You Are Set Free

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.

Peaceful Repose

All Saints

A day of communion with all those in Heaven (the triumphant) as we (the militant) join in a common prayer of thanksgiving and supplication.

I went to visit Michael today. It’s been five years since I buried him. Actually, yes, buried him for peaceful repose. The cemetery staff was taken aback but it’s hard to push away a cleric in full vestments. But I promised I would take care of him. Maybe a bit more detail is in order.

Mike was an RCIA candidate in my classes in 2012. Mike suffered terribly in his life. Suffice to say he could never bind to a woman and had a hard time making friends with men. After the Easter Vigil I saw Mike on and off for a few years. Mike came back to me last year to tell me he has lung cancer. I tracked with him through his treatments, the ups and downs of Chemo and radiation. But finally the inevitable longer and longer hospital stays. In his last such hospital stay now hospice I would see him nearly daily and helped him through the stages of his bodily shutdown and narrowing of life’s horizon.

Sensing his terror and in a sudden burst one day, I asked him if he would like to be buried with me and we can rise and meet Christ together in the second coming. On July 14th, 2015 we buried Mike’s cremated remains at Our Lady Queen of Peace. The situation with Mike was framed in honest dialog, open medical discussion and more focused on his dignity as a man and person. At the end of his life, he finally knew God loved him enough to bury him with a friend. We’ll take care of him until the trumpet blast.

The empty spot to the right… is mine.

Michael’s AA Sponsor, John Neering, later told me when Michael could never say to me although looking back he tried and hinted but I was not able to hear it. During one of the drinking and drugging episodes with men of similar condition, they raped him, horribly, violently. Male rape is reported less often than female rape which also is underreported.

Mike was abandoned as a baby. He never knew his mother nor his father. He never married. He never had children. By the grace of God he did come to know brothers and friends.

Osner was Mike’s roommate. He is of another tradition but he loved to hear me pray with Mike and asked for the same. So we did that. Also, since I know songs and prayers of his tradition I used those often. He was so peaceful when he died. He always ended our prayers with ‘Jesus knows, Jesus knows’. We even prayed for his brother and his difficulties. What grace! He died a few days before Mike.

Osner, be pleased, in times of difficulty I borrow your inspiration. Jesus knows, Jesus knows.

All Souls

A day of prayer for all who have died, that by the mercy of God they may come to see the Beatific Vision (the suffering). We do not know their state of grace at the end of life but we trust in the mercy of God and in our intercessions for them as Jesus prayed, Abraham interceded and Moses pleaded.

The Unborn
The Unclaimed
A snapshot in time

LIFE

In this season of Man the problem of abortion is a dividing line. But as often is the case the actual fault line is not the one of politics but of juridical frames and pastoral care.

Women don’t seek abortions as a religious or anti-religious act.

Abortion is a horrible act of self-contradiction paradoxically to attain relief of a seemingly unbearable quandary. Jesus doesn’t condemn them. He weeps with them and for them and for their children. It is serious matter. It is intrinsically evil (disordered). It is often not mortal sin.

In regards suicide, the Church has taught except for ritualistic suicide, most suicide is a tragic error to attain relief of a seemingly unbearable quandary. Jesus doesn’t condemn them. He weeps with them and for them and for their families. It is serious matter. It is intrinsically evil (disordered). It is often not mortal sin.

In regards capital punishment, the Church teaches it is no longer even allowed in special circumstances. The openness to conversion is of a higher moral purpose than punishment.

The American obsession on abortion has become a classic example of objectifying women and fetuses. The humanity of these individual tragedies has been lost in the politics.

I have sat beside many a woman in their eighties slowly preparing for their final end. For many they want to talk about abortion. They told me again and again. It is a right but hopefully in abstraction only. The horror… the horror… every time their voices trail off… a story which they can never tell me.

Just like Michael.

May these Days of Remembrance bring you solace. We do pray. We pray for those who have died, triumphant and suffering, and for those who live a miserable life in this life. We remember. We’ll care for you.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

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