Douglas Adams (1950–2001), an English writer, humorist and dramatist said, “To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.”  Service-learning must have these attributes.  The National and Community Service Act of 1990 showed that what people learned in and beyond the classroom must foster the development for caring for others.  The characteristics to be noticed are:

  • Persons will learn and develop through active participation by organized service-experiences that meet community needs.
  • Service projects will integrate participants’ academic curricula by providing structured time for thinking, talking, and writing concerning what they are doing, and seeing during these activities.
  • Activists will have opportunities to use their newly acquired skills and knowledge in real life situations in their communities.
  • There will be enhancement of what was taught in classroom-situations through learning beyond the classroom, and the community in helping to foster the development of a sense of caring for others.

Life as Experiences

Henry Ford (1863–1947), an industrialist and the founder of Ford Motor Company wrote, “Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this.  For the world was built to develop character and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure, help us in our marching onward.”  It’s through joining forces with our communities, and by building viable structures people will help them achieve new realities.  Andrew Furco in Service-Learning: A Balance Approach to Experiential Education stated such learning wasn’t the following:

  • Volunteerism – where the primary interest was on the service being provided, and the intended beneficiary were clearly the recipients.
  • Community service – where the primary focus was on the service being provided as well as the benefits that such activities brought to the recipients. Participants receive benefits by learning more about how their services make a difference.
  • Internships that generally engaged individuals in activities, primarily for the purpose of providing hands-on experiences, while enhancing their learning, or understanding of issues to particular areas of studies.
  • Field Education that provided co-curricular service opportunities that will be related, but not fully integrated with their formal goals. People generally performed such services as part of a program designed to enhance their understanding of field studies.

Quality Service

George Washington (1732–1799), the first president of the United States said, “Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”  Similar minded people bent on service to their communities will lead to greater understanding in our communities.  But there might be problems threatening to impede such progress.

Quite important is adequate funding by Federal, State and private corporations for community projects.  Another issue coming to the forefront is documenting the progress made during these undertakings.  Nowadays there are miniature digital cameras capable of producing high quality pictures and programs of such projects.  Then there has to be the delivery systems available for participants to bring their work to the attention of the public.  This could be done through participating TV and cable channels, the Internet, local press and publications of different organizations.  It’s imperative that all parties – secular and non-secular alike, become linkages in symbiotic ways.  If the strong bonds for communal advancement don’t presently exist, over time these will develop.  With such progress entities of service-learning will lead to greater social, cultural, spiritual and communal growth.


Serenity is a quiet joy that lights up the soul.  It’s the tenderness found in love and its infinite goodness.  Persons with this joy have open hearts because they are willing to forgive.  Their hearts are illuminated and born in tranquility.  This joy could be found in believers.  These Christians are known to have spiritual hearts of goodness.

A theologian, ethicist and professor at the Union Theological Seminary – New York, Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971) prayed, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  This popular prayer shows insight into the heart that’s supreme, and able to discern what’s true, wise, and best.

Joyful Experiences

People of faith light up with joy as they encounter the poor. This is true love that expresses itself in   helpful acts.  This fruitful love is manifested from the depths of one’s heart.  It’s by service that an individual can attain this reality.  This is the love of Christ taking root in the repentant heart.  This is love beyond love – one about caring for the poor.  It’s the way Christians concentrate on uplifting the ostracized from their plight of degradation.  This service is considered the highest good that’s explained in the Gospel.  It’s the face of truth expressing itself freely without inhibitions in our society.  Only cleansed hearts truly reveal the joy of well-lived lives.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962), a first lady of the United States, politician and diplomat said, “People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously.  This is how character is built.”  This is true with Christians that are willing to serve.  Their actions build character and impact those they encounter.

 The Wine of Joy

Wine is a festive drink.  Through it joy is born, and there are associations, and symbolism that describe its remarkable presence.  It can be best described as love that flows at weddings, poured out during Eucharistic feasts, and used for medicinal purposes.  Wine is mystery all by itself.  People are touched by its essence.  By it they show joy in the good news of Christ, and his Spirit of Truth.  Consecrated wine is a lightning rod of holiness in a church’s gathering.  This brings together hearts making them one community.

Pope John XXⅢ (1881–1963), a bishop of Rome best summarized the effect of wine on men and women when he said, “Men are like wine – some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.”  Improvement yes!  The desire to better ourselves as we continue our journey through life, are foremost on our minds.  It must be the focus of this quest as we endeavor to live purpose-driven lives.

Joy of Peace

A president of United States Lyndon B. Johnson (1908–1973) said, “Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time.”  O light Eternal, the maker of peace, let us shine our lights to mankind.  Like president Johnson our lights will be steadfast, never letting our batteries run low, for the distance is great.  This is the expression of genuine love, and concern to all people – rich, poor, and indifferent alike. We can capture this serenity through the dialogue of love, our caring ways, and steadfastness in faith.  These gifts are boundless, and transcend all things.  So that’s why we mustn’t be afraid of practicing goodness that some may consider a weakness.  Let our light be on the Good Shepherd, who is the purveyor of peace, and tranquility.  We therefore know that we have achieved peace when we have serene minds.

