Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
December 8, 1991     Arkansas Catholic
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December 8, 1991
 

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ARKANSAS CATHOLIC D~ER 8, 1991 PAGE 3 d) Nuns do not, and really never did, look like the roman- ticized version here. But for millions of Catholic (and non-Catholic) kids who grew up in classrooms operated by nuns, whose iron fists bulged under starched habits, 30 there's nothing out of the ordinary about a vision of [). nuns overseeing eveodfing (including, we were some- - times convinced, our very thoughts). ._4/ There's one thing, though, that the nuns who AX~.limluht us who delivered our babies and wrapped t'~ ~7[ "-O ' t ,~u /our bandages, didn t oversee too well: their own , [ For a long time, the system worked: more ,83~young sisters came along to support the older ones. But all of them, young and old alike, ,8251worked for embarrassingly small wages. And [they set aside no retirement funds, and took /out no Social Security. / When the bottom dropped out of voca- _lfions in the late 1960s, women religious '~5~ began to, consider the consequences. But '209 you can t overhaul a century-long sys- tem in a few ),ears. Ttme and money [ ran out. 0001 Today, convents across the U.S. f" 000 need our help just to lake care of the 000 elderly and -,filing nuns who mn our Gh~a gift subscription to ARKANSAS CATHOLIC Post Office Box 7417 Little Rock, AlL 72217 664-034O i hospitals and schools for so many de- 779 cades. 3061 This weekend Lhere will txe. a spedal 4.~3~] collection in ~fll the parishes for re6red sisters who need our help. 0~66[! They were there for us. ] --Deborah Halter 893 ")83] rr. lotto Ne en ior. In other words, we always rentm to the basic truth that, while we honor Mary as the EdiCt: I have before me the Arkansas Catholic of Sept. 8, 1991. As an alumnus of St. John% I have kept up my interest in St. John's and of course the Little Rock Diocese. I consider it an honor and privilege to have been taught by Bishop Fletcher and Msgr. Smith, Msgr. DeGlerk and many other good priests. I am pleased to state also that I have placed in my files clippings of three very good articles from )'our paper of this date. There was one about Fr. Maximilian Kolbe and the Shrine of Libertwille, IL. Another was an article about the appointment of Judge Thomas and his kind words of trib- ute to the nuns who taught him, also his venerable grandfather. Also "Viewpoint" by Abbot Kodell. There is another article which I am en- closing with In)' protest. It is the report of the ordination of a former nun by the ren- egade "Bishop" George Stallings. This is not Catholic news and regardless of the source should be ignored. As a priest of the Washington area, Fr. Stallings could have sewed God and his people quietly and devoutly under his Su- perior, and the nun likewise. I would suggest, dear editor, if you re- ceive any more artides of this nature that you promptly place them in file 13. Fr. John P. Ballz South Pillsburg, TN Fr. William Gould Baruch 5: 1-9, Philippians 1: 4-6, 8-11, hike 3:1-6 her as they hmxied by. I was one of them. Have you ever heard John the Baptist.~ He has spoken to me many times. The old woman sat on the sidewalk muttering to herself as she munched potato chips from a crumpled bag. She was toothier, her clothing mis- matched and filthy. The crayoned words of a crudely- lettered sign asked, "PLEASE HELP ME." A few people paused to drop coins into her lap. Most ignored f the Immaculate Conception means 75 hat Mary was conceived without sin in the 3B4~omb of her )23 aother, why is the ~08 gospel Dec. 8 m~l ~i ~bout the time ~ L tesu was con- ~eived in her, ~A~]]]~l~ ).8,~hich I think is feast seems to 98 =ct~d~ ~en~7 mmmm [ion means that !esm was conceived without sexual relations ~ut by the power of the Holy Spirit. , You re not the only one confused by this, assure you. The Gospel on the feast of the mmaculate Conception (Luke 1:26-38) Lord and of Mary's sharing in his mission could seem to mean what you say, until we to redeem the world. recall some points about our faith and lit- For example, Gabriel's words to Mary, tugy. "The power of the most high will over- I'm sure you are aware that we do not shadow you," echo the overshadowing cloud -7 have, and could not