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Years that bring the philosophic mind.

Happy New Year, 1993.

I remember the time -- seems only moments ago -- when I wondered what the bicentennial would be like. 1976 came and passed. So did the 1980s. We entered the 1990s and those years are ticking away.

The older I get, the faster the years go by. Time seems out of hand. Trying to recognize what's happening, I press for "truth" and find it ever more difficult to grasp. Can I achieve wisdom? Will I know it if I do?

There are so many words, so much to read, to learn, so many issues calling for attention, for judgment. And time seems so limited. The temptation is to retreat, but how and to where? And where does one cultivate proper perspective? Who's got the time?

I sometimes find myself settling for finding balance in life. Knowing when to be detached, when to be involved; when to stress the individual, when to act collectively; how to sort the relative from the absolute. But if balance is the ideal, what does it have to say to human oppression, abject poverty fare?

I feel the need for direction and find and growing out of an understanding of my past. The unwritten chapters are the rest of my life. I recognize that much of the perspective I dare claim has grown out of experience, particularly family experience. It has grown out of relationship with people I have loved, principally parents, siblings, wife and children. They now represent the steadiest course. Surrounding them are relatives, friends, colleagues, a few good teachers. Compasses in life.

There's more. Here it gets more difficult to explain. I have been abundantly blessed with health and good fortune. Never does a day pass without a private expression of gratitude. I am especially grateful for an inexplicable inner faith in the sacredness of life.

Oh, I take issue with this church of ours in many ways, but it has given me more than words can ever describe. Catholicism has given me what might be called a sacramental attitude. It has taught me to see and, further, to imagine that which is limitless in many seemingly limited acts.

My Catholicism, in essence, means a profound sharing of awareness with family and universe that supersedes nation, race and culture. Even planet. It integrates and, thus, offers much peace and hope. It makes the simple profound. Places me. Encourages me to encourage others. And though the years seem totally out of control, it allows me to suspect they are not. And so I can choose to reach up to the heavens and whisper, "Let it be."
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Author:Fox, Tom
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jan 8, 1993
Words:434
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