‘The Value Of Gratitude’ as explained by a CEO who writes 9,200 employee birthday cards every year

An Alabama CEO has been inspiring a compassionate work environment for over three decades by writing his employees birthday cards – all 9,200 of them.

It’s not uncommon to see Sheldon Yellen of BELFOR Holdings, Inc., a disaster recovery company, walking through an airport carrying a stationary with him on each trip he takes.

While others on VIP class may spend that time watching an in-flight movie or reading a novel, Yellen can spend that valuable time drafting handwritten letters for his employees.

According to Business Insider, Yellen has been penning personalized cards to his growing number of workers every year since 1985 when he was chief executive.

‘I am constantly calculating that in my mind rather than “What is the EBITDA [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization]?”‘

The thoughtful gesture began after he was hired because many employees felt Yellen was being handed the job due to nepotism.

‘When I was hired by my brothers-in-laws, their employees perceived me as a guy who just got a job because it was a family-owned company,’ said Yellen.

‘This could not be further from the truth — but I needed to prove it.’Read More »

Yet not I, but through Christ in me!

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What gift of grace is Jesus my redeemer
There is no more for heaven now to give
He is my joy, my righteousness, and freedom
My steadfast love, my deep and boundless peace

To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus
For my life is wholly bound to His
Oh how strange and divine, I can sing: all is mine!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me

The night is dark but I am not forsaken
For by my side, the Saviour He will stay
I labour on in weakness and rejoicing
For in my need, His power is displayed

To this I hold, my Shepherd will defend me
Through the deepest valley He will lead
Oh the night has been won, and I shall overcome!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me

No fate I dread, I know I am forgiven
The future sure, the price it has been paid
For Jesus bled and suffered for my pardon
And He was raised to overthrow the grave

To this I hold, my sin has been defeated
Jesus now and ever is my plea
Oh the chains are released, I can sing: I am free!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me

With every breath I long to follow Jesus
For He has said that He will bring me home
And day by day I know He will renew me
Until I stand with joy before the throne

To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus
All the glory evermore to Him
When the race is complete, still my lips shall repeat
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!

When the race is complete, still my lips shall repeat
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!

#ShortNews: Pope refects on resurrection, life after death

Jesus’ clear certainty about the Resurrection is based entirely on the fidelity of God, Who is the God of life. In fact, behind the question of the Sadducees lies a deeper question: not only whose wife the widow of the seven husbands will be, but whose will her life be. It is a doubt that touches the man of all times and also us: after this earthly pilgrimage, what will become of our lives? Will it belong to nothing, to death?

Jesus answers that life belongs to God, Who loves us and cares so much about us, to the point of linking His name to ours: He is “the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him”. (vv. 37-38). Life exists where there is bond, communion and brotherhood; and it is a stronger life than death when it is built on true relationships and bonds of fidelity. On the contrary, there is no life where one has the pretension of belonging only to oneself and of living as an island: in these attitudes death prevails. It is selfishness. If I live for myself, I am sowing death in my heart.

Read full version of The Pope’s words at the Angelus prayer, 10.11.2019; https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2019/11/10/191110a.html

#ShortNews: ‘God hears your prayers,’ Pope tells Lourdes pilgrims

In a video-message to those gathered in Lourdes for the event 3rd World Day of the Poor on 17 November 2019, the Pope reminds those who suffer want and are abandoned to always bear in mind that God loves them and hears their prayers.

“You who are little, who are poor, fragile, you are the Church’s treasure. You are in the Pope’s  heart, in Mary’s heart, in God’s heart”, the Pope says in the video message sent on Friday. In his message, Pope Francis goes on to encourages the pilgrims in Lourdes to care for those who are sick.

He points out that there is “no one so poor to have nothing to give”. He notes that love saves the world and that God wants us to be the vessels through which love flows.

“Finally, when you return,” he says, “do not leave as you came. Return with hope, be witnesses of God’s love around you. Tell the world what your treasure is: Jesus. Go with Mary, that she may make you apostles of God’s tenderness. The Pope loves you and trusts you”.

Source: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-world-day-of-poor-2019.html

#ShortNews: Bethlehem seeing more pilgrims this year

The increase of pilgrims and tourists to Bethlehem continues, the Palestinian city where Jesus was born, and also for this reason the Presidential Committee of Churches Affairs in Palestine announced on Monday 11 November that it has decided to extend the opening hours of the holy site by an extra 3 hours, from 5 am until 8 pm, in preparation for Advent and Christmas. Ramzy Khoury, President of the Committee, pointed out that these efforts are being carried out in response to the increase in the numbers of pilgrims and tourists, both locally and those coming from far afield, visiting Bethlehem and the Church of Nativity. This increase in numbers, especially to the Church of Nativity, has resulted in long queues of people who have to wait from 45 minutes to 2 hours to get a glimpse of the Grotto, where according to tradition baby Jesus was born. To add to that, the church has been undergoing restoration since 2012. Restoration works are still expected to continue until next year.

In the first half of 2019, tourist and Holy Sites in the West Bank had received 1,726,560 visits, an increase of 17% compared to the same period of 2018. The statistical data confirm Bethlehem as a favorite destination for pilgrims, especially during Advent and the time of Christmas.

Source: http://www.fides.org/en/news/66947-ASIA_PALESTINE_Bethlehem_pilgrims_increase_Opening_hours_at_nativity_Church_has_been_extended

How well do we know God?

Why do some people avoid sins that I so easily commit? Why do any of us fall prey to temptations that others say no to without a struggle?

In the reading (1 John 2:29 — 3:6) points out that those who belong to God base their actions on righteousness, and those who don’t know him choose lifestyles of sin.

How well do you and I really know God? Consider the sins you’ve already overcome. How did you stop being vulnerable to this particular temptation? If you remember it well enough to analyze it, you’ll notice that you learned something about God that rendered the temptation powerless.

For example, many years ago I knew a Catholic prayer group leader who was actively involved in witchcraft. Since she did not give me the opportunity to help her see the error of her ways, I was tempted to strangle her with her rosary beads. Whenever I saw her, I did not remain in God; my thoughts did not stay pure and I did not behave like a child begotten of the Father.

Then at a Catholic Charismatic conference, which we both attended, I finally heard God reminding me that he loves her. And if he loves her, so should I, for a child learns by imitating the parent.

I ran to Confession for the grace that God would provide through this Sacrament, the supernatural help that would empower me to love her. The priest gave me an easy penance, but I felt God giving me an additional penance: “The next time you see her, give her a hug and tell her that you love her.” My knee-jerk reaction: “What? Are You nuts, God?” (Knee-jerk reactions mean that we’re a jerk when we should be on our knees in prayer.)

Reluctantly, I promised to obey. I spent the rest of the weekend looking for her. Oddly, I never saw her again. All God had wanted from me was my willingness to love her regardless of her sins. Since then, it’s been a lot easier for me to resist this same temptation, not just with her, but with others, too, who are difficult to love.

We will never fully know God on this side of the gate to heaven. When we sin despite a genuine desire to be holy, it’s because there’s something we still need to learn about how good God is and how helpful he wants to be.

Jesus prayed on the cross, “Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they’re doing.” The more we know what God is really like, the more we understand what’s holy and what’s sinful, and the more horrified we feel about doing a sin. Temptations become powerless.

In the Gospel passage (John 1:29-34), John the Baptizer describes how he came to know that Jesus is the Son of God. The same thing happens to us. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to see and recognize Jesus. The Holy Spirit empowers us with understanding so that we can imitate Jesus. The Holy Spirit enables us to behave as true children of the Father.

© 2017 by Terry A. Modica