An Authentic Life

Living Against the Grain: How to Make Decisions That Lead to an Authentic Life by Tim Muldoon

The direction of an authentic life is always one that serves others. It may be a life of contemplative prayer in a cloister, in a service profession, parenting, or entrepreneurship that lifts people out of poverty. It may be solitary or familial. It may be some kind of engagement in politics or social activism. It may be in medicine, academia, business, entertainment, public service, law, or any number of other fields.

But in the end, living authentically, to quote St. John Paul II, is a question of interdependence, of committing oneself to the common good. It is, in its most basic reality, a question of a person coming to understand that one’s good is intimately tied to the good of everyone else and that an authentic life is one that embraces a responsibility toward the society of which one is a small part—including those who agree with you and, especially, those who do not.

It is to love one’s neighbors even when they are enemies—for doing so is, if we follow the ancients, a taste of the divine.

—Excerpted from Living Against the Grain by Tim Muldoon

7 Comments on An Authentic Life

  1. Thank you for this! Unfortunately, I have severe Parkinson’s with a left hip replacement, living in a skilled nursing facility. Now, I feel I’m contributing something by even just praying or using my gift of writing to serve others. When I’m able to scrape up the funds, I’d like to read more on Fr. Muldoon.

  2. My husbands aging and struggles are my whole life now and seeing this as clarity of purpose and an opportunity to serve well has lightened the load considerably. There is joy when purpose is clear.

    • Thank you Sandra, I have become carer for my aging father. I am really trying to do this lovingly rather than dutifully. I will pray for the grace of joy.

  3. Christine, thank you for sharing. Each prayer is another stone in the cathedral that is the Lord’s kingdom. Thank you for your labors!

    PS– I’m a humble lay person, not a priest.

  4. To love one’s friends or people who share the same values ,opinions etc. Well that’s the easy part. To love (truly)) one’s enemies, hah , there the crunch! That requires lots of asking for God’s help eg: PRAYER. Which we were always taught , that is supposed to go with GOOD WORKS? A.M.D.G.

  5. Tim, I was so delighted to read your reflection this morning and the responses from all of you other readers because ithe comments are so timely. My husband and I were discussing the unrest in St Louis, MO. How do you fix all the years of injustices.? How do you begin to address their anger? We must listen with the utmost sincerity to their complaints with the intention of together finding a way to not only serve but truly love each other. It will not be easy to deal with the feelings and realities of others lives but “with God all things are possible”. I pray that we will all shine a spotlight on ourselves, not on others, and beg for the grace to serve out of love with a listening heart.

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