 15th.  Returning to my computer a hour later to respond to them, I found that they had all disappeared.  Computer technicians could neither explain nor solve what had happened.  Even my heartfelt prayer to the computer:  "Give to Donald what is Donald's," produced no results.  I am sorry that this happened.  If you re-respond, I promise that I will answer you.

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