expect, an)1hing in the or pillar of fire, the "glory of the Lord," iGospels about our Blessed Mother's birth which stood over the Ark of the Covenant or early childhood. The Christian Testa- in the Exodus, and later in the Temple in ~aent, the Gospels in particMar, is not about Jerusalem. her but about her Son. She comes into the For the Jews this hovering sign 'nmrked [picture only in relations to Him. the presence of God Himself. See for ex- i Thus, we would expect the Gospel on ample, Exodus 40:35. ]!the feast of the Immaculate Conception to To those of Luke's readers who saw his words in deal with that relationship. It would give us the light of that tradition, this new J insight on how the early Ctu'istian co~mnu- "overshadowing" revealed a new Ark of the nities, out of which the Gospels were writ- Covenant in which, or rather now in whom, [ten, regarded her and the spedal gifts God the Lord God Himself was present. ]bestowed on her as the mother of the Saw C0py~/ght 1991 CNS holiest of all hmnan beings apart fromJesus I heard John's voice another time. Himself, we believe that all her gifts of grace "Welcome to Hell," Sally Struthers greeted me over the television screen. These grim were given by the Father, first of all, to glo- words began a moments-long but horrifying tour through a Thh'd World slum. We saw rify and honor His Son, who would become children playing in muck and filth a member of our human family through-- living in degradation ill and ~--~ hungay Her voice throbbed with her. She begged me to do something anger as she described their pain. When Pope Pius IX declared the dogma She begged me to do something -- rth///g.t- to help re~a~e them. of the Immaculate Conception (1854), he anything/~ to help rescue them. I stressed, the point that all of our Blessed switched to another channel. " Mother s glory, including her sinless con- Who was the original john? He was Isaiah's "herald s voice in the desert" who prepared ception in the womb of her mother, came to her through the foreseen merits of Jesus the way for Jesus. His ministry was earlier described by Baruch, who asked God s people to make her "a worthy dwelling for Christ, to strip off their "robe of mourning and misery and put on "the not on account of her own endowmentssplendor of glory from God." He promised that they could then "ad- ............ but because of,the grace that was hers from vance secure in the glory ofGod" and be led "iIajoy by the light ofhis ,~~i~; glory, with his mercy and justice for company, i: theReflectingbeginning.on this, it becomes dear why In far less poetic but effective words, John told his people how they :il~ the Church would choose this par6cular could do this. He poin, ted out their sins. He called them to repen- Gospel passage for Dec. 8. Every word and tance. He offered God s mercy and forgiveness. He pronused tremen- phrase in those verses glows with biblical dous blessings when the Messiah would enter their lives. themes which proclaim the greatness of our John the Baptist is long-de~]d, but he and his message somehow t_itt[~ Iqock transcend time. His sph'it still lives. His voice still speaks to anyone who ~ipt~e Study will listen. He speaks in different ways and through many people. He asks us to turn away from our sins, even if they arkse from neglect and thoughtlessness rather than malice. He wants us to notice opportunities to do good, to become more compassionate. We hesitate to become involved in other people's lives and problems. He us to change ourselves. In today's second reading, St. Paul phrases it this way: "My prayer is that your love may more and more abotmd, both in tmderstanding and wealth of experience, so that with a dear conscience and blameless conduct you may learn to value the things that really matter." John spoke to me ,again a few days ago. A young man rang my rectory doorbell and asked for a few minutes of my time. He explained that he was out of work and soon to be homeless. He had managed to scrape together enough money for a bus ticket back to his family, but he also needed food money for the long trip. Could I help him? This time I did not walk away nor did I "switch to another channel." I listened to John the Baptist and responded to his message. In doing so, I discovered anew what Advent is really all about. My Christmas will be better because of