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Spiritual Issues
Jul 14, 1998

Two questions:

How do you understand the sharpening of spiritual awareness in persons infected with HIV?

and

What are some of the core spiritual issues / problems that you've encountered among HIV+ people?

Thanks very much, Rich

Response from Father DeMartini

Dear Rich,

Thank you for your very challenging questions. I am glad to share some observations from my own pastoral experience and invite others, especially those living with HIV, to "fill in the gaps".

I understand the sharpening of spiritual awareness to be connected to living with profound questions such as "What is going to happen to me? How will I co-exist with this virus? Why did this happen to me?" As these and other questions arise, I think that an individual is invited to draw upon others--including faith in God/Higher Power. This can help deal with fear, anger, loneliness and move a person to cherish and live their life more intently and respectfully.

Other core spiritual issues and problems I have observed include: how can I claim the positive aspects and benefits of my religious heritage and not get stuck behind the hurts and disappointments that I have experienced in my Church? Who can I trust with my own vulnerability as an HIV+ person and with whom can I share my journey--questions and discoveries? What 'baggage' do I want to leave behind---including my own attitudes/behaviors that may have put me at risk or anything that may weigh me down and not allow me to live my life fully now?

I realize that these touch but a few issues or problems. I look forward to your own perspective and that of others to continue to explore this issue.

Blessings, Fr. Rod



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