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Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
October 3, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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October 3, 1998

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Page 10 October 3, 1998 ARKANSAS Living alone following death of husband can break heart and soul If you have lost a spouse of many years, life can become a drastic, lonely time. Until I became widowed I knew not what it was like being lonely. My husband passed away after having surgery. The shock of his sudden death and having to live alone after 18 happy years left me understanding how others in the same situa- tion may feel. It is heart rend- ing without a hus- band to attend Mass and pray with me. Follow- ing worship, we enjoyed going to our parish hall for coffee and visit- ing. Sundays, too, are changed be- ~ ~ll~ cause we most al- ways found inter- Doris Nichols esting things to do like visiting friends and family or ex- ploring the back roads. Our happiest times were when we trav- eled with our travel trailer, visiting rela- tives and sight-seeing. After this lifestyle, I iliad it difficult adjusting. Now every day seems the same. With- out someone with whom to share my hopes and fears, loneliness can best be described as like being a ship without a sail with no place to go. Nights are the loneliest. When you hear of so much crime and break-ins oc- curring, I can't help wondering what could happen. Even though I am thankful not to have to live in a rest home, I miss companion- ship and someone to care about my needs. I tell myself I must keep busy, visit other lonely people, especially those in rest homes and do good helping others. It is consoling remembering Jesus of- fers his lifelong, faithfid and personal friendship, embracing us in His tender- ness and love. I feel fbrtunate to have a family and grandchildren. But they have children and have to work, so I realize they have little time. Lonely feelings I find are best dispelled by practicing my faith and talking to friends on the phone. Doris Nichols writes from Mena. World population is estimated to peak at 7 billion around 2030, then decline. Current global population is about 5.9 billion. Worldwide, For years I have been encouraged to visit the Holy Land by those who found the experience profoundly tran- scendent and religious. When a friend of mine reported on her recent visit there she, too, told me how wonderful it was -- except for one altogether dis- turbing interlude. It had nothing to do with the ex- pected anxiety over the ever-present danger of terrorism, but rather the unexpected discovery of division among the Christian groups that tend to the maintenance of holy sites. She was with a small group of pil- grims from a Washington, D.C. church. They had been delayed on their way to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional site of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. It is in an area of Jerusa- iem under Islamic control. Since it was getting dark when they arrived, a Mus- lim policeman who was posted in the church as a security guard gave them each a little candle. Noticing that there were plenty of light fixtures in the church but none had been turned on, my friend asked, "Why do we have to stumble around with candles?" The guard explained that the Christian groups who use the church were fighting among themselves about who should pay the light bills. Consequently, the power had been shut off in order to stop the dispute. A little while later, the Muslim gently but firmly re- quested them to leave. They pro- tested because they hadn't re- ally seen much of the church yet. Again, he pa- tiently explained that because Christian groups ~ ONE ~4h/DLE constantly fight Fr. Thomas J. among them- McSweeney selves about who is to have the right to open and close the church, the key had to be taken from them. My friend told me that she could not help but reflect, 'q'his is the Middle East where there is more urgent need for a witness of unity and brotherhood than anywhere else in the world. And here are Christians in this great Chris- tian Church, witnessing to disunity!" For hundreds of years Christians have been fragmenting and arguing over doctrine and theology and Scrip- ture and Church government. Scan- dalously, and often violently, fed by politics and economics, culture and class, the Christian religion has too often bred intolerance even while it preaches peace. Is there a chance for ing? Well, yes. In spite of squab there is good reason to hope. At some ancient suspicions and ties are beginning to be The Spirit of God is working religious communions that long the unity promised in the In 1995 Pope John Paul II encyclical on the commitment to ecumenism, reminding us that '~]e# Himself, at the hour of His prayed 'that they may all be one' 17:21). This unity, which the Lord bestowed on His Church and in He wishes to embrace all people, not something added .on, but at the very heart of Christ's mission' This year an historic agreement been reached between Lutherans Catholics ending mutual condern# tions that have existed since the of Martin Luther on faith, works justification. It is not only among Christians there is a renewed sense of gious respect. From the Middle East 0 Northern Ireland, despite hatred terror, the hope for peace and refuses to be extinguished. in the dark, grasping small candles be a perfect metaphor for where are. With the help of God, the light will reveal the faces of His c dren, our brothers and sisters. .io spots offer 4 million listeners a little pick-me-up and reassurance for the day One of my hobbies is broadcasting radio spots on 586 commercial sta- tions from Maine to California. With the help of some friends and a founda- tion grant, I am able to buy the air time and reach an audience of well over going to need a lot more help. Please stay close to me. Amen." 2. "Are you feeling down- hearted, lonely, spiritually dry? Don't be discour- aged. You're a good person, and the Lord loves you very much. If you've been away from the Church for awhile, maybe it's time to come Father John Catoir home and open yourself to God's heal- ing love." 3. "Are you feeling down, are you anxious about the future? If so, the words of St. Francis might be of help: 'Do not fear what may happen tomor- row. The same loving Father who cares for you today will care for you tomor- row and every day. Be at peace then, and put aside any anxious thoughts and imaginings. Let the Lord be your strength and your joy.'" 4. "Do you ever question the mean- ing of life? Nearly everyone does at one time or another, so don't be dis- couraged. God created you for a defi- nite purpose. He does nothing in vain. Ask him to show you the way. You were created to do some good in this world that nobody else can do. Even if you are sick, your sickness can serve him. Offer everything to the Lord. I,et him be your strength 4 million. The following are samples of spots I am airing and planning to air soon. 1. 'q'his is Father John Catoir with a prayer to start your day: So far, Lord, I've done all right. I haven't gossiped, haven't lost my temper, haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or overin- dulgent. I'm thankful for that. But in a few minutes Lord, I'm going to get out of bed, and from then on I'm probably your joy." 5. "Hello, this is Father some thoughts on finding peace soul. Once a day, be still and your own breathing. For just five utes enter the world of silence, offer this prayer: 'Holy Spirit, my soul, guide me, strengthen console me, help me to accept will.' If you say this prayer each day, you will soon find and peace even in the midst of p: 6. "Is life getting you down? not think of the good you've not the bad? Think of the love received, not the hate. Think smiles you've seen, not the Think of the help you've been not the hurts. Think of the you've shared, not the tears. But r0 of all, think of the unchanging love God, and be grateful." 7. "Are ,ou feeling a little blue days? Everyone feels sad now and don't be discouraged. Fill your with fresh air, and fill your a sense of freedom. As you b deeply, try to feel God in your mind, heart and soul. Decide happy, and render others claim your joy, and be grateful ery moment of life. The greatest la0 you can give to almighty God is to joyfully because of the knowledge His love." I hope these thoughts help through fall and beyond. God you,