Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
April 25, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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April 25, 1998

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Page I0 April 25, 1998 ARKANSAS CATHOLIC onor awareness "t's become increasingly apparent to .me there are some calendars float- ing around out there whose pre-printed pages are chock full of "days of note." I guess it's not enough to observe tra- ditional religious and national holidays, we're now also being given the oppor- tunity to pause and toast everyone and everything from the inventor of the cof- fee cup to "Take your pet to the park" day to "Be nice to the motorist cutting you off" day. Honorable callings all to be sure, but I for one find calendars pre- printed with more designated obser- vance days than not a little disconcert- ing. It's all I can do most months to stay abreast of my belated birthday card mailings. Despite the gradual rise of some of these less than "Hallmark-ian" holidays however, there truly do exist days, weeks, and sometimes even whole months, which are designated to bring to mind a variety or worthwhile causes. These particular days, weeks or months will likely never show up in any pre-printed calendars. Neverthe- less, they are set aside in hopes of educating the general population, to raise our level of awareness of some very real, if not oftentimes over- looked, causes. Causes like the one a good friend of mine recently ap- proached me to write about organ and tissue dona- tion. The month of April marks the Therese Rohr continuing effort by the Arkansas Regional Organ Recov- ery Agency (ARORA) to raise awareness for the need of organ and tissue do- nors. According to national statistics pro- vided by ARORA, currently more than 50,000 Americans are on a waiting list for a kidney, heart, liver, or other vital organs. Another person is added to that list every 20 minutes. From this list, seven people will die each day while waiting for an available organ. As statistics go, these are fairly straightforward. But I guarantee anyone who has experienced even the slightest brush with organ transplantation, whether through firsthand awareness of a donor situation, or through someone you know whose life has been forever touched by one, the numbers go way beyond straightforward. They go to your very core. A little over a year ago, Joe and Kelly Boeh stood in a hospital hallway. Three days after a car accident which ren- dered their 5-year-old daughter Hillary -- one of triplets --- in critical condi- tion, the horrific news came that Hillary had been declared brain dead. Following federal law enacted by the Required Request Act of 1986, medi- cal staff from the hospital approached Joe and Kelly with the option of do- nating Hillary's organs and tissues. Like so many of us, never had they truly considered that some day someone would be coming to them with this request. And also like so very many of us, they'd never really discussed it before. A little over a year later, the names of five people no longer appear on the organ and tissue waiting list. Instead, these names appear on classroom en- rollment forms, soccer team rosters and birthday party invitations. All this made possible through God and the Boeh'S:! life-giving decision to donate Hillary's- organs and tissues. Today, Joe and Kelly's message, to- gether with the same one throughout the month from ARORA, is simple. Take some time to think about this. Then take some time to talk about organ don tion with your family--regarding your own wishes and those you have for your children. If you choose to be a donor, tell your loved ones. Let the know how you feel. While extremely helpful, a signed donor card or driver'S license is no guarantee your organs or tissue will be donated. Should the sitw ation ever occur, it ultimately remai up to each family to make that deer sion. Give this some thought. Talk about it. These days when time flows at such an incredibly rapid pace by any calendar's measure, don't overlook the fact that the most precious moment life is the one we've been given right now. That's why some folks refer to it as the "present." Use it to its full. ARORA can be reached at (800) 6726. Therese Rohr writes from Bentonville. If, at times, you find it difficult to pray, don't be discouraged. If prayer has be- come a joyless drudgery, all you have to do is go back to the basics. When it comes time to pray, the very first thing you need to do is stop every- thing. Prayer has more to do with stopping than anything else. Above all stop thinking. Take a comfortable posi- tion: sitting, lying down or kneeling, whatever suits you. Then begin to listen to your own breathing. As you do this, imag- ine yonrself in the presence of God. Father John Catoir I like to imagine God as residing within my soul as a tiny point of light. As you listen to your own breathing, imagine that you can look down into your heart and see a tiny pinhole of light shin- hag up at you. This light begins to glow brighter and becomes a luminous cloud. As the cloud expands it enfolds