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March 13, 1998     The Message
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March 13, 1998

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,1998 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 8YDOLOREs R. LECKEY Catholic News Service first experienced, and a baby is fed, held, loved Her needs call forth She COmes to trust her gives her a sense and cherished. )e are to pediatricians, in lose the will to and sometimes the of life we get a Important the bonds of OUr human com- these vital con- provided the first clue and will not aban- deep the dark- is embedded experience of commu- Worth noting here referred to the church of hope; in it, hope a COmmunity of hope it SUpports people in and meditation. ity share their Ways of prayer and to incorporate lives. provides struc- faith. For exam- the form of Small that meet regu- the challenges in Our times. At the )s within such hope, people other's human needs, spiritual.. ight be worn down :ly )arent. Their as the corn- respite so that they unity of hope's role can have some time off on a regular basis. -- Another family, wor- ried about a daughter who seems to be in a violent marriage, may be helped by the group -- given its atmosphere of trust -- to seek the counsel of those skilled in the area of domes- tic violence. Now hope can break through their confu- sion and near despair. -- And a community of hope notices the single peo- ple in its midst, people far from their families -- peo- ple whose hope is nour- ished by the spirit of wel- come. All virtues, theological as well as moral, require practice. Hope, embedded as it is within the experi- ence of community, calls us to remember the power of relationships. Perhaps a loved one is dying of terminal cancer. What is our prayer of hope then? It may be that in the face of almost certain death we will not lose hope in God's abiding mercy and goodness. Others in a com- munity of hope are there to pray with us. Or perhaps a loved one i i i "Think how a baby is fed, held, loved and kept secure .... She comes to trust her environment," observes Dolores R. Leck- ey. "In the early months of life we get a deeply disappoints us, and the outstretched arms of others in the community of the church -- this com- munity of hope -- are ready to touch us, to uphold us, comfort us. Hope is reborn, and we are reminded within this community "that... life will be brighter than noonday; its gloom shall become as the morning, and you shall be secure because there is hope" (Job 11:13,17). Leckey retired recently as director of the U.S. Bishops" Secretariat for Family, Laity, l'nthe Marketplace ..... .................... /:: 'L]d "-USsion Point. ? uu advise or support someone you know well who is suffering a h-'rthel::', ses from St John, Newburgh: |LdsttimesI'vehadhavebeenatnight, whensleepjustwontcome, t t'" 'ltS seem t vertake me" S the first thin I wuld say is "bring -ua offers his light in many ways. Paul and Phyllis Keller God will draw near to you." (James 4:8) advice to a person who was suffering from hopelessness. out to our loving heavenly Father and then listening for his guid- bring a sense of peace and love which can lead to hope. Carol Niehaus Continued from page 8 good despite our own weaknesses and those of others. We now have integrated more of our deepest inner selves into our hope. Our thoughts and feelings are more at one. And we are more at peace. The next cycles of grief, while never easy, are not quite so black. They will have an end. We now have a greater realization that our hope is dependent on solidarity with others. We don't build God's reign on earth alone. We are part of relationships and communities that shape and sustain us. Cod is everywhere and the preferred dwelling place of God is look for God everywhere and above all in personal rela- elebration of Hope for all of us. Dottie Wilson of my love, and more importantly, of God's love. advice, I would turn to the Holy Spirit in prayer for guid- help  spiritual, medical, psychological  be need- or her to seek this help. --Maggie Hennel glimmer of how important the bonds among members of our human communi- ty are," and how hope is first experienced. CNS photo by Bill Wittman Our illusions of self-sufficiency have now disappeared. We have needed oth- ers since before we were born. In regain- ing hope, we know more than ever that we are not in complete control of our lives. How might hope be restored? Only when we realize most deeply that hope is the work of God, the Holy Spirit acting in our friendships and in our hearts. Oblate Father Crossin is the author of "Friendship: The Key to Spiritual Growth," published by Paulist Press. Food for thought If only we could simply give hope to people who need it! I'm sure most of us would gladly do just that. At least we'd remove the pain or frustration that accompanies another's loss of hope. But there's no guarantee we can just hand hope over to someone else. And whatever seeds of hope we sow may take time to grow. Furthermore, simply removing elements of struggle from another's life won't necessarily help. A parent whose child feels hopeless in the face of schoolwork that bores and angers him can't solve the child's problem by just doing the schoolwork for him. So, what can one do for someone suffering a loss of hope? Speak to him in positive ways about his talents. Thank her for the good she does. (People feeling hopeless may see little about themselves that they appreciate.) Don't abandon her. Be a faithful companion  just as God is faithful. Don't lecture. Instead, share experiences  your own past struggles with hope. Remember, this person needs someone to believe in him. Everyone does. Pray for her. Notice each little step she takes forward, and thank Caxi for this. David Gibson Editor, Faith Alive!