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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
February 14, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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February 14, 1998

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.ove In Nt cnsidering m lf t be a rebel plex' s aU'en" ........................ I 1that reruing - admittedly unawareC~[ in the truest sense of the word, I find compassing, that I ...... , ooe isflab'en/; fooe is ho(. to which readings were ont ap for tl my inclination to avoid "running with the couldn't begin to particular Sunday -- and began to tal ] in those first few opening verses, I felt pack" as it pertains to my topics for col- do it justice. Surely ooe no//eafous, L/ once both an immediate sense of reafl | umns a somewhat curious thing. Casein only a fool would / point. As a writer looking at a Feb. 14 try to add his or does no/flu/on arts, ma,,tion and familiarity. ._1 datefine, the nonconformist in me fairly her two cents to /aQ//'~ no/,~nod~/~d II -IV Ii/ ...Brothers and sisters strive for miffed at the idea Of writing a piece on the philosophical greater gifts. And I will show you a 18 / the obvious. Anyone who can so much as musings of such a LlCor, t'n[ffian,yl3..4 J more excellent way. If I speak in write a grocery list could do that. Conse- venerable subject, tongues of mortals and of angels, but d quently, fueled by what soon became an A subject ex- . not have love, I am a'noisy gong, or', overwhelmingly noble notion in my mind, pounded upon by on love, this one finds me feeling way out clanging cymbal..." that is to say, expounding on the non- the likes of such of my league. Andyet, assure asthe child Reaffirmation in that not unlike', obvious, I diligently set out to discern what historical greats as Therese Rohr who relendessly tugs and rags at your myriad of other Catholic couples, this "other" topic might be. One frustrating morning, two decades of the rosary, and six baskets of folded laundry later, dawn indeed came to marblehead. I had found my Feb. 14 topic. Love[ Yes, love. (Which, if this self-im- posed quest proved nothing else, it attests to the innate truth contained within the k.i.s.s., a/k/a, keep-it-simple-stupid rule.) But truly, within my heart of hearts, I know why the subject of love presents such a challenge to me. And it's founded in something much deeper than my desire to march to a different drummer. It is founded in fear, pure and simple. Fear of taking on a topic so profound, so corn- Plato, Shakespeare, Hallmark. Hallmark? Well it is, after all, a 2 second sound bite society we reside in. Clearly, however, there's one disserta- tion on love that stands head and shoul- ders above all the rest. You'd have to look long and hard however to find this one printed up on any red, white or pink pa- per because the essay I'm referring to is the incomparable teaching on love found in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13. Or perhaps more readily identified for those of us who are at best, inept scriptural scholars, the "Love is patient; love is kind" passage. If I thought I was intimidated to com- ment on some of the other great writings sleeve until he or she gets your attention, particular reading was one of those it is this reading that has emphatically included in our wedding celebration. continued to tug at me. It is this passage, Familiarity in that a framed, written by Paul to the Corinthians cons phrased version of this same reading before the first whiff of heart-shaped rested on our bedroom dresser ever chocolates so much as crossed the mind Perhaps this notion of thinking I ne.ed I of pioneering bon bon makers, that has to break "new ground for a Feb..14 I done its level best to get my attention, umn was even more misguided tha ' Almost as if it were shouting, q-Iey, here initially thought. Perhaps the "old I I am! Your quintessential definition of is exactly what I was meant to cover att ] [ love! It doesn't get any better than this! all. Even if it was only to briefly point [ Use me[ Use me[" short, but powerfully, profound p [ Ironically, but perhaps not so much For just like the noisy gong or the c laI J now when looking back in hindsight, this hag cymbal, without love, we truly h#I reading came up just two weeks ago in nothing at all. | the Sunday liturgy. As I sat in the pew Therese Rohr from Ben n .[ call join ec. ently I had the pleasure of inter- ll a/iewing LeVar Burton on the set of our syndicated television program, "Christopher Closeup." Twenty years af- ter his stunning performance as the slave Kunta Kinte in the groundbreak- ing mini-series "Roots," and after a long-time role on "Star Trek The Next Generation," he relishes his con- tinuing involve- ment with the Ernmy Award-win- ning children's series, "Reading Rainbow." He is currently di- recting a docu- mentary for his own production company on the go p om non, /am' Ca,wm Ttger Woods. Fr. Thomas J. On camera, we McSweeney touched upon LeVar's deeply felt belief that each indi- vidual has the capacity to change the World for the better. While attending St. Pim X Seminary in California he was struck by the truth that each individual has a divine mission. q used to think that looking for an experience of God meant looking out- tilde myself. ... The stardng point is to remember