An Encouraging Word — Don’t give up

Father J. Ronald Knott
Father J. Ronald Knott

We do not give into discouragement. II Corinthians 4:1

Let me share a favorite story about quitting too early — a story about the engineer who designed a great tunnel through the Swiss Alps. He came up with the risky idea that it would save money and time to dig from both ends and meet in the middle.

When the day came for the diggers to meet midway, they failed to break through so the engineer killed himself, thinking that he had failed. The day of his funeral, the diggers did break through and the two tunnels connected perfectly! The poor engineer gave up two days too soon.

A similar thing almost happened to me in 2002. During the height of the sexual abuse scandal in Louisville, I was vocation director. I had come up with seventeen ideas about how to promote vocations, but they were going nowhere. Deeply discouraged, I sat down at my computer to delete them all. At the very last second, I pulled my finger from the delete button and decided to put them in a book and give that book to all the bishops of the United States (a nervy thing to do when one is really frustrated). Since then, that book has been reprinted several times, is used as a textbook in several seminaries and has been translated into Spanish and Swahili. I have added another book for bishops and have given free copies to the bishops of the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Ireland, Wales and South Africa.

All this has led to my being invited to speak about the unity of priests and bishops — most at week-long events — in cities around the U.S. and the world, including multiple cities in about three dozen states in the union. I’ve also spoken in Ireland; Wales; Manitoba; the Bahamas; Ontario and Saskatchewan.

In 2015, I have traveled to Texas, three cities in British Columbia, Newfoundland, Scranton, Penn.; Saskatchewan; Memphis, Denver and Portland, Ore.

I have spoken at two gatherings of U.S. bishops, three seminary retreats or multiple courses on presbyteral unity (St. Mary’s Seminary in Texas, St. Meinrad Seminary and University in Indiana and St. Augustine’s Seminary in Ontario), the National Federation of Priests Conventions in Phoenix, Miami, Minneapolis, Toronto and Leeds, England; the 2015 Canon Law Convention and monastic retreats at two monasteries.

The lesson? Never give up! It’s often the last key on the ring that opens the door.

Father J. Ronald Knott

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