Queen of Heaven Catholic Church

1800 Steese Road • Uniontown, Ohio 44685 • 330-896-2345

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Pastoral Letter

November 18, 2018 - The 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

A Letter from Our Deacon

Ok. I have a confession to make: I’m not a big Cavs fan. And, while I’m at it, I’ll admit, too, that I’m not all that enamored with professional sports in general. But I do have to confess that I admire some of the players. One such player is the Cav’s Kevin Love – and it’s not just because of his last name and it’s not particularly because of his basketball ability. Rather, I look up to him because of something he courageously did recently in the press.

On March 6, 2018 The Players’ Tribune (www.theplayerstribune.com) published Love’s article, “Everyone is Going Through Something.” In the article, Love described his struggles with mental illness, something that, for him – a NBA superstar, took a great deal of courage. His story is a real human story – about the less-than-perfect things about us that we all must face at times in our lives…about our brokenness that we often feel we have to hide.

The events of Love’s story began to unfold a little over a year ago, right after halftime in a game. He had a panic attack right before the watchful eyes of many thousands of spectators. His heart was racing, and he couldn’t catch his breath. The thought occurred to him that he was going to die. He left the game and was whisked to the Cleveland Clinic for an evaluation. Nothing physical was found. What was uncovered, however, was that he was struggling with a form of mental illness that manifested itself in panic attacks. To make a long story short, Love is now receiving treatment for his anxiety disorder and is doing well.

What strikes me most about Love’s story is the grace of courage that a media superstar living in the rarified world of professional sports received in order to come out of his isolation – a grace that allowed him (a professional athlete trained “…to be strong…to not talk about your feelings…to get through it on your own…”) to speak the truth about himself and about the sufferings of others. In his own words, “Everyone is going through something that we can’t see.”

The Devil wants us isolated – to get us alone in our suffering – where in the dark we become his easy prey. But our God of light wants just the opposite – not isolation – but rather connectedness, unity and kinship with Him and with others. Scripture is filled with this truth: from Genesis we hear from our Father God, “It’s not good for man to be alone,” all the way to the end of Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus emphatically states, “I am with you always.”

So how is it that God is with us keeping us from being alone? Filled with the Holy Spirit all of us can and should be “little Christs” for each other – to be His hands (to lift), to be His feet (to carry), to be His shoulders (to cry on), to be his ears (to listen), to be his mouth (to speak the truth), to be his heart (to love).

This “good news” from Kevin Love is uplifting indeed in that it helps to break the stigma of mental or physical illness. Suffering happens to all of us, and when it does, we’re meant to neither “wear it on our sleeves” nor are we to isolate ourselves because of it. Rather, our Lord expects us to share the burden of that suffering with the trusted “little Christs” that God has graciously placed in our midst.

A sharing of what he was going through brought healing to Kevin Love. It can bring healing to you, too. In Love’s words, “… (this sharing) could be the most important thing you do. It was for me.”

May God always be in the midst of your heart!
Deacon Steve