An Encouraging Word – Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Father J. Ronald Knott

Father J. Ronald Knott

The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” These words from Dr. Suess are words I am trying to remember as I write my final An Encouraging Word column after 15 years.

I thought leaving the home missions in 1980 was hard! I thought leaving Calvary in 1983 was hard. I thought leaving the Cathedral in 1997 was hard. I though leaving the Institute for Priests and Presbyterates in 2014 was hard.

I thought leaving Bellarmine University in 2016 was hard. Leaving The Record as a weekly columnist may be the hardest thing yet because it may have been the most effective thing I have ever tried to do.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” These words from Winnie the Pooh pretty much sums up how I feel. Writing this column has brought me unbelievable satisfaction when so many people regularly tell me that they have been touched and helped. I am going to miss running into friends and strangers who know me “from The Record.”

The discipline of writing weekly has bolstered my own spiritual life like nothing else. As Flannery O’Conner said, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

Sticking my neck out every week for public scrutiny helped me grow. As the old Quicken Loans commercial said, “Without scary, we don’t get to be brave.” American politician, Frank A. Clark put it best, “We find comfort among those who agree with us — growth among those who don’t.”

As scary as it is to “let go,” I would rather leave on a high note than be run out of town. All of you are facing your own questions and decisions about when to let go and move on. It may be more helpful, not just to write about it, but to be an example of how to do it.

In my priest retreats, I talk about “embracing the rocks that come crashing through your windows with a note that says that you are invited to change and growth.” I end those conferences by saying that the highest level of spiritual growth is not when you embrace those “rocks” as they come, but when you are able to “throw rocks through your own windows” and “induce your own labor pains of growth and change.”

It may sound melodramatic to some, but I feel very much like I am moving away and saying goodbye to so many good and faithful friends. I may be moving on as a columnist, but we can stay in touch.

I will continue to post things on my blog every few days. I will continue to publish homilies, reflections and news about my ministry in retirement, especially news about my volunteer work in the foreign missions of the Caribbean.

I encourage you to follow me on my blog

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