Students looking for purpose can learn from the life of Winston Churchill. Arguably the greatest political figure of the 20th Century, they may not realize, had a difficult upbringing. Born prematurely, suffering from a speech impediment, and inclined to depression, Churchill was essentially rejected and scorned by his parents. He performed poorly in school and passed the entrance examination into the Royal Military College only after his third attempt. When his father, Lord Randolph, died when Winston was 21, he left only debts. Yet the ‘Last Lion’ persevered. Churchill did not let his family and environment hold him back. He did not allow the wounds he suffered as a youth handicap him. He pushed himself, believed in himself, and would not accept defeat. He made himself bound and determined, like a bulldog. Here is a quote from Lord Churchill:
Baudouin of Belgium abdicated the throne in 1990. It was not for any ignoble cause or selfish pursuit that the King stepped down from his position of authority. King Baudouin abdicated because he was pro-life. The Belgian Parliament had passed a law allowing abortion and he could not add his signature to the bill as required by procedure.
As a priest leaves the sacristy of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, processing to whatever altar he is going to celebrate Mass, he is immediately confronted by a very large mosaic. The work was completed in 1604 by Cristoforo Roncalli and is titled "The Punishment of the Couple Ananias and Saphira." The scene is a portrayal of what occurred in Acts 5:1-11. Ananias lies to St. Peter about money he had obtained from the sale of property and, because of that lie, immediately drops dead. His wife Saphira, not knowing what has happened to her husband, likewise lies to the Apostle and she too dies. It is almost a scene out of Greek mythology.
The American transcontinental railroad, built between 1863-1869, is one of the greatest accomplishments of mankind, and there are many spiritual lessons to take away from the story of its construction. It involved many moving parts. There were land surveyors to map the route across the plains, over the Rocky Mountains and through the Sierra Nevada. There were engineers to set the grade so flat track could be laid, not to mention build bridges and tunnels. Brawn was needed to clear away earth and spike the rails. There were Chinese, Irish, freed slaves, Union and Confederate veterans, and many other typical Americans who supplied the manpower. Then there were investors and financiers, running the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Corporations and ensuring there were enough funds to supply material for building the track and to pay the laborers. There were also lobbyists and politicians to ensure the government supported the endeavor in ways it needed. There were entertainers and saloon-keepers along the track to keep the laborers satisfied after hours, and priests to be sure they were not too satisfied.