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: "Life without Balance ... Balance Through Sacred Scripture"

Speaker - John Toman

Currently Chief Operating Officer of Fulcrum Information Services, Inc.  John has worked in the publication and education industries for over thirty years.  He has been recognized nationally for his work in the fields of marketing strategy and sales training.  John and his wife Gabrielle are Eucharistic Ministers at St. Patrick's parish in Yorktown Heights, New York.  They are active in Cursillo, Teams of Our Lady, and serve as liaisons to the New York Archdiocese.  They are sought after speakers and writers having co-authored "Vision and Values for Today's Family" and have written for the "Catechist", and spoken at Catholic Education conventions.

Outline of Talk

  1. Introduction
    1. When I told my wife that the agenda for the retreat was "balance", she fell off her chair laughing.
    2. Romans 12:2 - Do not conform to the age   . . .
    3. I'll talk about my own experience first, then relate it to balance.  I've had a relationship with Jesus.
    4. I'm COO of a growing company that will go public in about two years.  My stock options will then fund a good retirement.
  2. Business Experience
    1. Three years ago, I was dead broke.  I had another company ready to take public when the entire industry went belly-up.  I lost everything.
    2. I lay awake asking how such a thing could have happened.  I had kept investing my money in the company even after it became evident that it could fail.  I thought I was doing God's work; how could I fail?  I had applications for financing into a bank.  The banker then pulled the plug.
    3. I got the call from the bank on a Good Friday.  It was devastating to me.  I had a dream in which I was on a cross with Jesus, being crucified.  We lost the house; I collected unemployment.
    4. But God kept letting me know that I could trust Him with "this little thing".  But I couldn't find out how/why I had failed.
    5. I read a book, Weeds Among the Wheat.  I learned that discernment is the ability to find God's word in any situation.
  3. The Spiritual Life
    1. The spiritual life is built on a tripod: prayer, study, and action.
    2. My executive life is hectic.  I use my hour long ride on the Metro-North from Katonah to pray and study.  I remember a priest's words, "Pray as you can, not as you can't."
    3. So I pray anytime I can.  I use the standard format, with its several prayer parts.  On the train, I pray during the first half of the commute, then study during the second half.
    4. I pray not because I'm holy, which I'm not.  I pray because I'm needy.
    5. In John17, Jesus, who is about to die, prays for everyone else.
    6. I pray several scriptural passages, including the Psalms.
    7. In Luke 22:39-44, Jesus gives up his free choice to do God's will.  The Garden of Gethsemene is up on a hill; Jesus could, therefore, see the procession's torches a long way off.  There is a path out the back of the garden, leading to the desert; Jesus could have easily escaped to the desert and hidden there.  But He didn't; He stayed and did God's will.
    8. Don't pray or study alone.  Use a guide or a fellow Christian businessman.
  4. Balance
    1. Balance can be achieved.  Your wife can help; she knows you better than anyone.  My schedule is brutal, but my wife and I pray together.  Also, we "date" once a week.  I ski, travel, etc.; I have to to keep my mind sane.
    2. Where I went wrong before was to pray my will into God's will.  I should have taken the word of (and trust in) my community, to find God's will.
    3. Humility is knowing who you are before God.  I had to discern God better, to know his will.
    4. In my crisis, ultimately I couldn't abandon God because I kept feeling that God was not abandoning me.
    5. The hardest thing about being out of work is watching your wife suffer.
    6. My house: In my crisis, the mortgage bank foreclosed.  But a neighbor read the foreclosure notice in the newspaper (he's a realtor/developer) and called me.  He said, "I don't want to lose you as a neighbor."  He bought the house at the foreclosure auction, then rented it to me for about three years.  Recently I had accumulated enough cash to buy the house back from him.  God was at work there.
    7. I could not live my life without God.
  5. Q&A (answers only)
    1. Spirituality is spirituality.
    2. I wouldn't promote spirituality as a key to the bottom line.  But I do pay attention to the bottom line.
    3. I do know how to sell; I probably could have recovered by getting another sales job.
    4. I figured out how my crisis happened, but not why.  I don't know what God's will was at the time.
    5. I deal with people differently now.
    6. The main thing: I need God; I know I cannot live my life without Him.
    7. The main difference between now and before the crisis is that now I know I'm needy.

(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.)