|O CHRISTMAS TREE, O CHRISTMAS TREE|
In a recent Magnificat reflection, Fr. Vincent Nagle wrote of his work accompanying the sick and dying:
"[I]n those situations very often people would, finally, speak the truth. I do not mean that before peeple were intentionally deceitful. I simply mean that the final things are difficult to face. Of ourselves we have not the courage to do so. Our failures, resentments, humiliations, terrors, sins, and unspoken longings are bigger than we are. The terrible mystery of life itself can seem to threaten us with annihilation."
In Journal of a Solitude, May Sarton writes:
"Gerald Heard's saying 'he must go unprotected that he may be constantly change' always comes to mind when I am speaking of what it is to be a poet and to go on writing poetry beyond the meridian of life."
Later, she quotes from a New Yorker piece by Robert Coles on Erik Erikson re Erikson's work with young , underprivileged boys:
" 'Now and again, however, an individual is called upon (called by whom, only the theologians claim to know, and by what, only bad psychologists) to lift his individual patienthood to the level of a universal one add to try to solve for all what he could not solve for himself alone.' The key word for me, of course, is 'patienthood,' for this is exactly what is involved for the poet or artist of either sex. Coles himself says elsewhere in the piece, 'Not everyone can or will do that--give his specific fears and desires a chance to be of universal significance.' To do this takes a curious combination of humility, excruciating honesty, and (there's the rub) a sense of destiny or of identity. One must believe that private dilemmas are, if deeply examined, universal, and so, if expressed, have a human value beyond the private, and one must also believe in the vehicle for expressing them, in the talent."
Or as someone else said--"Well people don't need a doctor; sick people do" [Mt. 9:12].