Five things to reflect on at 50 – or any age!


Fr. Marty Goetz
A reflection

Contributed Father Marty Goetz stands atop St. Peter Basilica at the Vatican earlier this year. Fr. Goetz refects on turning 50.
Father Marty Goetz stands atop St. Peter Basilica at the Vatican earlier this year. Fr. Goetz refects on turning 50.

This Wednesday I turned 50! Half a century old! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I would like to share with you five things I have learned over the years. Hopefully I’ve learned a lot more than that — and hopefully I continue to learn – but here’s my top five. Hopefully they will help you in your journey through life — no matter how old you are!
• Don’t take life for granted! I miss my friend Pat O’Rourke — a lot. I miss the miles we ran together, but more than that I miss his friendship and support. I could call him on a tough day and he would listen and offer some advice or words of encouragement. I still beat myself up that I didn’t get up to see him before he died. I’m sure he’d say to me: “Marty, don’t go there!” But it’s still hard. Treasure the time with family and friends. You never know if you’ll still have tomorrow to do that. Live today — and every day — as if it were your last.
• Don’t forget to be adventurous! So many times I hear you have to think outside the box. Maybe it’s time for us to jump into the box because that’s where life happens. Life is meant to be lived; it’s not a spectator sport. Get out of your comfort zone. Do something every day that challenges your heart, soul, spirit, mind and body. Don’t forget to have fun along the way. And don’t forget to feed your body and soul.
• Don’t forget to take time to listen! We live in a world where there is so much noise that we don’t take the time to listen to God, or to each other. My mother says I didn’t start talking until I was 4 years old and I haven’t shut up since! But sometimes we need to be quiet and let God talk to the deepest recesses of our heart and spirit. As the rule of St. Benedict says: “Listen.” “Incline the ear of the heart.”
• “God of the Second Chance, here I am again!” I have been blessed with the gift of the second chance with my priesthood. In my previous life as vocation director, one of my responsibilities was to travel around to schools and as many groups as I could and talk about vocations. One of the things I would do is tell my story about me being lucky and how I was given a second chance to come back. At the end of one of my talks, I had a little girl in second grade come up to me and say: “Father, you aren’t lucky!” I looked at her with a surprised expression and said, “Why not?” She looked up at me and said: “Father, you aren’t lucky! You’re blessed!” I’m blessed as a priest to offer so many people the gift of the second chance. It’s one I can offer since I have received it myself. You can receive one too. Don’t forget to give yourself a second chance when you need it. We’re human — not God!
• Don’t forget to be yourself! Do you love yourself, or would you rather be someone else? I know I did, especially back in high school when I wasn’t as good looking and cool as I am now! Maybe that’s why we put on masks. I love Batman! That’s who I wanted to be! And there are times I still do! Who do you want to be? Instead of putting a mask on, how about being yourself. As Thomas Merton once said: “For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.” Be who God made you to be — and rejoice in that. And love who God made you to be.
One more point: Only you can do it, but you can’t do it alone! I’m so grateful for the many people who have touched my heart and life these past 50 years. Thanks so much for sharing the journey with me!
Have a blessed week!

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