BBC investigation exposes European pyramid scam exploiting people in Africa, others

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Source: BBC investigation exposes European pyramid scam exploiting people in Africa, others | International Centre for Investigative Reporting

Real leaders and good followers

Nov 3, 2020 by Pat Marrin National Catholic Reporter

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“God is the one who … works in you both to desire and to work” (Phil 2:13).

Phil 2:12-18; Luke 14:25-33

The first challenge a leader faces in any mass movement is to keep the mission clearly on the shoulders of his followers instead of letting them focus exclusively on him.  Jesus was intent on transferring everything to his disciples, who were to carry out his ministry after his departure with the same empowering Spirit that had animated him.

A key scene in this transfer was when angels chided the apostles for standing and looking up at the sky after Jesus’ Ascension.  They were not to enshrine him or wait for his return, but resume his mission in the world, where Jesus had already gone ahead of them to Galilee and beyond.     

The church lost some of this emphasis and energy when later Christians began shifting their focus from imitating Jesus to worshiping him. We face this same temptation today by enshrining Jesus in sanctuaries and in our devotional practices instead of becoming other Christs in the world. 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus senses the growing dependence of the crowds following him because of his preaching and miracles. He was the strong leader, and they were his fans. So, Jesus turns and confronts them with the demands of discipleship.  If they want to follow him, they must imitate him, making the mission more important than all other loyalties, including family. They must shoulder their own burdens as he was doing. The two short parables about builders and kings were lessons about knowing what is required to complete the challenges of discipleship.

St. Paul also tried to prepare his fellow workers for his own departure by reminding them that it was God, not Paul, who inspired them to embrace the paschal pattern of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Their relationship with God in Jesus had to be a direct and intimate, not second-hand faith.  

Strong leaders, in faith or politics, must be a team builders and delegators if the movement is to grow. Charismatic founders can overshadow others and fail to transfer power.  Jesus was intent on inspiring “full, conscious, active participation” by all believers. These words from Vatican II’s “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” describe a church fully incorporated into the body of Christ, whose Spirit animates every baptized person to share in the ministry of the Gospel. 

We reach maturity as Christians by developing all our gifts for the service of others by imitating Jesus’ self-sacrificing love.  People who serve come alive, enriched by the networks of relationships with other people inspired by visions larger than themselves.  “The glory of God,” wrote St. Irenaeus, “is a human being fully alive.” This was the example Jesus set, then called to us, “Come, follow me.”

Receiving the Word in Affliction and Joy

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St. Paul calls believers of Thessalonica “imitators of the Lord” who received the Word in “affliction” and “the joy of the Holy Spirit.”   To imitate is to repeat what another has done. When imitation is made of another out of love, it reveals a beautiful devotion.  So one friend imitates the virtues of another because he admires her, and a spouse reveals a deep devotion to her beloved when she attempts to make him feel the love that she has felt from him. Thus, does marriage reveal the Great Mystery.

In the case of the Bridegroom of the Church, He has loved us to the end. He who is Love Himself was hated for our sake. To rescue us from a world dying in its own lies and myths, He suffered the truth of God’s love for us and dared to reveal it no matter the cost. With patience, His loving obedience bore away sin until death itself was overcome. How can a believer show his devotion to such a Lover other than to love Him in kind?

This is what St. Paul praises when he singles out believers for receiving the Word in affliction. In welcoming the Word of the Father while they are under trial, they imitate the One whom they love. They suffer the Truth — for no one can know the Truth until they suffer it in their own life, in the depths of their heart. Only to the degree that we suffer the truth in our hearts do we possess it. Those who believe in the Word suffer this Truth even as they make their way through the work-a-day world as a sign of contradiction – and thus, they too are hated even to the point of sharing in His salvific work.

Holy Spirit, who makes this imitation of Christ possible, gives them joy.  The Word connects present afflictions and the Gift of the Holy Spirit. The greater an affliction is born with love-filled faith, the more completely the Word is received, and the greater that joy which the Holy Spirit produces in the heart.

He who is the True Life permits us to undergo afflictions only so that we might turn to Him and welcome Him as the Beloved of the Father.  As we welcome this Life more deeply into the heart, this Word made flesh speaks with the power of the Holy Spirit and floods our innermost being with unexpected and inexhaustible riches. His Light shines into the most secret depths, and through the power of the Holy Spirit He fills with love abysses that we do not know are there. Indeed, only affliction can open up such depths to these life-giving riches – so did Christ Crucified suffer for us and so does this Risen Lord suffer with us, and so we never suffer alone. Here we find the secret of a joy that the Holy Spirit knows between the Father and the Son – and wherever the Word communicates His riches, the Fire of the Holy Spirit ignites our joy.

Ways To Regain Your Motivation

The struggles of leadership can tear you down if you’re not ready for the day and what is coming at you. This is why you need to be motivated.

Finding the key to your motivation can be a lifesaver in leadership. You can go to your well of motivation and keep plucking it out of there.

Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw

Motivation will kick you in the butt. It’ll be the thing that tells you “You can do this!” when you don’t want to. Motivation is the key to getting things done.

But what do you do if you’ve lost your motivation to lead? You have to regain your motivation. The following 6 tips will help you regain your motivation.

6 Ways To Regain Your Motivation

1. Pause what you’re working on:

You can lose your motivation because you’ve been working on the same thing for an extended period of time. After spending too much time on a project, you can lose your motivation because it is all you see.

Press the pause button on your project.

Pausing what you’re working on can help you step outside of your current bubble and regain your perspective and motivation. Use your time away from your stuck project to try something new. Even if it is only a five-minute break.

2. Talk with someone:

Motivation loss can come from isolation. You’re head down, nose to the grindstone, tucked away in your office by yourself. All of your attention is focused on what is happening right in front of you.

