Faith’s List

List-Icon1I hate lists. They’re intended to guide you toward an end but rarely is the end ever met. You miss a step or something falls apart, and you need to start all over again. Human nature can never be reduced to a silly list that attempts to narrow our complicated and enjoyable life.

A diet’s list? Billions of dollars are made when failure is almost built in to repeat the list. A magazine’s cover offers a list of 5, 7 or even 12 ways to soften, enlighten, reinforce, modify or change a human habit, and you grab one because it was cleverly placed in the checkout line. (Never a list of “13” by the way.)

The only list I’ve loved is Paul Simon’s, “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover.” Now that’s a list! However, since I’m a priest, St. Peter offers another list. Somewhat more difficult to define and measure but surely worth the list’s results. What are the consequences? We jump to the conclusion of heaven, but that’s in the future; what about right here and right now – where we live and breath.

Virtue to Knowledge to Self-control to Endurance to Devotion to Mutual Affection and ending with Love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)

So, how about “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover” or “Seven Ways to Live a Meaningful, Godly Life”?

St. Peter’s sequence doesn’t fit the way we behave. I’d have started with Knowledge but St. Peter begins with the end. Love is not the end, but it’s Virtue’s response. Or better yet, I’d make it eight steps and insert “Yearning” or “Longing” as life’s first hurdle.

Yearning leads to Searching (my new number two) which makes you seek our Knowledge (Peter’s number two, my number three). After researching enough of my number three, you realize that it’s only achieved through his number three (my number four), Self-control. Something of value has been uncovered and needs to be preserved and respected, hence his number three. Protecting his number three brings you to my number five, Devotion. We say to ourselves, “This feels right for me, and I hope God feels the same way.” That’s the result of living his number four.

But now what does one do with Pete’s number four? Is Devotion only directed to God or is it both performed for God but through someone or a group of people? That brings about Mutual Affection, Peter’s number five on the list. As difficult as it is in any context or time in our lives – Mutual Affection is the human response to my made-up numbers eight or nine, Virtue.

Number five can only lead to, and I mean only lead to, humanity’s highest calling – number seven, Love (or number eight if you accept my insertion of Yearning as number one.)

No magazine will publish this and St. Peter wouldn’t agree with me. But I like my list. It’s complete. It challenges me every day of my life. My list comes from my heart and not my faith. But it’s my faith that responds to my heart because I added a new number one, Yearning.

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

All available in paperback or Kindle on

                                                     “Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of humorous and reflective letters written by my cats over twenty years
                                                           “Soulful Muse,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
                                                “Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons of
Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter – a great seasonal gift
                                        “Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture

                         “Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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1 Response to Faith’s List

  1. says:

    Thank you….


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