From One Saint to Another

Among CS Lewis's many correspondents was Don Giovanni Calabria, founder of the
Congregation of the Poor Servants of Divine Providence, and cannonized by Pope John Paul II in 1999. In other words, a real live saint.

This excerpt is dated March 27, 1948--but it could have been written today. If Lewis were alive today, this is what he would like says to Christians, especially those of the American Evangelical variety. (Note-this is Lewis's reply to St. Giovanni, translated from Latin --the language the two men used to communicate, as Giovanni spoke no English, and I believe Lewis spoke no Italian.)

“Everywhere things are troubling and uneasy - wars and rumors of wars; perhaps not the final hour but certainly evil times. Nevertheless, the Apostle bids us again and again “Rejoice.” Nature herself bids us do so, the very face of the earth being now renewed, after its own manner, at the start of Spring.

I believe that the men of the age (and among them you Father and myself) think too much about the state of nations and the situation of the world. Does not the author of The Imitation warn us against involving oneself too much with such things.

We are not kings, we are not senators. Let us beware lest, while we torture ourselves in vain about the state of Europe, we neglect either Verona or Oxford. In the poor man who knocks at my door, in my ailing mother, in the young man who seeks my advice, the Lord Himself is present; therefore, let us wash his feet.



More Important Than the Super Bowl

When Mike Holgren takes the field with his Seattle Seahawks at the Super Bowl next week, his wife Kathy won't watching. She has "more important things to do," as my colleague Stan Friedman put it.

Instead, she'll be at a remote village hospital in Congo, with a group of doctors and nurses, (including her daugher Calla), assisting the Congolese medical staff with their staggering workload.

Congo is, as The Lancet reported this month, the worst humanitarian disaster in the world. Four million people have died there since 1998, as a result of a civil war that devasted the country's infrastracture. The economy, tranportation systems, health care system and schools are in shambles. It is Darfur on steroids.

With few exceptions, the only schools and hospitals still operating are run by churches, with Congolese staff, many of whom went for months without pay during the war, but refused to give up. With the help of aid groups like the Paul Carlson partnership, Congolese grassroots leaders are rebuilding their community.

The Kathy Holgren story should have legs. The Chicago Tribune has a story in the works, and ABC is planning on talking to her as part of their Super Bowl coverage. It's not a publicity stunt--as the trip was planned long before the Seahawks made the Super Bowl--but with any luck the press coverage will shed a little light, and perhaps galvanize some support, for people who are walking in a very dark place.


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