Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Power of Faith

"We must, then, have faith and not be dispirited. We must not be stopped by any kind of human calculation. To overcome the obstacles we have to throw ourselves into the task so that the very effort we make will open up new paths. Personal holiness, giving oneself to God, is the one cure which overcomes any difficulty."

"Let us say again, in word and in action: 'Lord, I trust in you; your ordinary providence, your help each day, is all I need.'  We do not have to beg him to increase our faith, to enlighten our intellect, and strengthen our will.  Jesus always stays by our side and is always himself."  From Saint Josemaria Escriva

Dispatch from the Front

From my perspective, persons view my situation differently this second time following cancer surgery. A steeper, less hopeful spiral. My place less secure, more obviously now in the 'sacred precinct' of facing death. More fascinating perhaps, but less attractive. I know that my case is a microcosm for Everyman - as I espied in A Little Guide for Your Last Days.

What am I aiming toward? Healing? Please. Isn't that just the kind of vapid trail of thought of our age (Modern, post-modern ... what is that all about if not a whiney child sitting in a corner)?

No. I am aiming to avoid a lack of gratitude. Lord, save me from this fate! To fall into such a place of silly attempts to avoid my - our - mortality, is once again to stumble into the mimetic swirl of ontology by comparison; the hall of mirrors others have limned so clearly.

No, Lord. I will remain grateful to You - for every moment, for every person with whom I come in contact. For we are, all of us, beholden to You for our very Being, on loan while we have life and breath.

If any are scandalized by my stance of faith, I regret it. But I believe most fully in the magisterium vouchsafed by the Catholic Church, the revealed knowledge of our covenant-making, covenant-keeping God, Three-in-One, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

So I thank You, Source of my being, for all that I have and all that I am. Thank You for Your inestimable gift of the Church and Your eucharistic grace within Her. Deo gratias. +

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Deo Gratias

First of all, a huge thank you for all of your prayers. I am home and happy to be so. The experience provided a few surprises. Dr. Choti at Johns Hopkins began my surgery nearly three hours later than expected last Wednesday, but all went well.

He routinely removed the gall bladder, what happens with all liver resectioning, no encroachment of CA there. The tumors were all removed. I provided him with a surprise, however. The CA had moved to the diaphragm. This never appeared on any CTscan or MRI, but makes sense of other symptoms; namely, the originating complaint of pain when laughing, running, yawning, etc. This being the case, the CA in the diaphragm was probably there since at least my father's birthday, February of 2009. Dr. Choti asked if I had had pain in my shoulder - a big "YES" - which is a key symptom of problems in the diaphragm. The tumors in the diaphgram, now, are gone.

So, the hidden CA in the diaphragm led us to the early diagnosis of CA in the liver while it was still quite operable AND the removal of the CA in the diaphragm which Choti says he successfully removed. I am breathing easy, the shoulder is not nearly as painful, and except for the usual pain of going through the muscle wall, I am not doing poorly at all.

On the other hand, I cannot do any exercise other than walking, I cannot drive while on Oxycodone pain medicine, and are under orders to "mend" for the next 3 weeks, after which I see Dr. Choti to strategize.

Again, thank you for your kind well wishes and prayers; keep them coming!

A Father’s Day story

The following little story comes from our St John the Baptist Franciscan province newsletter about the brothers Father Ric and Father Aquinas Schneider.

When the Schneiders were growing up in Louisville, Ky., “Our Dad got homing pigeons for us and we used to race them,” Aquinas says.

At one time, Ric says, “We had 70 or 80.” Each summer their parents would plan “mystery trips” for the family. The number of kids who went (there were 11 of them) depended upon the number they could fit in the car. “It was always by turn,” Ric says. “Not everybody got to go.” Dad also took along a couple of pigeons. When he pulled over for the night on the first leg of the trip, “He would put a note [with their location] on the leg band of the pigeon and send it home,” says Aquinas. Ric remembers how eagerly the kids in Louisville waited for news from the road. “We’d be sitting in the back yard, waiting for that bird to come in.” When the pigeon arrived with its note, “We’d get a map and see where Dad had gone that day.” For the kids who couldn’t go, it was a lesson in geography – and a way to make them feel included.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Off I Go - Pt. 2

I can report, gentle reader, that the morning of major surgery to resection my liver is far different than it was two years ago when I was having my left kidney removed. I scanned my usual web and blog sites this morning and felt an enormous gap between my priorities and those heralded by the purveyors of all-things-crucial-to-blog-about.

