Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas Message

The lighted trees and glittering decorations assure one that the holiday season has arrived. The traditional Christmas shopping begins in preparation for the much-awaited gift-giving among family and friends. As we ponder some of the greatest gifts we have been given, it is probably the reality that the image of a watch, piece of jewelry, or even a bottle of cologne or sweater could quickly pop into our minds. However, after more reflection, it could be possible that for all of us – as members of the CHRISTUS family – we are reminded of the gift we received with the birth of Jesus centuries ago. Because of this, today we have not only the privilege but the awesome responsibility of carrying out His healing ministry in our acute, non-acute and international ministries – our Mission.

Speaking of gifts, I was recently given a coin by Fernando Ferraro, the first CEO of CHRISTUS Muguerza, who now works part-time with Peter Maddox in exploring international business development opportunities. This special coin reminded Fernando of the original call of Bishop Dubuis and the value of mission as he writes in the coin’s story, which follows:

The Value of a Mission

In a community high in the mountain called Pena Nevada in northern Mexico, a poor farmer named Homero, my friend, came to me and placed a coin in my hand. He asked, "How much is this coin worth?"

I looked at it and read the script that was written in English on the top of the coin’s face.

“No cash value.”

Then, I turned the coin over and saw a funny clown face stamped on the other side.

Immediately, I realized that this coin was a token coin that came from an amusement park or a fair playground and it is used to pay for children’s rides and games. I answered Homero, saying that this coin did not have any monetary value.

After answering him, he smiled and said, "I give you this coin as a present." I smiled back and thanked him for this gift. Later on, I learned the great spiritual value of this coin.

Many thoughts came to mind as I was flipping the coin, scrutinizing its two faces.

I realized that when you have a mission in life or a path to accomplish, this is a duty, and the duty has come from our faith or our conscience. This mission of duty has "no cash value," which means that these actions are fulfilling a spiritual goal. These goals do not give back any monetary rewards during our lives and that it’s a duty that makes us, by choice, fulfill and accomplish it.

In my opinion, missions in CHRISTUS Health can be paid with these illustrative coins and they should always be, figuratively speaking, in our pockets or wallets to remind us of our commitment to this mission and our spiritual goals.

I recognized another message on the other side of the coin with the funny clown face. This image told me that we have to see our mission with a child’s mind, without discrimination of any kind, with a joyful spirit, having fun with what we do even if it means making a choice or sacrifice, always looking for the feeling of joy as the result of serving. We have to see our mission from a child’s point of view and child’s heart.

Rabindranath Tagore’s poem summarizes the essence of our mission.

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy, I awoke and saw that life was service, I acted and behold, service was joy."

God has created everything, including our mission, and in making our mission joyful, we bless all creation and ourselves as well; that is why we [serve], because we have been blessed already.

Isn't a mission that compels us to perform worthwhile service perhaps the greatest gift we can receive during this holiday season? As we journey toward CHRISTUS’ 11th birthday on Feb. 1, 2010, may we all give thanks for a mission that calls us to serve; patients, consumers and residents who trust us with their health and often their very lives and the blessing of extending compassionate care to our neighbors in their time of need.

On behalf of the senior team, I wish for all of you and your families and loved ones a joyous Christmas season and for the new year of 2010 to be filled with much peace and happiness.

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