BY: RON HAMEL, Ph.D.
CALL TO PRAYER
Praise, O servants of the Lord
Praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting
The name of the Lord is to be praised!
Leader Gracious God, we gather in this place today mindful that you
call us to carry on your healing work in the world and to strive for the realization
of your kingdom even now. We are also mindful that you call us to integrity—to
being who you call us to be, personally and organizationally, and to expressing
who we say we are in all that we say and do. Be with us during this time, opening
our minds and our hearts, so that our time together may contribute to a strengthening
of our own integrity and that of our organization. We ask this in your name.
We tend to accept a divided life, acquiescing to an apparent necessity to
maintain a "split personality." That is, often we act as one person,
following one set of goals and standards in our private lives, while we become
a strikingly different person—someone molded by expediency and necessary
Of course, the problem of personal integrity or wholeness does not reside exclusively
in the disparities between our "private" and "working" selves.
In moments of clarity, most of us can recall reasons to regret the gap between
who we ought to be and who we actually are. Nevertheless, one's working
life is a powerful source of the fragmentation and estrangement of self from
self. . . . It is not merely because work occupies so many of our hours. It
is also because work is central to the practical life of goal-setting and decision-making,
of personal and inter-personal achievement. For many of us, it is the fount
of our well-being. . . .
Our desire for wholeness or integrity has both a personal and a communal, or
organizational, component. "Integrity" comes from the Latin adjective
integer: whole, complete, single (in the sense of 'pure'). As an abstract
noun, 'integrity' thus signifies the condition of being one or whole,
whether the thing in question is a whole number, a whole person, or a whole
institution. . . . At the personal level, integrity refers to our ability to
be wholly consistent in ourselves and in our actions. At the organizational
level, integrity requires that conditions or structures exist that allow us,
as workers, to become and to remain whole.
These aspects of integrity pose two questions. . . . The first question, at
the level of personal integrity: What kind of person should I as a manager or
employee strive to become? The second question, at the level of organizational
integrity: What kind of organizational community should I as a manager or employee
strive to build and maintain? . . .
Why is the Christian (or another religious) tradition so important in overcoming
the divided life? . . .The Christian social tradition promotes integrity by
clarifying the goals or ends to which human beings are called to aspire, and
the ways of living toward those ends that follow the Gospel. . . . This tradition
persistently asks the questions, "What is the end and purpose of my work?"
and "How does this end influence how I work?" It examines how we focus
our work toward a unified end or purpose for our whole lives.
Helen J. Alford and Michael J. Naughton, Managing as if
Faith Mattered, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, IN, 2001,
pp. 7-8, 19
Lord God, with utmost confidence in your power to transform each of us,
we come to you seeking wholeness in ourselves and in our institution. Help us,
as individuals and as an institution, to become what you have called us to be.
Strengthen us with moral courage that we not waver in doing what is right and
just and consistent with a people called to your ministry of healing. We ask
this in your name. Amen.
Ron Hamel, PhD
Senior Director, Ethics
Catholic Health Association
Copyright © 2004 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.