The cardinal’s message

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The cardinal’s message

Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan left us yesterday, but what has been taking place in Myeong-dong was nothing short of a miracle.

Endless streams of mourners visited Seoul’s Myeongdong Cathedral where the cardinal lay before his burial, an unusual scene even in a Catholic state.

Choi Jong-tae, a sculptor and the member of the National Academy of Arts, said, “I feel he was a saint like Mother Teresa.”

The cardinal indeed led a noble life. In 1966, when he became a bishop, he decided that he would be guided by the motto “For you and all the people,” and urged followers to do the same.

The motto came from his conviction that a believer must devote himself to other people, as Jesus did. And Cardinal Kim’s life was lived out according to this principle.

This is why 400,000 mourners waited in line in cold weather for three hours to see his face one last time.

What took place in Myeong-dong is just the beginning. Cardinal Kim’s lasting message was about love, and he ignited the flame of love not just in the 400,000 mourners who visited the cathedral, but in millions of people across the country.

On the Web site of the Korean Organ Donor Program, the number of people who have promised to donate their organs after death has surged drastically.

The average number of people who sign up for organ donation is 25 per day. This surged six times on Feb. 17, the day after the cardinal’s death, 10 times on Feb. 18 and 30 times on Feb. 19.

More people promised to adopt abandoned babies and donate money to scholarship foundations.

The flame of love must spread and continue to blaze far and wide. Cardinal Kim’s message of love, sacrifice, volunteer work and reconciliation must reach every corner of our society.

His message must help politicians and leaders of our society, who must work to fix their confrontation and division, and open themselves to reconciliation and cooperation. The message must give hope and courage to youths who feel frustrated because of the economic crisis, and underprivileged people who live in hardship.

The cardinal must keep on living in our hearts. Even if we cannot live as he did, we must make an effort to carry out his message. His message of love has already created a miracle. The miracle must continue to cure Korea’s chronic disease.

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