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Transparent suffering.

Dear editor,

The world was recently invited to open its heart to the final suffering of one of the most influential leaders of the Roman Catholic church, Karol Jozef Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II. The death-denying culture of Western civilization was asked to collectively hold vigil as an ailing octogenarian, suffering from sepsis and the cumulative effects of Parkinson's disease, slowly let go of life.

This vigil asked Western society to participate in the final hours of human sickness--his transparent suffering. It is something that hospital caregivers experience far too often and from which families sometimes cower. The draining away of life as age and the disease takes its final toll.

Our journey with an ailing pope was sometimes embarrassing, often tragic, and yet equally transparent in its invitation for others to watch with compassion and understanding.

The Pope once said, "The worst prison is a closed heart." John Paul II's final gift to this world was an invitation to "open our hearts" to suffering in all its nuances and varying needs.

Chaplain Donald Shields

Co-ordinator of Spiritual and Religious Care

Markham Stouffville Hospital

Markham, Ont.
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Title Annotation:LETTERS
Author:Shields, Donald
Publication:Anglican Journal
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:May 1, 2005
Words:186
Previous Article:Discussion on authority.
Next Article:Gift of the creator.


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