How can we make a difference?

For this week, I’d like you to reflect on this audacious, maybe even foolish idea that we can change the world.

One day, a man was walking along the beach. He was struck with a scene stretching the miles of the beach, where tens of thousands of clams had washed ashore following a big storm earlier that day. Because the tide had gone back down, these clams would soon die. The man saw another man walking along the beach up ahead of him. As he walked, the man in the distance bent down, picked up the clams one by one, and threw them back into the ocean. The first man stopped the second man and asked him why he was even bothering with the clams. He told him to look around — there were countless clams, that he couldn’t possibly make a difference! To answer, the second man simply bent down, picked up another clam, and threw it back into the ocean. “I made a difference to that one,” he replied.

–Paraphrased from Dr. Kelly, also found in many online sources

Mother Theresa said “We can do no great things, only do small things with great love”. I’m not sure this is entirely accurate. After all, the world does change — in a very great way — all the time. Perhaps the small things we do with great love — love in the sense of the word agape, of compassionate shelf gift — perhaps that is the engine of great change. The small things we all do, together, do produce great things.

In a chemical reaction, a catalyst is that which expedites a reaction by using the existing materials, forcing them to act. Be a catalyst. Use your talents, empower others to act, inspire others to use what they have — their talents, their gifts, and their whole self — to do the small things in the world. The small things are the great things. We do great things every day.

“Love produces hope, and great love produces great hope” (Ellacuría). Shout presente with your life.

-Tim

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