You forget that you need mental stimulation from those you work with and lead.

I want to suggest you get out of your isolated office and go talk to someone. Bounce ideas off of one another.

I do this on a regular basis with my friend, Jeff. He and I will share what we’re working on and what we’re struggling with. Know what happens when we’re done talking? We’re motivated and ready to tackle the project that has been nagging us. Try it. I bet you’ll experience the same!

3. Get active:

One of my favorite ways to regain my motivation is to get active. Getting active for me looks like a good run, maybe 4-5 miles.

The run will get my blood flowing. It gets me outside. And it allows me to think through the issue in a new environment.

Getting active can be the kickstart to regaining your motivation.

4. Shelve the project you’re working on:

Take a look at the project you’re working on. Is it mission-critical or is it a time-waster? You may discover the project that is draining your energy isn’t crucial to you, your organization, or to the person who asked for it.

Be willing to shelve projects that are draining you. They may not be as vital as you thought they were when you began working on the project.

5. Delegate more tasks:

Leadership can be overwhelming. Your team constantly comes and asks you to do this, then that, and there’s this thing as well.

You have to be discerning in the tasks you personally take on. They may not be a responsibility in your wheelhouse.

Look at the tasks you have. What tasks can be delegated to someone who is better suited to accomplish it? See if they’re willing to tackle the task and free you to do more life-giving tasks.

6. Quit every night:

It’s 6 PM. You’re ready to head home and call it a night. You feel the day drug on, was an epic success, or fell somewhere in-between.

Regardless of how you feel when you head home, I’ve found one way to regain my motivation for the next day. It is for me to quit every night.

I mentally tell myself “I’m done. I quit.”

Does this sound strange? It did to me too when I first began to quit every night. Yet, quitting every night helped me to realize the honor it is to go in and work hard.

By quitting every night, I make the choice to go back in the morning. I am able to tell myself “I control this. I’ve got this. It is my choice.”

Regaining your control over your situation can also help you regain your motivation. Don’t doubt the power of quitting until you’ve given it a try.

Three models of priestly goodness

George Weigel Wednesday, November 4, 2020 ECHOES

George Weigel

The Pandemic of 2020 has been hard on every Catholic. Eucharistic fasting for this length of time may remind us what 20th-century heroes of the faith in underground churches endured, and what 21st-century confessors in China and elsewhere endure today; and that is no bad thing. Still, it is very, very hard to be the Catholic Church without being a vibrantly eucharistic Church. That’s true for everyone. The people of the Church should realize that it’s especially true for priests.

Priests, who live out their priesthood as the Catholic Church, understand that unique vocation — as an icon of the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ, the Church’s spouse — and miss their eucharistic congregations terribly. They have dedicated their lives to nourishing the flock, and to be unable to do so as they did eight months ago is a constant sorrow. Pastors are also bearing heavier financial burdens these days as donations shrink. Then, there are the serious challenges involved in keeping parochial schools afloat under today’s public health circumstances. No man entering the seminary after the Long Lent of the 2002 and the sexual abuse crisis could imagine he was embracing an easy life; but no one expected this.

All the more reason, then, to celebrate the October 31 beatification of an exceptional parish priest, Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, who died during the pandemic of 1890.

He was born in 1852 to immigrant parents and his brief life coincided with the greatest period of expansion in U.S. Catholic history. That expansion also helped define his heroic ministry — and his genius. America in the late 19th century had nothing remotely resembling the social safety net created since the New Deal. Immigrant and first-generation families who lost their sole wage-earner could find themselves in desperate straits. In collaboration with Catholic lay leaders in New Haven, Connecticut, Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882 and created a new model of Catholic pastoral action: a fraternal organization that would provide for the spiritual and material needs of its members while serving the bereft, the indigent, and those foundering in their new homeland. Catholicism has been one of the great integrators of immigrants in American history, and no small credit for that is due to the Knights.

McGivney’s Knights also anticipated the Second Vatican Council in its teaching that the lay vocation in the world is just that: a vocation, a divine calling to live out the Great Commission given every Catholic in baptism: “Go and make disciples….” (Matthew 28:19). Following Father McGivney’s lead, the Knights have been a force for evangelization as well as charity, even as they have provided major philanthropic support to many Catholic initiatives, including Vatican communications. In the public arena, the Knights’ recent robust defense of religious freedom follows the example of their work for racial justice. Knights of Columbus chapters on nominally Catholic campuses today provide young men serious about their Catholicism with a means of evangelizing their peers while nurturing their own faith.

Father Michael McGivney’s beatification is a blessing for the organization he founded and inspired; it is also a compliment paid by the universal Church to the parish priests of the United States. Two of the finest were called home to the Lord in recent months, and while there is no way of knowing whether they will eventually follow Blessed Michael McGivney into the Church’s liturgical calendar, their memory is already firmly lodged in the hearts of the people they served, and they stand as further models of priestly goodness.

One of his admirers told me that, were it not for the pandemic, the entire city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, might have turned out in May for the funeral of Father Dennis Morrow, so beloved was this pastor, police, and fire department chaplain. I knew Den Morrow in college, and he remained a rock of Catholic faith for the next 50 years. Father Philip Tighe came to the seminary after a business career, and it was clear from the deacon year he served in my Maryland parish that he would be a superb priest, eager to lead others in the adventure of orthodoxy — which I happily observed him doing when he became my daughter’s family’s pastor in North Carolina. His August 31 death deprived the Diocese of Raleigh of an exceptional spiritual leader.

There being neither rivalry nor jealousy in the heavenly Jerusalem, it is easy to imagine Fathers Morrow and Tighe celebrating Father McGivney’s beatification with him. May these three great American priests intercede for us all.