Of course, this may be influenced on my part having fasted yesterday on a clear-liquid diet and doused my system with magnesium citrate (a quick way to lose 3-4 pounds), and no liquids at all since midnight.

So, for what it is worth - and, in the words of my esteemed mother, "Consider the source" - I will leave you as I journey to Johns Hopkins with the following.

Model Rocketry Meets Dentistry

How cool is this? My Dad only offered to pull out a loose tooth with a pair of pliers. [H/t: Borderline Sociopathic Blog for Boys]

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pax et Bonum

"Hello, beastie."

As I have alluded, my "beastie" with which I had a spot of bother two years ago has returned, now in my liver. A renowned surgeon at Johns Hopkins will endeavor to resection my liver on Wednesday, two days from now, God willing. And then, after that ordeal, I will begin a regimen of general chemotherapy.

I am grateful for the renewed number of prayers, petitions, intentions, and good thoughts folk have offered up for me. I am reminded that I would not be published had this "terrible beastie" not entered my life in the first place, and I received the gift of the awareness of my mortality in a way that was longed-for in the high days of Christendom.

So, posting may occur if it strikes my fancy. But I will endeavor to keep you abreast of matters on the other side of Wednesday in any case. Pax et bonum. +

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hell is the Other Team

And now for something completely different, the classic Monty Python bow to the World Cup:

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

ZENIT - Fr. Barron

For the record: ZENIT interview Father Robert Barron, whose Word on Fire videos we often feature here at the 4M's here.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Ordination of Reverend Jason Stone June 5, 2010

Ann and I were honored to have been invited to the ordination of 5 young men into the priesthood yesterday. 
There was a great outpouring of love, prayers and respect from families, friends and parishioners at The Cathedral of Saint Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet, IL for these young men.  We are friends with fellow SFO member Mary Stone who is Father Jason's mother.  Father Jason Stone has been assigned to the parish at the Cathedral serving with Father Brad Baker.  Please hold these newly ordained priest in your prayers.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The waybread that fills us


The reading for today’s Solemnity of Corpus Christi reminds us of what the renowned English author, J.R.R. Tolkien, expressed in his celebrated The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In this fiction, hobbits Frodo and Sam were given the task of destroying the powerful but evil One Ring. They had to go through the barren paths of Middle Earth in order to reach the place where the One Ring was forged and where it could only be destroyed—Mount Doom in Mordor. The Elvin queen Galadriel gave them lembas bread for the long journey. Tolkien explains that "this waybread of the elves had a potency that increased as the travelers relied on it alone and did not mingle it with other foods... It fed the will, and it gave strength... beyond the measure of mortal kind." Tolkien, being a devout Catholic, has partly intimated in his fiction what the Eucharist is for us, Catholics.

Tolkien’s lembas comes to mind when we hear what today’s liturgy provides us in the sequence before the Gospel proclamation: "Lo! The angel’s food is given to the pilgrim who has striven." Similar to Tolkien’s bread, the Eucharist is food for us, pilgrims journeying in the barrenness of this life towards the superabundance of eternal life.

From Fr. David O. Reyes, Jr.

Friday, June 04, 2010

A Parable of Hearing a Mother's Voice

From the Daily Mail : [ht: CMR]

Gurgling in a mix of wonder and joy, this is the incredible moment a child hears his mother's voice for the first time. Eight-month-old Jonathan was born deaf and had cochlear implants put into his ears so he could hear.

There's got to be a parable here about conversion, about waking after death, about joy in the morning and heart's ease. Enjoy...

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Bocelli's Little Story

Andrea Bocelli tells a little story about a mother who chose to give her baby life: