Everybody Counts

The Hungarian Eugene Ormandy was a conductor and violinist, an exceptional musician. He put so much zeal in his performance that someone once commented, “I was impressed several years ago when I read the Eugene Ormandy dislocated a shoulder while directing the Philadelphia Orchestra. I do not know what they were playing, but he was giving all of himself to it! And I have asked myself sadly, ‘Did I ever dislocate anything, even a necktie?'”

Many of us never give all of ourselves for anything. Mediocrity could easily be our second name! This is sad. Each one of us is an actor in a drama with eternal consequences. And each one of us has a distinctive role to play in that drama.

This profound conviction about the drama of every human life is what allowed John Paul II to say in Fatima on May 13, 1982 — one year to the day after he was shot down in his front yard, St. Peter’s Square, “In the designs of providence, there are no mere coincidences.”

Nothing is just “coincidental.” Everything counts. Everyone counts. In a culture that tempts us to think of people as disposable when they become burdensome, or troubling, or inconvenient, we have to keep believing that there are no “disposable” people. Every human life has infinite value.

There are no “ordinary” people. Everyone we have met in your life — everyone we shall meet in the years ahead, even today! — is someone with a dignity beyond measure.

Going though a Carmelite mailing, Cincarm – CIN Carmelite Spirituality, on the internet, I once read this impressive testimony. It is somewhat long but really moving.

“Hello to All!

My name is Melanie. I joined this list hoping to find a spiritual community here on the net. I’m a children’s librarian with three wonderful daughters. My faith has always been important to me, but my experiences over the last year have challenged and deepened my faith in ways I would not have imagined.

My son, Zachary, was diagnosed with anencephaly “water on the brain”…the head is much enlarged because of all the fluid inside, when I was fourteen weeks pregnant. We chose to continue the pregnancy, though we knew he would die at or shortly after birth.

Through the next six months we tried to come to terms with his condition and prepare ourselves and our children for what was to be. I was more frightened than I can express of what he would look like, how he would die, even whether or not I could love this broken child.

The night he was born, though, was beyond imagining. I was surrounded by love and prayer and filled with an amazing sense of God’s presence. It was a night of joy, not sorrow, as all my doubts and fears melted away.

I held and loved my little son as he passed from my arms to God’s and KNEW, at last, that God can and does love me in all my own brokenness and imperfection. I’m sending on something I wrote a couple months after Zachary’s birth that expresses a little of what he meant to me.

IN THANKSGIVING

I thank you, Lord, for my son, Zachary, who has enriched my life in so many ways and has been my teacher in the ways of love.
– because he taught me that love is stronger than death
– because he showed me how love can truly cast out fear
– because he, in his innocence, showed me that you don’t have to be perfect to be worth loving
– because he taught me lessons in loving and letting go that have helped me learn to better mother my preadolescent daughters
– because he brought me new friends and deepened old friendships
– because he taught me to reach deep within myself for strength I did not know I had and how to reach out to others and to You when even that was gone
– because he taught me that death is not always the enemy, but the path that leads to our true home
– because he taught me to celebrate the moments we have with those we love, for they may never come again
– because he taught me that children cannot be shielded from death, but must be led gently to accept it as a part of life
– because he showed me that funerals can be celebrations of love
– because he showed me that in my husband’s eyes lies the promise of eternity
– because he helped me find an extra measure of compassion for the suffering, an extra bit of patience for my children and a renewed sense of the wonder of all creation
– because he taught me that God’s greatest miracles are not those in which He orders the physical world in accordance with our wishes, but those in which He transforms and heals our hearts
– because he was, is and always will be my own beloved child
For Zachary
Born and died July 19, 1996”

Touching, no? And yet so true.


(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.