This morning we are up to our armpits in blinding snow and freezing wind. But yesterday was a little different. That’s m on the beach in Naples Florida, winding down after a high-energy talk to 500 CEO’s at the elegant Ritz hotel, a few minutes before. (I asked the bartender for a “silly drink” and got everything but the paper umbrella)
Talking to 500 people is not scary for me, but these people were a little daunting. It was a group of major Catholic business leaders and the emphasis of their SUMMIT was religious values in their business lives. I followed a woman who talked about chastity. Yikes!
The chastity advocate had a parable: someone leaves the gate open and a bunch of sheep keep getting out, fall off a cliff and are badly hurt. Everyone is busily trying to patch up the sheep until someone says, Why don’t we just shut the gate? OH! I get it.
When I stood up I said, “I give a lot of talks, but I have never followed a chastity advocate before. It is, however, a subject of which I have a certain, collateral knowledge. I was married at 19, as a freshman in college. Someone had left the gate open.” That caught ‘em.
I am not Catholic (or religious), and I slightly wondered what I was doing there. The answer was that the founder of the organization was a serious YNY fan, and he thought he’d take a chance. Good for him. Good for me.
The best speaker of the weekend was New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Smart, funny, persuasive. Blew my sox off. His best line, for me, was: THE GLORY OF GOD IS MAN FULLY ALIVE.” He said a lot of amazing things but that one won my heart. Later, I quoted the line, and said, “I know shamefully little about the spiritual life. But I do know something about MAN (being) FULLY ALIVE. That’s what the next hour is all about.” It put our message in their context and they ate it
up with a spoon. Wonderful audience. Great fun.
It was not a cheap trick, by the way. I am not one bit religious, but I believe with all my heart in the near-sacred importance of MAN FULLY ALIVE. That’s what the books and the talks – and much of my life these days – are all about:
Serious business, kids. And FUN! Go get yourself a drink. Chris