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June 12, 1998     The Message
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June 12, 1998

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10 The Message u for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana June" Letter arrives 17 years late By SCOTT FARRIS Catholic News Service CHEYENNE, Wyo. (CNS) -- A letter from the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta to a Cheyenne man arrived 17 years late and just at the right time -- on the very day he learned he had serious health problems. Gilbert Ortiz, a retired barber, had written to Moth- er Teresa in 1981 to make a small donation and ask for prayers for others in need. Mother Teresa wrote back almost immediately, but Ortiz never received the reply. hen I read that letter I hit the roof. Maybe I hit heaven. One day this March, the 70-year-old Ortiz had just returned home from the doctor's office, where he had been told he had failing kidneys anc an inch-long aneurysm on his aorta. As he and his wife, Emma, entered their home in silence, contemplating the impact of the news, "I was feeling bad," Ortiz said. "I was down, man, really down." but just in ti Then Emma went to the mailbox and found an unex- pected letter --two letters, in fact. One, dated Nov. 28, 1981, was from Mother Teresa. The second was from Mother Teresa's successor as superior of the Missionaries of Charity, Sister Nirmala Joshi, who told Ortiz that Mother Teresa's response to his letter somehow had been found among some other papers delivered to the order's house in New York in February. "Although the content of the letter may not be impor- tant or relevant to you now, nearly 17 years later," Sis- ter Nirmala wrote Ortiz, "we thought that you might like to have the letter since it bears Mother's signature." For Ortiz, the letter was more than a collector's item. Where moments before he had felt despair, he was now filled with joy and peace. "When I read that letter I hit the roof. Maybe I hit heaven," Ortiz said, adding that the effect has not yet worn off. "I'm only 5-foot-5," he said, "but I feel like I'm 8 feet tall." What made the letter so special is that Mother Tere- sa, who died Sept. 5 last year, seemed to anticipate that her letter would not arrive until Ortiz needed it most. "Pain, sorrow, suffering is but the kiss of er Teresa wrote. "A sign that you have come him that he can kiss you. May God give courage to accept your cross with resi in union with the passion of Jesus. Ortiz said the personal reply and blessing fr0: er Teresa have given him an While his health is failing, "now I happens to me," he said. "If Christ I'm ready to go. Now I know I've got ing for me. Now when I get to heaven, body I have to meet and it's Mother Teresa/' At Ortiz's church, St. Joseph's in for, Father Michael Carr, read the congregation on Easter Sunday, April Father Carr, a Cheyenne native who cuts from Ortiz as a boy, said he felt the perfect Easter story, "an Easter story Although he admits he is curious to future medical checkups will the priest said Ortiz already has had ( is the best one m the gift of peace. "It's not for me to pronounce miracles," said, "but this is more than a coinc" be? The timing could not cise." L 2 The Secrets Out Adding some SPICE to married life through NFP I = Intellectual C = Creative E = Emotional When a dating or married couple brings prayer, worship or reflection on God into the relationship, they develop their spiritual dimension. The sex drive (usually not the same for each spouse), their genital organs, and children are all important parts of the physical The most important element of your sexuality is . . . your brain! No wonder it's so difficult to promote abstinence among teenagers today! Many movies and ads put their focus on the NEWS AND COMMENTARY By SOOZI SCHELLER Contributing writer superficial aspects of our sexu- ality and with this narrow focus, we can miss the meaning of our sexuality. Physical aspects of our sexuality are important; however, when love is the binding force for all aspects, they work together for the best. The neighboring pie chart shows some of the important pieces of sexuality. One acronym to describe them all is SPICE. S = Spiritual P = Physical relationship between the cou- ple. The efforts that the couple makes to understand the mean- ing of their own sexuality make up part of the intellectual side. Different parts of human sexu- ality overlap. For instance, chil- dren can represent the physical nature; but, how the couple guides their children in devel- oping their own view of sexual- ity overlaps naturally with the intellectual, creative, emotional and spiritual sides. Couples can engage their creative energy as they find non-genital ways of expressing their love to one another. Sometimes in the transition from dating to marriage, intercourse can replace the creative non- gelaital expressions of love. Natural Family Plan- ning adds tinder to keep this spark of creativity alive. The feelings we have about all of the above encompass the emotional aspect of our sexuality. All aspects are important! In marriage, Natural Family Planning helps the couple pro- mote the health of their own sex- uality in all of the'aspects. For instance, one couple had come to rely on their acts of inter- course, a very small amount of time they spent together, as their primary means of expressing their love for one another. The husband had previously been only interested in expressing his love to his wife in a genital way on a non-fertile day because they had decided to avoid a pregnancy. Using NFP, he engaged his creative side. "How could I show her I love her? Ah ha! Today is the day she cleans the oven. She hates cleaning the oven! While she goes out shop- ping, I'll clean it for her! Sur- prise!" When the wife came home and prepared to clean the oven, she found it spotless. She looked at her tears gushed forth. knew he loved SPICE! For more u one of Family Planning Mary's Medical cen 485-4110; tion Planning Hospital in Jasper at (812) (800) 852-7295; the Americas NFP Vincennes at (812) make con Natural in the Diocese i call St. Mary's 485-4265. Thirty-dollar gift Natural are available Health Ma The price covers thd ductory Session one year. ......... Catholic values needed in modern health care, speaker TORONTO (CNS)  North She spoke to about 380 dele- For many people, the embrace tians to persuade nonbelievers bow out of America's aging population will become the largest issue in health care for the first 25 years of the next century, said a Sister of Charity who is a physician and expert on bioethics. For Catholics, this demo- graphic shift is fundamentally important, said Charity Sister Nuala Kenny, a pediatrician and director of the Office of Bioethics, Education and Research in Hal- ifax, Nova Scotia. Because of their emphasis on the cross and Resurrection, Catholics involved in health care can restore the sense of sacred dignity and mystery to life at a time when health care is being dehumanized by science and high technology,, said Sister gates to the annual Catholic Health Association of Canada conference in Toronto May 3. Jesus' command to serve the sick and oppressed also gives Catholics a mission to care for those who are least able to afford the expensive high-tech solutions to their, ills, Sister Kenny said. In a wide-ranging talk, she covered the various threats to the place of Christianity in health care today. The threats include the dominance of sci- ence and technology, a disdain for Christian faiths, rampant individualism, the oppression and rnarginalization of the poo r, the information explosion and the medicalization and com- mercializ.ation of care. of high-tech solutions for health problems has blurred the philo- sophical distinction between real and artificial life. Machines, from cellular tele- phones to beepers to pacemak- ers, have become extensions of people's bodies, she said, forc- ing a shift in how people define human nature. This makes it increasingly difficult for Chris- that human life is sacred, she added. "Ordinary folks see no differ- ence between turning off a ven- tilator or injecting potassium chloride (a fatal drug) or a lethal dose of morphine," she said. The high cost of cutting-edge medical technology is also forc- ing many religious communi- ties that own health facilities to areas and low-tech care, homes. Sister religious not abandon of medicine: To to guarantee morality would shaping and teaching Health and SZ M medical news from a Cathol!c Heal .th Care perspective , cou.00,y o, Services