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Hanna Combines Faith, Financial World"God is pleased when...we can create value for each other"
Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2009
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STEUBENVILLE, OH—"You evangelize the business world, not by disavowing their vocation, or by telling them they're involved in something dirty, or illegitimate, but by calling them to be holy," said Frank J. Hanna III, entrepreneur, merchant banker, and author of What Your Money Means (Crossroad). Hanna spoke on November 3 to a standing-room-only crowd at Franciscan University of Steubenville on "God in the Marketplace."
He described the work of a business professional, at its best, as a true service to the will of God, saying, "God is pleased when we can create interrelationship with each other and create value for each other."
He said Christians are called to evangelize the business community. "Those blessed with grace and the truth must help those in business define the real bottom line," Hanna said. "The real bottom line is the cultivation of our souls and the souls of others. That's the bottom line that yields the most wealth."
Hanna also offered a brief overview of the basics of business. "Economics is the study of resources and their use. Christ was the best economist in the world. He said, 'What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?'"
He explained that God has placed within our hearts a deep longing for him, which we may try to satisfy with many other things. But only by offering our lives to God can we ever find true happiness.
"The world does not know this," Hanna said. "And I think this is our job: to tell the whole world that everyone who says yes to God is happy and everyone who says no to God is unhappy."
Hanna argued that the world has grown sick of materialism, and business is leading the way into a post-materialist future. Citing Google as an example, he showed the audience how the physical assets of Google accounted for only a small fraction of its market value. The rest of the value arose from the skill, techniques, and non-physical assets of the company. "What the balance sheet of Google teaches us, the Church has been teaching us for 2,000 years," Hanna said. "There's more to reality than matter, and more to Google than physical assets."
Hanna is the CEO of Hanna Capital, LLC, an investment firm. Hanna has a passion for educational liberty, helping to start three new Catholic schools and chairing the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Pope Benedict XVI named him a Knight of the Grand Cross in the Order of St. Gregory, and he also serves as a board member of the Papal Foundation. Hanna is the founder of the Solidarity Association, which serves as trustee of the Mater Verbi/Hanna Papyrus Trust. The Trust enabled the Vatican Library to acquire the oldest copy of the Gospel of Luke, which contains the oldest copy of the Lord’s Prayer in the world.
His lecture was the latest presentation in the Franciscan University Distinguished Speaker Series, which features leaders who have distinguished themselves in service to Church and society.