An Encouraging Word – The windshield, not the rearview mirror

Father J. Ronald Knott

Father J. Ronald Knott

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. John 14:1

I still remember the day I went to the Chancery to talk to Archbishop Thomas Kelly about leaving the Cathedral of the Assumption after 14 wonderful years. The normal term of a pastor was 10 years in those days. He had told me several times that I could stay as long as I wanted since he had reserved to himself who would be pastor of the Cathedral.

I knew it was time, but part of me wanted to hang on. I also knew that other pastors were wanting to hang on to their pastorates after their 10-year term and my hanging on was becoming unfair in my own mind. As I got into my car after Archbishop Kelly accepted my decision, I felt like I had just committed emotional suicide. I knew it was the right decision, but I might have cried a bit. I feel much the same way about ending this column in two weeks.

What I try to come back to are my own words to the parishioners of the Cathedral when I was given the job to “do something with it” by Archbishop Kelly. I used to ask the Cathedral parishioners regularly, “Who said this place only gets one Golden Age — 1890-1910? Let’s create another Golden Age!”

I am looking for yet another personal Golden Age in my golden years. Part of being 73 is the temptation to think small. You start saying things to yourself like, “Nothing really good can happen from here on!” As a result, you are tempted to try to hold onto the past. As I let go of this weekly column, I remember the words of Alexander Graham Bell: “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” I want to keep looking through the windshield, not the rearview mirror,

What am I going to do with all the time I used to spend on writing this column? I don’t know for sure yet, but I do know that I will certainly focus more on my program for retired priests, bishops and lay professions called the Catholic Second Wind Guild for people who want to offer their time, resources, talent and connections in the Caribbean missions. Maybe you would like to help me complete a project or even go down someday? If so, let’s talk.

Another thing I would like to do is finish a play about five priests on their day off who meet at a lake every week. It’s called “Tuesdays at the Lake.” My plan is to give you a chance to hear what priests talk about: their ministries, their lives, their frustrations, their joys and most of all what they say about you! Hopefully, it will be insightful and funny, not scandalous and mean!

To read more from Father Knott, visit his blog: FatherKnott.com.

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