Letters to the editor – June 6, 2024


Be a good listener

To the Editor:

I recently had an opportunity for evangelization. An old friend of mine — I will call him Tom — reached out by text and we set aside time for a long phone conversation.

Growing up, Tom and I were close friends. We went to Catholic schools together from kindergarten through high school. Tom became an anesthesiologist, moved out West and rarely traveled home. He and his wife, his high school sweetheart, retired a few years ago. 


Sadly, I have not seen Tom since my wedding, more than 47 years ago. Over the years, we talked by phone once every five years. Now we talk about every other month, catching up on life and even talking about politics and religion.

Tom shared that he was “hearing footsteps” as he was coming to grips with his mortality. After acknowledging the same feeling, I asked if thoughts of death were “making him more religious.”  He laughed and talked about the faults of the Church, the mythology of religion and his very rational doubts about “what organized religion teaches.”

Instead of arguing, I listened carefully. I acknowledged that I also saw faults in the Church and sometimes had doubts about my faith. When the moment seemed right, I added that “going to Mass gives me a sense of belonging to something greater than myself” and that “my Catholic faith can bring great joy into my life.” Tom acknowledged that he “could use more of that” in his life.

I replied, “Tom, I figure that if the Catholic faith worked for our parents and the generations before them, maybe it can still work for us.” Tom replied, “Yeah, maybe you’re right.” I’m looking forward to future conversations with Tom. I’ll try to witness the gift of my faith without getting into arguments about the many ways our reason can interfere with our faith. 

Dan R. Ebener

We need God

To the Editor:

 I have noticed lately that many people’s woes stem from “needing” what they want but not wanting what they need. It creates a lot of tension, pressure, disappointment and often broken relationships. Sometimes it seems that God gives in to the whims of his children (and sometimes not) but which is really the greater blessing?

We can feel at times that some people are jumping the queue when it comes to blessings, that our prayers are stuck in God’s spam folder somewhere and in a spirit of false comparison, we feel a bit left behind. If you take a long view, what is revealed may be quite unexpected.

 An acquaintance, a prayerful man, had the opportunity to have a business in his chosen field. He did everything in prayer, from applying for contracts, to suppliers, to staff; each meeting or letter he wrote would be under God’s guiding hand. He did well and catapulted to success. At some point, things changed. He acquired property, vehicles, houses and luxuries and entered into ventures without seeking God’s guidance. Things started to fall apart. Periodically, he turned back to God, but then repeated his folly.

 So as I stand at the bus stop with my new top-notch umbrella (rainy season is beginning), I can measure things differently. It’s been 15 years since I had to change a tire, since an unwelcome insurance renewal landed on the mat, since I bought a gallon of diesel or had trouble parking. I have none the less traveled thousands of miles to some of the most remote and beautiful places in the country. I have been on the bus, Jeep, tricycle, walked and hitchhiked. I am blessed because God disregards the prayers that will bring me harm somehow, even if I don’t understand the why of it.

Steve Clark,
Manila, Philippines

Support The Catholic Messenger’s mission to inform, educate and inspire the faithful of the Diocese of Davenport – and beyond! Subscribe to the print and/or e-edition, or make a one-time donation, today!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *