Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
August 22, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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August 22, 1998

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Page 10 August 22, 1998 ARKANSAS CATH0t I They say things happen in three's. Much to my chagrin, it would appear the ever nebulous they" are once again correct. Prepare yourselves for a tale of WOe. It began one Sunday morning last month while we were out of town when I managed to indelibly etch an oh so lovely scratch/dent (as in scratch AND dent) upon the rear quarter panel of our van. Might I add this episode was made just that much more "painful" as the offending pole that jumped into my path had the nerve to do so while I was in the midst of backing out of a parking space on our way to Mass. Next comes our home air conditioning unit. It ap- pears that during a recent thunderstorm the control panel took a power surge beyond its capabilities and was subsequently rendered inoperable Or as the repair man so succinctly put it, "Lady, it's fried." As if the two of these events weren't enough to put my bloomers in a twist, not to mention significant strain on the ole' monthly budget, the third occurrence rounding out this trilogy of tragedies has officially put me over the top. Yesterday my clothes dryer went on the blink I'll have you know that despite the frustration the van and the air conditioner repairs presented, I thought I handled both situations fairly well After all, I have read "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... And It's All Small Stuff." But this dryer thing, not only is it not small stuff, it is a significant setback. Because what you don't understand -- and what I'm just be- ginning to -- is that if my washer and dryer are on the fritz, so too am I. At least as far as it pertains to writing this column. ems on No doubt all writers, be they columnists, reporters, compos- ers, even grocery list-makers; develop their own working method. By that I mean I'm sure there are writers out there who require everything from the serene sounds of silence in order to produce a piece of work, to the muffled buzz of cubicle chatter, all the way up to the lung-filled sobs of a des- C,,O.J..4J Ofl perate toddler in search of his Therese Rohr missing ba-ba. Then you've got your nocturnal writers, your crack-of-dawn writers, your incredibly organized-weeks- in-advance writers, and your down to the wire dead- line writers. Me? Without realizing it, it would appear I'm your laundry-laden kind of writer. Yes, laundry. As in sorting, loading, washing, dry- ing, and folding my family's clothes. Non-glamorous and professionally unfocused as it sounds, it seems that in all the hours I've spent working on writing assignments of any kind, (short of school notes to the kids' teachers), my washer and dryer have been faithfully agitating and tumbling right alongside me. I'll write a lead paragraph, then throw in a load of whites. Back to my desk for another paragraph or two, then snap. It's time for the jeans. Out of the washer, into the dryer, refill the coffee cup, return to the keyboard, peck out another thought or so, then buzz. The dryer beckons and it's off to rescue the permanent press. And so it goes. Up, down; hp, all throughout the day. Looking back on it, tSl wonder I've never washed my columns and writte1 the laundry. sar [ So now can you begin to graso mv state of d" .,| J u o Y l o ~I~[ now that my dryer has declared a strike? And v I thought they had problems. Oh sure, the repai ] on the way, but will he make it before my deadli] falls? What if he gets a flat tire, or bends his fender'a,[ any of a number of other mishaps occur to delay All of which gently serves to remind me ofa thee!} my wise old mother has often shared with me the years. And that is, "If we could all throw ,cj] troubles into one big not, and then were able to pl | and choose those we got to deal with -- compared I what so many people go through in this life "-" vx,l be first in line to take back our own set of proble~J Well, Morn, looking at a car dent cooled air sPJl[ ~" ' ;11 ~' and a stack of clothes that are bent, once aga, [ have to say Amen to that! [ Therese Rohr writes from Bentonville. [ SI There are many things to criticize about the Catholic Church. But one thing that we have got fight is a "sacramental sense." By this I mean that we understand that God is a mystery. Our lives are ultimately mysteries too. Our prayer, which is the deepest desires of our hearts, cannot be expressed in words alone. It takes sight, sound, taste, touch, voice and gesture. We are not philosophers, we are believers. That is a sacramental sense. The sacraments of the Church are only one ver- sion of this sacramental sense. This came home to me while I was away from home, studying Spanish in Costa Rica. One Sunday I visited the most historic and impor- tant Catholic church in this country, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels in the old colonial capital of Cartago. Every Sunday, thousands of people come there with their prayers. These people are rich and poor; young and old; people with severe handicaps; parents carrying their children; newly married couples; old people near death. At the entrance of the church, the pilgrims fall to their knees and walk up the long aisle, 100 yards, to the high altar There they continue on their knees. They bring their intentions, worries, concerns and desires I felt myself moved to tears as I watched one severely handi- capped young man make his way slowly, painfully up the PAmSn DIA r aisle. Ft. Peter Daly What moves this endless pro- cession? I think it is their sac- ramental sense. It is not enough to use words. We want, we need more. This is prayer with ore" bodies. In the side chapel at Cartago, near the altar, there are hundreds of tokens of prayers answered that are pinned inside large display cases. Little silver tokens in the shape of arms, legs, heads, hearts and hands. All are signs of cures received and prayers ansWe Some people might object to all this. Some call it superstition. Maybe it is for some of the people. But this objection seems a bit patronizing. all, these are people much like ourselves. They the same modern world. They go to work and They read the newspapers. They watch But just like the people back home in my who come to pray quietly during the day, tl their worries: drug-addicted children; bers sick in body or mind; broken hearts; deep grets. The procession down the aisle on the thing fully human --- something the Catholic tion allows us to express. It is a recognition deepest desires of the human heart are beyont limited words. To be properly expressed, they our whole self, body and soul. of That is a sacramental sense. That is one ttiog things we've got right. Sometimes it means ge on your knees to walk up the aisle Secular media isn't following story on importance of religion past season on "Christopher Closeup," I rater the would hke to see more at euc omt of vae ted T " " " - l1 y - g " p " w. This results in frustra j 1 viewed Bob Abernathy, anchor of the exceptional I tention to moral issues, derstandinlzs., between reli rmus .... msututtons anO weekly news and information program on PBS called For most Americans, religion media, and contributes the insulated, frff e ' " " ~: " Ill~ '" Eth cs and Reh on I asked what his dee st con rowdes our moral com ass minded and e so . pe " p p , , m some cases, hostile attitud -ss cerns are about the essential task of repotting on reli- our sense of what is right and ligious communities have toward the secular Pr ,_'st gion. He exhorted all journalists whether secular or , wron in human transactions It It's time the a ro " " " es and -- g " pp ach to rehg,ous ,ssu religious --- to explore religious faith and institutions follows that religion has a place tutions broaden beyond stereotypes. There are .otr with greater sophistication, the way any rofessional in ublic oli discussions in the media v the .. . p . p . . p cy . who are able to move be ond . newsperson covers polmcs, science, and .economms. . This s.not !o argue that the mental style of religious reporting which resul tOse He expressed concern that rehglon is in danger of IE / information industry handle and little substance, and others who are their bem drwen out of ubhc debate because tt not lll reh mus froth more favorabl tlon otifll g " p .... g" " y, " al, scandal-seeking counteroarts Serious j . ;oe bein- treated as seriousl- as it should be Heisri-h't lllbutmoreintelli-entl- Asone istslikeB' " ;'; ""--' "-, _fdoCtP'.t 7 8 8 Y. , on Aoernamy, iouow tne trails o We need a more knowledgeable and considered ap- /dGfl who has written for both the and moral context by which different religions proach to the complexities of religion --- both in the Ft. Thomas .I religious and secular press, I political and social action. ...a0t# religious and secular media. " Nk:Swt:t:tw_-y" __ believe all journalists have a ABC's Peggy Weymeyer, the only full-time rel!l '01r Study after study demonstrates the profound effect _________ common purpose: By examin- reporter in commercial broadcasting, recently religion has on both private and public life. MSNBC ing the great and small questions that touch people s served: the professionals in both the religiOt S re'if, found that 69 percent of adult Americans say they are lives, we struggle to give meaning and clarity to the secular media are to reflect our culture acct r' more interested in religious and spiritual matters than endless and confusing flow of human experience,they must find creative ways to tell the whole st0 ? they were five years ago. Time reports that there are Unfortunately, many religious communities have the powerful role faith plays in our culture." more than 20,000 on-line religious discussion groups difficulty recognizing the functions of religious report- TV viewers, radio listeners, newspaper ant on the lnternet. A TV Gu/de poll found that 56 percent ing. Some religious leaders appreciate religious report- zine readers don't just deserve vigorous of Americans feel that religion does not get enough ing not in terms of its truthfulness, but for its useful- religion -- we need it to be better informed ant attention on prime time television, and 82 percent said ness from their own ecclesiastical, pastoral or apolo- our own effort, perhaps even a little wiser.