How Then Shall We Live?

As we come to know the seriousness of the situation, the war, the racism, the poverty in our world, we come to realize that things will not be changed simply by words or demonstrations. Rather, it’s a question of living one’s life in a drastically different way. -Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, is one of my heroes because she not only talked a good talk; she lived a life of love, compassion, and mercy. Her faith was forged through her own trials and pain, a reality that also led her down a path to help others. Day was a truly amazing woman and a faithful witness to the gospel. You can read more of her story here.

When I read the above quote today, I was reminded again that each day we wake to answer the question “how shall I live this day?” Our western culture affords us myriad choices and opportunities. Most all who read this reflection are blessed to have enough to eat, living quarters that are dry, warm, clean, and spacious, more than enough clothes and possessions, and transportation. Yet still many of us wonder about purpose, direction, and meaning.

Do we live for ourselves, or do we live for one another? Are we only here to live for the day (Carpe Diem) and what we can amass, or are we here to live in community and share? Are we entitled to however much we can get, or do we use only what we need and share the rest with those who have need? How then shall we live?

I cannot answer that for anyone but myself. What I am learning in life is that how I answer that question really does matter and that my needs are pretty simple. People matter; stuff does not. Relationships last; possessions come and go. We come into life empty-handed, and we go out the very same way.

How will you live today?

Photos by Jagz Mario and christiantimeless. Thanks!



We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves. — Thomas Merton

Not a day goes by that we fail to make choices. Our choices can be as simple as whether to eat toast and eggs or cereal for breakfast or whether to wear jeans and a t-shirt or slacks and a dress shirt.

Our choices may also be more profound and have far-reaching effect. We can choose to take our rightful place in the grocery check-out line or make someone’s life easier by letting the harried mother with only a few items go ahead of us. We can choose to be grumpy and hateful or pleasant and courteous. And, we can choose a life of thankfulness and gratitude, or we can choose to be selfish and self-centered.

We can choose a clutched, closed-fist approach to life or an open and sharing posture. The choice is ours to make.

By choosing a life of thanksliving, we open ourselves to fulfill all that we can be. When we recognize, honor, and share the many gifts we have been given, we will never run out of oil. Living with gratitude and thankfulness helps us to construct community and a web of relationships that sustains others, as well as ourselves. Living each moment as gift and blessing is an eye-opening, heart-widening experience.

But don’t just believe me. Choose for yourself and see how amazing a life of thanksliving really can be.

Photo by Per Ola Wiberg used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!