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Great Lesson

It’s the last day of 2015. In a few short hours the year will be history. For me anyway it has been a year of personal growth as I have pondered much on what the central focus of my life should be and path I wish for it to take. For a while now I have been doing this book retreat based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I was first introduced to this exercise in response to a question to my personal physician who was undergoing chemotherapy. I asked him how he was doing. This was his answer. “Right now I still see my patients. Very soon I will take a medical leave of absence. My hands are becoming numb from the treatments. Without this sense I will be unable to practice family medicine. After I leave here I plan to do the Nine First Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In addition to that I want to go through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. There will soon come a time when I will be too sick to pray. I want to pray as much as I can now when I can. Every couple days I go to the cancer treatment center for chemotherapy. I hear the talk from other cancer patients about their plans to do this or that and their travel plans to go here or there. You see, Leon, I know the cancer types they have. And as a doctor I doubt that what they are planning is going to happen.” There was poignancy in his voice that could not be misinterpreted. There was no sense that he was angry, or desperate, only the sense that he had his eye on the prize and he was pressing on toward the mark. It was a lesson I haven’t forgotten. Later.

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