Column: Year of Faith should lead us to ‘just one thing’

by Matt Karr

In the movie “City Slickers,” Billy Crystal and a couple of his buddies go on a trip herding cattle across the plains of the United States to escape the current depressing reality of their lives and to find deeper meaning.

At one point, the cowboy leading the expedition, played by the late Jack Palance, asks Crystal, “Do you know what the secret of life is?” Crystal responds, “No, what?” At that point, Palance holds up one finger and Crystal asks, “The secret in life is your finger?” Palance responds, “One thing, just one thing.”

This really hits home for Crystal because his life is consumed by so many things that he feels it is almost purposeless.

I know for myself and my family, there are so many things to be involved with — from school, to sports, to music, to friends, to events, to family commitments, to church, to committees, to work, to chores, to yard work — that life can seem as if it is spinning out of control.

As Catholics in this cultural context, if we are not intentional about how we live our lives, then it is easy to drift into a full life that ultimately feels like it has no purpose.

Jack Palance was right: Life really is about one thing. The one thing is not an “it,” but a person: Jesus Christ. Jesus is the “one thing” that provides the calm in the midst of life’s storms; he is the rock on which we can build a successful life; he gives purpose to even the mundane; and he is a sure stronghold against the busyness of the world.

The Year of Faith called for by Pope Benedict is a tremendous opportunity for us as Catholics to take time to ask the Lord to reawaken — or perhaps awaken for the first time — our faith in Jesus Christ as the “one thing” to build our lives on. It is an opportunity to learn more about Jesus, to grow in our love for him, and to live out that faith in the ordinary and everyday circumstances of our life.

The archdiocesan Faith Initiative, “Faith: Love It, Learn It, Live It,” is providing opportunities for all of us to grow in our faith. The School of Faith will be offering a course on the Catechism of the Catholic Church designed to introduce the teachings of Jesus presented in one book. This class, which would normally cost over $150 per person, is being offered regionally in 20 host locations throughout the archdiocese for only $10 per person.

If you are interested in signing up for the class, you can register online at: www. or, if you prefer, you can contact School of Faith at (913) 310-0014.

About the author

Matt Karr

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