Monday, May 29, 2006

Uncle George revisited

Let’s go out to look for more Uncles George

This is the follow up of my letter on Uncle George “Love grows when we grow old” (Herald April 16). Indeed I am glad for the wonderful contribution on Uncle George by Peter Wong, “Uncle George is the best!” (Herald May 7).

Uncle George and auntie Grace were overjoyed to have visitors who came after seeing the above letters in the Herald. They were particularly grateful to Herald for publishing those letters. There were also numerous phone calls from long lost friends and relatives. I could virtually see the glow of happiness in their faces

I hope more will continue to visit uncle and his wife. Their request to us all is simple. This is what he says: “It is not money, gifts or food that we need. All we ask for is the love of fellow humans to spare some time for elderly people like us who are so lonely”.

There are hundreds, may be thousands, of uncles George scattered all over in our parishes, living in loneliness and fear of imminent death, not of themselves, but of their spouse which would leave them all alone in this world. They are desperately yearning for our love and support.

As Christians are we on the look out for such people who yearn for our love and affection? Some of us may be too busy with our work that we do not recognize them although they are in our midst. Many of us are too obsessed with prayer that we are indifferent to the pleas of our neighbor, hoping that God will take of them. We fail to understand that God does not come directly to help man. He will only come in the form of earthlings like you and me.

Our priests are best poised to take the lead. They must come out to lead us, the laity, to search and reach out to the hundreds of desperate and lonely people in our parish. These parishioners in their twilight of their lives have lived exemplary Christian lives. Above all,they have cherished and safeguarded their sacred wows of matrimony to be with each other in good and bad times, a virtue we find hard to see these days. At a time when our children badly lack role models in life, we must bring out these people as examples for them to emulate.

Unfortunately today, our priests are increasingly seen as mere administrators of church rituals which by themselves without a real concern for the condition of the human heart serve no purpose as it is devoid of substance and love.

Very often we, the children and priests are quick to anoint the sick and dying when in coma and subsequently give them a grand funeral service. We even offer masses and hold elaborate memorial services for the dead but lack the same enthusiasm in being supportive and being with them when they were alive.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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