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My inspiration for my writings comes from trying to live my life by loving others deeply from the heart and this has always been on my New Year’s resolution list year in and year out. It’s not always easy but each year I try harder, especially as I get older!

Loving deeply

Loving and living deeply from the heart is not easy. It takes work, very hard work. It demands self-sacrifice, a generous spirit, great tenderness and goodness and an expansive embrace. It implies the risk of loving and living without barriers and obstacles. It suggests walking in someone else’s shoes, leaving behind one’s own baggage that makes the walk heavier, and letting go of old habits that become burdens on the journey.

It is to speak and act with compassion. Loving and living deeply from the heart is intentional. It does not happen accidentally. It happens because we decide to live that way. We love in spite of ourselves, even if it hurts.

It means going beyond what holds us back, beyond what bothers us about another person and looking for the good in them.

Loving and living deeply from the heart is about forgiveness—forgiving previous generations for their actions.

And in the case of some of the most difficult and painful situations, loving deeply from the heart also means praying “God forgive us, even though we know what we do.”

Deep-hearted love does not just contemplate the wrongs that have been done or the mistakes that have been made: it also calls us to active repentance. It says, “Don’t just sit there feeling bad: do something to make it better.” It gets beyond that which keeps us stuck in the past and prevents us from moving into the future. At the center of it all, deep hearted love is a call to conversion and, if we’re honest with ourselves, most of us need this wake-up call to conversion.

Maybe loving deeply from the heart should be part of everyone’s New Year’s resolutions for 2014. Our country and our world need it.

A weakness can be strength

Sometimes your biggest weakness can become your biggest strength. Take, for example, the story of one ten-year-old boy who decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.

The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training, the master had taught him only one move. “Sensei,” the boy finally said, “shouldn’t I be learning more moves?”

“This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied.

Several months later, he went to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but, after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged. The boy deftly used his one move to win the match.

The boy was now in the finals. This time, his opponent was bigger and more experienced. The boy appeared to be over matched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened. “No,”, the sensei insisted, “Let him continue.”

Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake; he dropped his guard, instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion.

On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind. ”Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move.”

“You won for two reasons,”. the sensei answered. ”First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. Second, the only known defence for that move is for our opponent to grab your left arm.” The boy’s biggest weakness had become his biggest strength.

Thought for the week

As your thought for the week, don’t just watch quietly during 2014, do something worthwhile with your life and with the people you love and care for. Christ says you are my eyes, ears and mouth; you are my arms and legs; you are my body in this world. Do something! But whatever you do, do it with love, for it is only in loving and living deeply from the heart that we and our precious earth and all who dwell therein will have a chance for the future.