St Irenaeus of Lyons

Bishop of Lyons (in southwestern France) (entered heaven around 203)

Dear Leo,

I don’t think you have to juggle quite as much as you think.  True, your fledgling radio show takes time – you have to do enough background investigation to know what you’re talking about.  And true, your responsibilities in the Compass Chapter take time (very well spent, I would say, if you are following the Compass methodology). And, finally, it is also true that you need to devote the necessary time to your studies, since that is the primary arena of God’s will for you while you are at college.  But even so, you can change your perspective a bit.  Instead of seeing them as three separate to-dos, why not meld them into a unity?  Why not find a spicy angle on the subjects you study in class and bring them into your radio show (interviewing people, investigative reporting, etc…)?  And why not make what you see and do and learn in Compass the real “compass” for all your activities, applying the Christian principles you learn there in your classes and your radio show, even if you do so only implicitly?  Using your time well is important, but it takes creativity.

Why don’t you take a lesson from today’s saint?  Besides being a disciple of St Polycarp, who was a disciple of St John the Evangelist, intimate companion of Christ, and becoming the much-loved bishop of Lyons, Irenaeus single-handedly dealt a deathblow to Western Europe’s greatest heretical threat to early Christianity: Gnosticism.  I won’t go into details on the contents of the heresy (plenty of pamphlets that you can find in health food stores and yoga centers can do that – it’s making a comeback now in the New Age industry), but I will mention how he defeated it.

First of all he learned all about it. Now that was no easy task, considering that every Gnostic master propagated his own customized version of the heresy.  It took time, careful research, and intense mental acumen.  Then he proceeded to write five full volumes outlining Gnosticism’s fundamental principles and cataloguing its variations.  After describing each principle and each variation, he would point out its philosophical strengths and weaknesses (mostly the latter) and then present the true teaching of Christ and the Apostles on the same issue.  And every sentence was written in simple, clear, and pleasant prose, so that the humblest reader or listener could easily understand it.  In addition to protecting Christians from the heresy’s tantalizing errors, as soon as it was published, it put the poor Gnostics out of business, and, thanks be to God, brought a lot of them into the baptistery.

He killed two birds with one stone, so to speak.  If you try to do the same, and even more, I’ll be willing to bet that you not only get more done and do it better (which will be of great benefit to the Kingdom), but you’ll find yourself more at peace and more focused, no matter how big your to-do list gets.  And that will rub off on everything else.

Your devoted uncle,


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