I would like to highlight good earthly as well as heavenly citizenship by introducing you to an author by the name of Benjamin Carson whom I had the pleasure of meeting about five years ago. This year his book “One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future” was a number one best seller. He also wrote “Gifted Hands” “The Big Picture” and “Think Big.”
Carson’s book titled “Think Big” outlines his philosophy of life, how to make a difference, how to realize the potential within ourselves. “THINK BIG” is an acronym or abbreviation for the following which can be a guide for citizenship.
T-stands for talent and time. Continue developing our talents and using them to help others. And yes, learn to manage time well every day. Jesus reminds us often that the only time we have for certain is today.
H-stands for hope and honesty. Be optimistic. Look for the good in yourself, and look for the good in other people and in every situation. And always speak the truth. When someone does something dishonest, he/she usually does something else to cover up, and life becomes hopelessly complex. But the truth makes our life amazingly simple.
I -stands for insight or wisdom. Listen to people (that’s why God gave us two ears and one mouth), seek out mentors and learn from these mentors who have been where we’d like to go. Get their insights. Above all, search for the insights of Jesus, our true wisdom, in the New Testament.
N -stands for nice. Be kind, friendly, and helpful, and we’ll have few regrets in life. Become a good Samaritan.
K -stands for knowledge. Knowledge is the key to dreams, hopes, and aspirations. If we’re knowledgeable, we become an asset to people. It expands our horizons. Study the scriptures and the teachings of the Church so that we can attain eternal life.
B- stands for books. Developing good reading habits is a bit like being a champion weightlifter. A champ doesn’t start lifting 500 pounds, but builds. It’s the same with our intellectual abilities. We develop our minds by reading books, thinking, figuring things out. Read the books of the holy men and women of the Church, e.g., Augustine, Benedict, Thomas Aquinas, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Francis de Sales, Pascal, Therese de Lisieux, Chesterton or Merton.
I- stands for in-depth learning. Superficial learners cram for exams but forget. In-depth learners get more by discovering more about what they know. Meditate on the daily liturgy scriptures.
And G- stands for GOD. Never get too big for God. Tune into God’s presence around you and within you every day. Trust in God because he loves you. Even if we give up on God, he’ll never give up on us. Develop your relationship with God.
“If we can remember these things, if we can learn to THINK BIG,” Dr. Carson says we will be happy in all our endeavors, great and small, whether attainable or not.