you. You remain still. You become aware that you are consciously enjoying God's love. You do not force feelings of any kind. There are no words to express this experience. You remain quiet. Your thoughts may wander, but you caU them back and remain in silence. You never force any feelings, but you do sense a subtle pleasure. You are now in a state of pure contemplation, and the Lord speaks these words to you: still, and know that I am God." You remain still. You begin to realize that the greatest honor you can give to almighty God is to live joyfully because of the knowledge of his love. You come to understand that pure prayer is in the will to give yourself to God. You decide to offer yourself, gen- tly, but confidently. You are in conscious contact with God's abiding love. Your soul and your body are the objects of God's love. God loves everything that he has made. He sees only the good in you. When you decide to emerge from this time of spiritual healing, you do so at will. Sit for a while afterward, and ponder what you have learned. For a brief mo- ment in time you were caught up in the "now of God." You did not let the past drag you down. You did not let your fear of the future intrude into the present moment. You were smpended within the realm of supernatural love. In that moment you rejected all thoughts about the pasL The past doesn't matter anymore. What is done is done. Let go, and let God. Live, and let live. You realized that all is forgiven in the embrace of God's love. You have been forgiven everything. Love holds no grudges. In this state of prayer you simply turned everything over to God's provi- dence. You realized that the only thing we can give to almighty God is trust. You trusted the future to God's loving care. You let go of fear. Father Catoir recently produced three vid- eos titled "Prayer Made Simple and Joyful" If you would like to learn more about obtain- ing them, call the tog-free number of Twenty- Third Publications: (800) 321-0411, Ext. 153. perfectly human means making sacrifices for others If you have ever doubted that you have the potential to make a positive dif- ference ,with your life, pick up Robert Ellsberg s Christopher Award-winning book, "All Saints" (Crossroad). It's not only about canonized saints but also about those indi- viduals who gave living witness to holiness by allow- ing themselves to be perfectly, wholly human. For example, Ellsberg's entry for April 23 is Cesar Chavez. This amazing man wrote a new chap-Om ter in the history Fr. Thomas J. of American labor by organizing McSweeney the first success- ful union of farmworkers in the early 1960s. Chavez grew up in a family of migrant workers amid back-breaking work and crushing poverty. He never finished elementary school. And after he married and started to raise a fam- ily he wanted out -- but fate intervened in the urgings of a Catholic priest. Chavez began to realize that he must do all he could for his family and fel- low migrant workers. He would stand up and speak out for justice. Ellsberg explains: "Chavez believed it was necessary to impart a sense of dig- nity and community to the farmworkers. This union would not rely on outside funding but on the basic principles of sacrifice and solidarity." Those who worked for the United Farmworkers committed themselves to voluntary pov- erty. The second principle was a commit- ment to nonviolence, a refusal to re- spond in kind no matter what [he provo- cation. "Over and over again, when faced with defeat, Chavez drew on the power of his personal commitment an ,no charisma to breathe new life into the struggle." Chavez believed and argued that , .- . o othe# "When you sacritace, you torce _.a,I to sacrifice. It's an extremely powO - weapon " -- " - "aS Reading Ellsberg's tribute, 1 wt struck with the idea that Chavez did la0 write about sacrifice nor did he si#.: just ply preach nonviolence -- he lived II, And for him it was the most perfectly human thing to do. "When we ally honest with ourselves we must, mit that our lives are all that really long to us. So it is how we use our five! that determines what kind of person Wv are. And it is true. Only by giving our fi at do we ultimately find ourselves. F0 " e the Chavez, the truest act of courag , _,. tOSa~ strongest act of being human was t rifice himself for others in a nonviolett struggle for social and economicjusdCe: . WaSto He beheved that to be human J suffer for others. He would pray, -Coo help us to be human!" 's" That gives you a sense of the dom and passion of saints. Ellsber$ shows us real human beings with fa01 and limitations. But ultimately, they lives were centered on higher princip] -- the human capacity for love, sacrifice and generosity. That is one individual could transform a loc labor struggle into a moral cause d brought hope to the hopeless aroused the conscience of the natty Celebrate your humanity. AppreC i everything you have in common }i your sisters and brothers as well asdil I erything that makes you "one of a ldO [, Welcome the calm that comes I doing the best you can --- then lear the rest to God. It is precisely in this way that you can change