that we are all on a spiritual path, whether we are aware of it or not. The challenge we face as human be- ings is to remember our divinity." LeVar's reflection invites a do r looL Each of us is destined for holiness, for sainthood. There is an old allegory in which an angel approached the throne of God to make a special request. "What do you ask of Me?" said God. q wish to help Your people," the angel replied. "Let me fly down and rescue them., Gently, GOd answered, "You want to rewue My neonle and vet your eve is bright and your heart beats with a joy that has never been dimmed. Your hands are clean. Have you not beheld my Son?" But the angel remained si- lent, for he was a new angel and did not understand. God said to the angel, "Go for a sea- son and dwell with My people and see what you will see." The angel went. After some time, the angel came again before the throne of God. The Lord said, "your eye is dim with pain and your heart is broken and your hands are stained with blood." And the angel answered, "I have seen sorrow and pain and sin. Many of Your people cheat one another for wealth, and spill blood for power, and misuse others for their Own gratification. When I saw all this my eyes were dimmed, and when I loved my heart was bro- ken, and when I tried to lift the fallen, my hands were stained with blood. But still, Lord, I ask You to let me return to Your people because I cannot help them unless I stand and suffer with them." There are times we don't want the anguish of being human. We rather say, "Lord, make my eyes bright and clear and keep my heart beating with joy and my hands dean and soft." But we are not angels, nor were we meant to be. Angels have their divine destiny and we have ours. We are meant for sainthood. A saint is nothing more or less than one who is in union with GOd in a relationship of intimacy and trust. A saint is one who can accept not only his or her de- pendence on God, but the reality of God's dependence on each and every- one of us to fulfill our mission of lov- ing God through each other. That's the hardest part. Every day can be difficult and messy, even painful. But this hu- man life is also one of hope and joy and generous service. It is our destim). God rifts up child and birth parent]1 as they make tough choice was leaving the hospital one recent Sunday afternoon, just after anointing a dying man. A woman stopped me on my way across the lobby. "Are you nonde- nominational?" she asked. "No," I answered to this rather odd question, "I am a Catholic." "You'll do," she said. I looked puzzled. She followed up. "Can you say an adoption prayer? There is a couple giving up their baby for adoption. They need, like, a prayer." She was from the adoption agency. I followed her to the maternity ward where a young couple was Ji AIJll.e DI# about to give up Ft. Peter Daly their 2-day-old baby. The adopting parents were stand- hag by in the waiting room. When we got to the room, I saw a teen-age boy and girl seated by the win- dow. An older couple, probably the new baby's grandparents, were standing near the bed. They all were looking at the little baby, a darling boy with a good head of dark hair. The name they gave him was "Matty." The new mother was crying. It was a pain- fail moment. The parents couldn't have been more than 19 years old. The father looked es- pecially young because he still had his teen-age skin problems. The mother looked frightened. They had not finished their education. They were not married. They could not support this baby. They knew this was the fight decision for every- body. But it sdll hurt. It was true love. Real love is concerned not with its own welfare but with another's. These young ople had learned that lesson. They were worried about the baby and its future about what would be easiest for I praised them for giving the chance for life. I also praised them recognizing that they could not care this tiny, perfect little boy. I told them that they would give mous joy to an older couple that not be able to have children of their That no one could give a greater gift t~ they were giving and that GOd would their selflessness. I told them of the many people ing for children to adopt and of the difficulty in finding healthy children adoption. I mentioned that one in couples has fertility problems. & them for their loss. 1 In the prayer I asked God to holy angel to watch over this child ] preserve him into life eternal. We pr tliat some day he might know the I l love that his birth parents had for J that caused them to think of his we not their own desires. ]! I praised God for this miracle of l and prayed for all infertile couples desired to become parents. We finial with the Our Father together. ,] The young mother and father nod along through the prayer, brushing tears. At the end they collapsed hug of each other and the baby, sobl '] as he was about to be carried away. J: The image of that couple stays. ] me. They had done a courageous They had, no doubt, matured a1 through what they had suffered. _)! They had learned that love is not out cost and that every Christian the cross. They also had learned_, wla tremendous gift from God every life. [ I am sure they will be better par#" for this experience. Of course the pain of abstaining sex would have been less than the pai .] giving the baby away. But I was glad had walked the path to life.