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Touch them at the point of their need!
SPOTLIGHT FEATURED WRITER
'Christian Leadership to Truly Touch The World'
By Dr. Anne Marie McDonnell Ph D Dr. Anne Marie McDonnell Ph D
An Alumna and adjunct professor of the Regent University School of Leadership Studies. Dr. McDonnell resides in North Providence, RI, where she is also part-time choir director and organist at St. Casimir's Lithuanian Catholic Church in Providence. She has shared her faith through interviews, directing children's choirs, and performing original compositions and sacred music. She also composed the hymn "Where Jesus Leads, We Must Follow."
Read this inspiring story as it teaches each of us to admire and understand the differences that we all have in what God has called each of us to in life. In the spring of 1995, a television commercial advertising Regent University caught my attention. Somehow, I felt the Lord was calling me to investigate this university. Yet, while my heart and soul felt a special calling, the purely rational side of me was contradicting this feeling. After all, I was a committed Roman Catholic, and I believed that the population at Regent University must surely consist of devout Evangelical Christians. Now, I possessed the utmost respect for Evangelical Christians who most assuredly do share my many common beliefs with Catholics. However, it did not appear to be very prudent, at least on a human level, to pursue studies at a university that embraced a theology with certain significant elements that would be in total contradistinction with the teaching I had absorbed and accepted unconditionally after thirteen years of Catholic education. Still, as a Catholic Christian, I have come to realize more and more that the supernatural virtue of prudence may often contradict and must always supercede what is ostensibly the most practical and pragmatic of decisions on a purely human level of rationality.
Finally, after several weeks, I overcame my skepticism and called the Regent University telephone number that had appeared on the television screen. A friendly voice greeted me. However, before I would allow this affable gentleman to continue any further. I wanted him to immediately know that I was a Roman Catholic. Needless to say, I was most surprised when he told me that he was too! He convinced me that there was a very ecumenical atmosphere at Regent University.
So in April of 1996, I decided to attent Preview Weekend at Regent University. The doctoral program in organizational leadership was being initiated, and it truly intrigued me,especially since it was a computer-mediated, long distance program. I met some wonderful people who truly seemed to care about me. What impressed me most was everyone's emphasis on allowing the Holy Spirit to help me discern as to whether or not I should apply for this program.
After that weekend of prayer, reflection, and discerning, I decided to apply right away. Within less than a week, I had filled out the application, taken the Miller Analogies adn gathered all the necessary information and documentation. That alone was mirarculous! This began an inspiriational journey, which affected my heart, mind, and sould in a profound manner. My three years of study in the doctoral program in organizational leadership at Regent University proved to be the most challenging, exhilarating, and inspirational of my life. It was a very intense time in which my entire life was devoted to diligently pursuing God's truth through my studies. The wonderful aspect of this program is the fact that all of my professors and my fellow learners in Cohort I were deeply committed to the Lord. Also, being a member of Corhort I was a pioneering adventure! After all, we were members of the first cohort of learners to experience a computer-mediated doctoral program in organizational leadership anywhere in the world.
What an awesome privilege to be chosen by the Lord to embark on a new, computer-mediated adventure involving the prayerful sharing of charitable fraternity, ecumenical dialogue, scriptural integration, and inspiring leadership-all bassed upon the principles of Christian discipleship! Justas all Christians have been commissioned to spread Good News to all corners of the earth, we were indeed using the miraculous power of the World Wild Web to spread the Gospel literally throughout the entire planet. What mission could be more exciting than this one? In the process of trying to discern a topic that was the quintessential quality contributing to the development of Servant Christian Leadership, I reflected upon the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude), which have been so beautifully explicated by the most esteemed, yet humble philospher and theologian, St Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church. The practice of the cardinal virtues, which ultimately lead us to our heavenly Father. Therefore, after much prayer and meditation between November of 1998 and January of 1999, I decided upon a definitive topic adn title for my dissertation: 'Catholic Witness: Educating for Virtue.'
I was truly blessed to have the opportunity to work with seventh and eighth grade faculty members at St. Patrick's Word of God School in Providence, Rhode Island. While developing the premise for my dissertation, I was also privileged to develop a curriculum guide for teaching virtue while implementing a series of lessons as an integrative part of the students' program in religious studies, literature, and history. Perhaps the greatest ecumenical experience that touched me most deeply at Regent occurred during my graduation ceremony, May 2000 on the campus. Our commencement speaker was the prominent Catholic convert, author,philospher and priest, Father Richard John Neuhaus. The mere fact that a priest would be the main speaker at my graduation truly reaffirmed that I was most assuredly drawn to this university through divine intervention.
AS a daily communicant who is loyal to the teachings ofthe Catholic Church, I do constantly pray the prayer of Jesus, namely that "all may be one." My experience, both as student and professor at Regent, has deepened my faith as a Catholic and my appreciation for the gift of my faith. I can honestly state that I have been forever deeply touched by the kindness and charity of all those whom I have encountered at Regent adn the challenging curriculum that afforded me opportunities to truly integrate and infuse my faith into everything I experience in m daily life. Finally, I must acknowledge how blessed I have been to be able to pray, share Scripture, and enjoy fellowship with other Christians who also support pro-life, pro-family values, while desiring to become leaders who serve Christ the King by leading others to Him. How grateful I am that the Lord led me to study and actively pursue the role of Christian leadership at Regent University. I hope and pray that I may always continue to be a part of the community that I have joyously discovered as a member of Regent's Christian family.
'Ask the Editor Your Questions!'
'I know the Lord is taking me to a new level and testing my faith and patience, but I find I'm anxious and have little patience with the way things are going in my test, how can I help myself? Bradenton, FL
This is place that many Christians find themselves in as they go through various challenges. The main thing you have to do is 'change your focus' and it sounds simple but it takes work. So many times in our tests we tend to look at the confines of the test or what is actually happening in the test. Most Christians get the understanding about tests and trials wrong, their main purpose is to take your attention (focus) from the Godly path you're following to your destiny. When we become side-tracked, we began to focus on ourselves; 'why is this taking so long?' 'Seems like I've been going through this forever!' 'How come my test has to be so hard or so long?' Our attention has turned onto our self which is the working of our flesh. We need to do two things continually; keep our ears tuned to hear God and keep our eyes on the prize! Stay prayerful and fast to keep your spirit-man strengthen so he stays connected to the Holy Spirit transmitting all that God is saying for you to do. Not only do you have to keep your natural eyes focused on the prize but the eyes of your mind must be centered on the prize as well. When we commit to memory 'what' we are working towards and who we're attempting to please, we won't so easily get impatient or anxious. It is he that 'endures to the end that obtains the prize' and to endure to success you must stay focused on God and His Word.
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