Serenity Prayer

Reinhold Neibuhr (1892–1971), a theologian and an ethicist wrote the ground-breaking Serenity Prayer – a version Alcoholics Anonymous uses in their Twelve Step Program:

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.



Before coming to the Eucharistic table it’s required that we ask for forgiveness.  This is while seeking salvation from distress, enemies, bondage, adversaries, defeat, and social decay.  In confidence we approach our Pioneer of Salvation Jesus Christ as we confess our sins.  Many Christians wish to be saved from sins and death, and to be free of guilt, and estrangement.  Most of our problems are through ignorance, bondage, and vice.  Mother Teresa (1910–1997), a Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary said, “Joy is prayer; joy is strength: joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”  Prayers of forgiveness have implications, for they eventually release us from guilt.  They bring joy, and bless us with the happiness of being forgiven.  Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948), the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India wrote, “Prayer is not asking.  It is a longing of the soul.  It is daily admission of one’s weakness.  It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”  But some prominent individuals see prayer differently.  Their actions speak louder than words.

Gift of Life

People need prayer – this gift of life has meaning in our lives.  Why must we lead meaningless lives buffeted by the pressures of the world?  It’s wise to seek God’s presence, for he comes to us in every place and situation.  Let each moment be your ongoing experience of being with the living Christ.  So free yourselves from bondage and futility, and attain final reconciliation.  Be emancipated from evil and grow in the enrichment by Christ’s goodness.  Lou Holz (b. 1937), a former football player, and coach said, “Sacrifice, discipline and prayer are essential.  People gain strength through God’s word, and receive grace from the sacrament.  And we fumble due to sin – and it’s gonna happen – confession put us back on the field.”  It should be our desire to be in the game of life.  .

Power of the Holy Spirit

Christians delight when they experience the power of the Spirit.  This means liberation, joy, and a sign of our growing maturity.  By redemption they hope to achieve the prefect likeness of Christ.  This acceptance of God’s gift of immortality brings peace, courage, and hope.  Believers become dedicated to his service.  This self-fulfillment comes with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, when our rebellious nature is subdued that has caused the sickness of souls.  With repentance this lifestyle begins to enthrone God in our hearts.  Like Mark Twain (1835–1910), an author and humorist wrote, “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”  Eventually asking forgiveness will become like a second nature.  We learn to forgive others for we know this is the best way of handling life’s predictions.  This belief was expressed by Tyler Perry (b. 1969), an actor, and filmmaker when he said, “It’s not an easy journey to get to a place where you forgive people.  But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you.”  Christian believers are reminded in the New Testament that before receiving the Holy Eucharist they must ask forgiveness of those they have wronged.  What a freeing gift this is in the Eucharistic Mass!

Marianne Williamson (b. 1952), a spiritual teacher and author wrote, “Forgiveness is not always easy.  At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it.  And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.”  Why place such a heavy price of guilt on our shoulders?  Forgiveness though must beckon us to reach out even to our enemies.  That was why Laurence Sterne (1713–1768), an Anglo-Irish novelist and Anglican clergyman said, “Only the brave know how to forgive … a coward never forgives; it is not in his nature.”  Having courage is a blessing, and a true gift to have in seeking forgiveness and reconciliation.

Our Universal King

Our eye will see the Universal King in his beauty.  We’ll behold a land that stretches far away and the Lord in his majesty will honor us.  In this place there’ll be broad rivers and streams, where no galley with oars can go, nor stately ships can pass (Isa 33:17, 21).  From his heavenly dwelling place prayers there’ll be pleading to him for forgiveness of those who have sinned (2 Chr 6:39).  King David saw the Lord as his light and salvation.  He feared no one because the Lord was the stronghold of his life (Ps 27:1).  An Anglo-Irish Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Johnathan Swift (1667–1745) said, “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”  While living on an earthly plane causes us not to look ahead to the future.  It’s a future promised by Almighty God, and it’s necessary to have faith in him.

The Scriptures

People may come to believe the Gospel by the reading of the Scriptures.  Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), a lecturer and poet wrote: “Never lose the opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.”  This beauty takes the form of truth found in God’s word.  This God has seen fit to reveal to us – through his way, the truth, and the light.

As people journey through life they embrace God’s teachings in various ways.  A historian and archivist Mary Ritter Beard (1876–1958) wrote, “Certainly travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”  This revelation is like seeing the true King in word, and deed.  He’s the One in whose hands our salvation lies.

Our Vision

Seeing demands more than mere perception, and there ought to be understanding.  Daniel H. Pink (b. 1964), a bestselling author said, “Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes.  Not only is empathy hard to outsource and activate, but it makes the world a better place.”  Isn’t it by seeing the goodness of our King Jesus Christ people find in following his teachings, they are saved?  Undoubtedly according to Pink embracing our divinity might well be hard work, for we experience trials and tribulations in life.

But how do people see Jesus for whom he is?  A Christian evangelist George Muller (1805–1898) wrote, “The more I am in a position to be tried in faith with reference to my body, my family, my service to the Lord, my business, etc., the more shall I have the opportunity of seeing God’s help and deliverance; and every fresh instance, in which He helps and delivers me, will tend towards the increase of my faith.”  By faith there’s spiritual growth. Christians will be able to see their King for who he is.  They will continually be blessed in their perseverance, and know in intricate ways the nature of our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ.