Businessmen's Retreat - 2000
September 22-24, 2000
Sponsored by Manhattan College

Conducted at the Passionist Spiritual Center
5801 Palisade Avenue, Riverdale, NY, 10471, Phone 718-549-6500

Retreat Links: [ Outline | Fr Jack | Rev Ron | DaveK | JohnT | Fr Paul ]

Visual Tour

Conference: "Finding Balance at Critical Junctures in Our Lives"

Speaker - Fr. Paul Fagan, C.P.

Father Paul is the Retreat Director at the Passionist Spiritual Center in Riverdale, New York.  In 1986, he received a Master of Divinity from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois and was ordained as a Priest.  He just completed a year of study at the Aquinas Institute of Theology on the Campus of Saint Louis University where he was working on a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching.

Outline of Talk

  1. Introduction
    1. It's interesting to note that I, the youngest of your speakers, am talking about crises later in life.
    2. But losses can occur at any time.  I lost a friend to a traffic accident when I was a boy.  This has affected by life's outlook.
  2. Balance
    1. The medieval Rhineland Dominican mystics, such as Eckhardt, advocated detachment as a way to approach balance in one's life.
    2. If we focus our lives on God, then the other things fall into place.  Then we can achieve balance.
    3. The homilist at a funereal yesterday quoted Ephesians: Live in a manner worthy of the call you have received.  He then related that to the calls he had received in his life.
  3. Relationships
    1. Life is about relationships.  We want balance among them.  But we want one imbalance: the relationship with God must be primary.
    2. A book I read recently: A girl awakes from a nightmare and rushes to her mother's room.  Her mother calms her, takes her back to her room and tells her not to be afraid, that God is with her in the room.  The girl says, "That's okay, but right now I need someone with skin."
    3. We must place our lives in the intimacies of relationships.
    4. Bernard of Clairvaux: Jesus is God's presence in the world; He anchors our relationship to God.
    5. Jesus is always standing patiently waiting for us to open the doors to our hearts.
    6. Solomon was willing to give up everything in pursuit of wisdom, an attribute of God.  God must be at the center, but Solomon detached himself in order to acquire the wisdom to realize that.
    7. There is no perfect balance in life.  We must live by our talents and gifts, pursuing our relationships and friendships.  A kind of balance will come, especially if the primary relationship/friendship is with God.
  4. Friendships
    1. Three aspects of friendship:
      1. Benevolence: desiring good for the other; recognizing God's hand in goodness; desiring the best from ourselves for God.
      2. Mutuality: it's a two-way street; we give to God, and God gives to us; we must invest in the relationship.
      3. Becoming another self for the other: main example: God's becoming Jesus in the world for us.  Scripture calls us to be another self for God and others.
    2. A sign on the wall of a room where I stayed while in school:
           "A friend is someone who   . . .
                - knows who you are;
                - knows where you've been;
                - knows what you have become;
                - still wants you to grow."
    3. My father died when I was young.  It was a great loss to my mother (they'd been married 40 years).  But she had become involved in ministry over the years and those relationships helped her to live on.
    4. But my mother told me once that her life was tough, since she had lost most of her friends.  She concluded that she would just have to invest more in her remaining friends, including my sister and me.
    5. The critical junctures in life can occur early in life; they're not always toward the end.
    6. Use the talents that we have and create relationships, the primary one being the relationship with God.
    7. I ground my life in God.  My prayer (in effect): Lord, I don't know where I'm going, but I'll trust you to guide me.
  5. Q&A (answers only)
    1. When my friend's mother died, he said he was quite sad because now he was "nobody's child".
    2. I don't think a priest gets burned out unless he allows himself to be.  Some priests love buildings. I don't.  I want to minister.
    3. One's image of friendship depends in part on one's image of God.  Try to put the "skin" of friendship on your image of God.  It will help refine both images.
    4. My brother took a B.S. in business administration; but all he could find was a minimum-wage job.  He was angry at God, so he went to church, sat in the last pew and gave God a piece of his mind.  But he did not hear any reply from God.  I told him that if he'd been sitting in the front pew, he'd have heard.

(The notes of this outline were taken by David G. Price.  They were wordprocessed by Patrick Lyons.
These notes may not be reproduced without the written permission of the presenter.
This page was last edited on December 28, 2000 by Patrick Lyons.)