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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
November 27, 1987     The Message
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November 27, 1987

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Faith Today SupplemenL The Message, Catholic Diocese of Evansville, November 27, 1987 Page 4 * Faith Today "The greatest proof of God&apos;s love is. shown in the fact that he loves us in our hu- man condition, with our weaknesses and our needs." (Pope John Paul II in San Francisco, Sep- tember 1987) How do you describe an <-egotist? Building up the capacity to esteem oneself ought to be part of the process of true self-discovery. But there is a difference between self-esteem and egotism. And it makes a difference for anyone's spirituality. ) The spiritual life aims to ON PILGRIMAGE develop a relationship with God. And one of the best ways to do this "is to develop happy, healthy relationships" with others who are made in God's image, said Father Robert Sherry, director of the U.S. bishops' priestly forma- tion secretariat. A strong sense of self I self-esteem m frees a per- son to enter into such rela- tionships. But the egotist is more likely "to destroy relationships," Father Sherry said. "Egotists work out of their own agenda" and are so preoccupied with themselves that they cannot take "an active, lov- ing interest in their neighbors." Egotists see themselves as the "center of the universe." As the word "egocentric" indicates, such a person thinks "the whole world revolves around me," Father Sherry continued. He told of a TV show which il- lustrates the point for him. A woman planning to attend a costume party explained that she would dress as a princess so "all would know I'm the most impor- tant person there." "But," she added, "even without the costume everyone knows I'm the most important." When Father Sherry encounters egocentric people in a counseling situation he searches for a way to turn their attention toward others beyond themselves, in line with the great Gospel commandment to love one's neighbor as oneself. Usually he starts with an easy-to- accomplish activity. *He suggests the person per- form a service activity to help someone else on a regular basis. This can be as simple as holding a door open for someone twice daily. *Or he asks the person to pray for someone else in need or in pain, for someone they consider an enemy or for one of the priest's special intentions. The goal, Father Sherry explain- ed, is "to turn the focus off the self...and to build an awareness that someone else is in need and has a pain." Over time, he believes, such simple activities should lead a per- son to recognize the difference between self-esteem and egotism. A woman who risked everything By Janaan Manternach NC News Service M argaret Clitherow grew up about 400 years ago in a lovely home in Davygate, near York, England. Her parents were wealthy citizens. Her father's health was very poor and he died when Margaret was still young. Her mother soon remarried. Margaret's new father became mayor of York. In 1571 he arrang- ed a marriage between his step- daughter and John Clitherow, a rich butcher who also held public office. After the wedding she moved to her husband's home in the butch- ers' quarter of York. They came to love each other deeply. They enjoyed a comfortable life. Margaret loved parties and receptions. At first neither Margaret nor her husband, who was from a Catholic family, were very religious. But something happened during the first two or three years of her marriage that led Margaret to become a Catholic. It may have been the example of Catholics dy- ing for their faith. It was dangerous to be a Catholic in England at that time. Catholics were forbidden to take part in a Mass. The police hunted down priests. Fines were heavy. Hiding priests or participating in a Mass risked the death penalty. Margaret decided to take the risk. She invited priests to her home to celebrate Mass for her family and other Catholics. She became part of the large C:ttholic underground. Her husl:)and did not participate, but he paid Margaret's weekly fine for not attending Anglican services. He helped his wife in every way lie could. Their children took part in the secret Masses and helped hide and pro- tect the priests. Margaret was arrested several times. One time she was kept in prison for two years. Afterward she set up a Catholic school at home and continued hiding priests and having Mass there. The situation became more and more dangerous. Then in 1586 the police raided the Clitherow home. A hidden priest and the children's teacher narrowly escaped. Margaret, her husband and children were arrested and put in prison. The judge condemned Margaret to a slow, painful death for treason but freed her husband and children. From prison she sent them each a last gift of her clothing. On March 25, 1586, Margaret wa: executed. Her faith and \\; courage lived on in her children. Henry and William bccamq priests. Anne became a nun. And Thomas died after years in prison for his Roman Catholic belief. Margaret Clitherow, loving wife, devoted mother, brave martyr, was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970. Her feast is March 25. (Ms. Manternach is the author of catechetical works, Scripture stories and original stories for children.) A gift of yourself this time, people start to think about Christmas iffs. Sometimes they decide to give gifts of themselves I their time or service -- to family members or fdends. You can tool With crayons or paints, make a holiday card for the peo- ple to whom you would like to give a gift. On the inside write what your gift is -- for example, reading a story to a younger brother or sister, helping a parent with a chore, baking cookies for an elderly neighbor, etc. Remember the best gifts come from the heartl What do you think? [] Draw a picture of Margaret Clitherow's home as you imagine it, show- ing the place she might have hidden priests. [] Margaret CIItherow lived at a time when divisions between Christians involved great hostilities. Today's ecumenical movement has greatly im- proved these relations. What is the ecumenical movement? From the bookshelf In A Gift for Mama, by Esther Hautzig, Sara Is tired of her family's traditlon of making presents and decides not to follow it for Mother's Day. Instead, she works long and hard darning socks and mending the worn clothing of her sister's friends In order to earn money for a gift. But mother doesn't seem happy when Sara gives her a pair of shiny black slippers. It is only when she learns how hard Sara worked to buy them that mother realizes how special the gift is and how significant Sara's decision was. (Puffin Books, division of Viking Penguin Inc., 40 W. 23 St., New York, N.Y. 10010. lg87. Paperback, $3.g5.)