When I was growing up, the smartest man, as well as the most talented man I ever knew was Orville Kahl? Ever heard of him? It is doubtful you have, unless you are from Vincennes, Indiana and lived in the 1950-60’s.  Orville was my dad’s age. A shy guy, he married one of the Brown girls and set up shop, as I first knew him, fixing radios and eventually selling Muntz TVs.  At the time, Muntz TV (1950-60’s) was the top of the line television,  I remember that it had a clear picture, when our tiny 13″ television set had very grainy and black and white pictures, at least when we watched Howdy Doody or Texaco Hour.  Orville lived and died in a tiny town (population 20,000) virtually unknown by anyone.  He was not particularly religious but had good values.

Here is my point in bring up Orville.

  • I thought of him when I was in my meditation for Lectio Divina (don’t ask me how I got there).
  • I thought of how God loves all of us, even the Orville’s of the world, the forgotten of men, the unpopular, the unsuccessful, the childless, the despised of his or her community. I thought of how so many people in history have gone before us, each with a story to tell, an insight into life, a lesson learned.
  • I thought of the many Cistercian monks and nuns who have gone before us, those whose names are written in the Book of Life, kept by Christ Himself, the unknown soldier, the martyrs for the faith, the thousands killed in the Holocaust, those whose bodies were strewn along long roads, winding throughout time. God knew each one by name, even if they did not know His name.
  • I thought of how many saints are in Heaven (only saints get to Heaven), Saints are those who are especially venerated because they tried to have in them the mind of Christ Jesus.
  • I thought how each life is unique and precious to the heart of Christ and how he died for each one of us so that we may be loosed from Original Sin and accept our adoption as sons and daughters of the Father.

You are worth it, says Jesus. I only ask that you love others as I have loved you. Is that too much to ask that we love the Orville’s of the world, even if we don’t know them, even if they have died and gone on before us. Well, that is the challenge we face, if we call ourselves by the name of Christ. We can do no more than that, nor can we do any less.

Praise be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen,  —Cistercian doxology


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