With a wonderful mix of humor and humility, Brig. Gen. Tim Gibson, USAF (Ret.) shares the extraordinary journey of his career through the ranks of the Air Force and eventually to the position of President of The King’s College in New York. He tells how, time and time again, God closed the doors he most wanted open and often pushed him through the ones he most wanted closed. Each time, Gen. Gibson recognized in hindsight why the door God opened was exactly the right door, often because it qualified him for, and opened, future ones he could have never imagined. Rather than fight the path God had him on, he embraced each step and surrendered to God’s will. He told how, with each adventure, he and his wife became better and better at hearing God’s will and trusting in it. What he tried to cut short after just a few years turned into a distinguished 32-year Air Force career.
Father Louis Leonelli starts by sharing a bit of his life story, including his radical and miraculous conversion from a successful Wall Street businessman pursuing wealth, woman and a music career to a humble Franciscan friar serving the homeless in the South Bronx.
Father Louis then examines “masculinity”–real “toxic” masculinity, the normal masculinity that our politically correct culture has deceptively labeled “toxic”, and finally, the “virtuous” masculinity we are called to pursue as followers of Jesus. In exploring virtuous masculinity, he explains and stresses the virtues of temperance, sacrifice and humility. Father Louis ends by sharing what he believes to be the three most important priorities in the pursuit of virtuous masculinity: (1) develop and nurture a relationship with God, (2) develop and nurture relationships with the small circle of people whom we love and who love us and (3) in whatever our stations or callings in life, strive to be the very best version of ourself we can be, all to the glory of God.
Drawing from his own experiences as well as his knowledge of American history, Joseph Holland shares 3 of the 12 virtues highlighted in his upcoming book “Vigorous Virtues”. Holland explains what he calls “The Three C’s”–Courage, Compassion and Civility. Joe posits that the deterioration of public and political discourse in America reflects a loss of foundational values. He points out that 2 Peter 1:5 instructs Christians to add “virtue” to their faith before anything else.
Holland describes how Courage requires us to be “pugnacious” and “prayerful”. He then explores Compassion and urges that it come with guidance (help people grow beyond the need for the assistance) and caring. Finally, Holland discusses “Civility”, which he believes is the most important virtue in light of the diminishing civility in America. He describes Civility as a process of “letting go” of cultural and sociological baggage and “leaning in”–taking action toward reconciliation and forgiveness.
Holland’s talk is an important one for this chapter of American history.
With great transparency and humility and extraordinary energy, John Simontacchi shares his extraordinary journey of transformation. John describes the numerous times that God’s amazing hand of grace rescued him from life-threatening situations and guided his career, even before he really even “believed” in God. Most dramatically, John explains how the escalation of his career was accompanied by the slow deterioration of his heart until in his 60’s he was given just a few months to live. Once again, God’s amazing grace provided a 20-year old heart for his aging body, and with that heart came direction toward a new career. John Simontacchi was given a new heart both figuratively and literally, and the message of this transformed man is to trust and surrender.
As a senior partner in a global consulting firm and a deacon in the Catholic Church, Gauthier Vincent is uniquely positioned to contemplate the intersections and integration of faith and work. He shares 12 ways he has found to ground his work in his faith, and explains how he applies these practically on a daily basis in his own life.
- Embrace the purpose of your work (remember all the people whose welfare our work contributes to)
- Realize your freedom (just follow Christ)
Ideas 1 and 2 are about growing in gratitude and in spiritual freedom
- Practice a life of virtues at work (even work becomes a good habit, i.e., virtue and a school of selflessness)
- Do it right and make it beautiful (beauty always leads to contemplation)
- Always be cheerful (joy calls on Joy)
- Live the Gospel literally whenever you can (as you take the last seat and sub-optimize your work, you trust in the Lord)
- Welcome Christ in everyone (look at the Christ image in all, from the CEO to the janitor)
Ideas 3-7 are about living the right way, as a child of God
- Cultivate the Presence of God during the day (turn your heart to the Lord with ejaculatory prayers, sweet words, e.g., as your watch beeps every hour)
- Practice the Examen (reflect on your day and look for how the Lord touched you through consolations and desolations)
- Begin and end your day in a contemplative mood (begin with a time for Scripture and Silence and the Silent Presence will stay with you during the day)
- Let the cross transform you (above age 25 one learns essentially through failures and suffering; there the Lord comes closer)
- Love the world and everyone in it (if you don’t work with love you deprive your co-workers, family, clients, etc.. of the real value of your work, i.e., the love with which you work)
Ideas 8-12 are about the mystical life at work, the life of union with the Beloved