Your Entire Being

31 Jan

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”  ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I remember the last couple of years of my father’s life.  He had cancer and knew that he was on limited time.  He was one of the many people who longed for death — to be free from the cancer as well as to be reunited with my mom who had died before him — and yet who feared death because he longed for life.  This yearning for bother our temporal life and eternal life can make many a soul squirm.  For my father, he would talk about his impending death and in the next breath would say, “Let’s plan a vacation!”

Perhaps the intensity of his vacations was fed by the fact that he didn’t have much time left.  He struggled on a couple of our trips but he gave his all because it meant that he “was still with us”.  On vacation, he would try to learn new things, meet new people, and generally open himself up to experiences that he had yet to have in his life.

Gandhi spoke about that kind of intensity.  When living, he instructed his people to live completely, embracing every opportunity, as if that day would be their last.  That’s a good maxim to follow.  We need to live with that kind of intensity, that kind of passion, every day of our lives.  While we live, we learn.  That was Gandhi’s second instruction.  He told his people to learn as if they were to live forever.  Don’t let an opportunity to learn slip by.

Today is Tuesday of Catholic Schools Week.  We try to impart that philosophy upon our students.  We encourage them to grasp all experiences completely so as to be as well-rounded as possible.  Our students get involved in academic bowls, science competitions, theatre, sports, band, and a whole host of other extra-curricular activities.  A moment of honesty here: I never liked the term “extra-curricular”.  I prefer to believe that these should be called regular events and not extra events as they provide so much to a person.

We also encourage our students not only to excel but to set their sights on learning new things every day.  Learning keeps us fresh and keeps us pointed at the future.  When we quit learning, we rest on our laurels and, in doing so, have the potential to stagnate.

God doesn’t want His people to be stagnant.  He wants His people to experience the live He provides to us to the fullest, learning from each moment and making ourselves better at all times.  Follow Gandhi’s advice today and every day.

FAITH ACTION:  Give yourself one hundred percent to the good that comes your way today that you may live and learn to the fullest.