Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 9/11 - How much sacrifice is enough?

Today people in the USA and friends from around the world are pausing for a few moments to remember the lives lost in the 9/11 tragedy and in the war on terrorism that has taken place sense then.

Last week we were pausing to remember the Katrina tragedy.

Those of us at Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection add our prayers of hope and remembrance to the families of those directly affected by these events. However, we would like to go a step further.

We'd like to ask everyone to dig a bit deeper and to find a little more time to try to understand the poverty in the world that is a breeding ground for these events. While nature caused the Hurricane, it was poverty that gave us the images of desperate people in New Orleans.

While it is a small group of fanatics fanning the fire of terrorism, it is poverty that provides recruits for these fanatics.

Thus, it's poverty we need to understand and deal with.

In this context, the next question is "how much time, talent and treasure" should one be expected to commit to this war on poverty? In the speeches that will be given today we'll honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. The number of dead will be totaled. In the background will be the number of families and children changed forever because a parent was lost in 9/11 or killed or severely wounded in the years since then.

When we think of this as 100% sacrifice, how do our own daily commitments of time, talent and treasure stack up? I'm not in a position to say what the appropriate level of giving should be. However, I can look in my own mirror every night and feel good about my own efforts.

I'd like to find a way that more people were looking in the mirror every night and doing more than just staring at a pretty face!!

Tonight we'll hold our first orientation for the volunteers who will become tutors/mentors in the 2006-07 Cabrini Connections program. As I talk to them I'll be starting them on a journey that is intended to stretch their involvement beyond two hours a week with one of our teens, to a commitment that draws the heart, body and spirit of a growing number into the efforts it takes to end poverty by helping kids move through school and into jobs/careers.

We promise our kids "we'll do everything we can" to assure that you're starting a job/career by age 25. "Everything" is a lot. It's unconditional effort. It recognizes the potential of unleashing the talent of our volunteers, their friends and families, the people they work with, and the people they pray with or go to football games with, in efforts to end poverty and provide hope.

Our efforts to unleash and focus more of the talents and time of our students, alumni and volunteers are the best memorial to 9/11 that I feel we can offer.

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