As a young engineer, I found an abandoned poster in a closet where I worked. I retrieved the poster and hung it in my office. The poster quoted someone I didn’t know. “Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.” The words implied the necessity of working with and for God versus mere wishing. This quote became a motto to me and resulted in a lot of my dreams coming true.
I recently decided to find the source. I’ll bet you’ve never heard of Monsignor Leo Joseph Suenens. As a young professor, he specialized in moral philosophy. When Germany invaded Belgium in 1940, he served as a chaplain for his country’s army. During the subsequent occupation he resisted and sometimes openly defied the Nazis. They condemned him to execution, but the Allies liberated Belgium before the orders could be carried out.
In 1962, Pope John XXIII said of the Catholic Church it was time to, “open the windows and let in some fresh air,” and called the Second Vatican Council. The meetings quickly fell into chaos with the weighty issues and the diversity of views. At the request of the Pope, Monsignor Suenens took over the agenda and led the Council to consensus through three years of contentious meetings. The Council issued a “universal call to holiness” and made many dramatic reforms such as ending the requirement that all masses be conducted in Latin.
A lot of people are affected by godly men and women they never heard of. I’ve often shared that seeing lives of people who don’t know me changed through my work is the greatest joy in ministry. I hope Monsignor Suenens, perhaps watching from in heaven, has received great joy from the effect his words had on me.