Inside story of a death bed convert

8 11 2019

One of the sweet things about being a priest is being able to minister at a person’s deathbed.

The veil between this world and the next is very thin at that point, and you can see so much. When I say you can “see” so much what I mean is that so much is revealed. At that point the person who is dying is usually very vulnerable and open. Their worldly facade is fading. Their accomplishments and pride are forgotten. They realize that all the stuff of this world will soon be left behind.

Often the person is quietly sleeping. The family is gathered around and there is no response as the last rites are given. On the other hand, sometimes the process is very conscious. More than once I’ve been called to visit a man or woman who has called the parish office specifically because they know they are dying and they want to see a Catholic priest.

So I once made my way to a small apartment in a not so good part of town. I was admitted to find a man in his sixties with a haggard expression gasping for air. Call him Ralph.

“Are you a Catholic priest?”

“I am.”

“It’s about time. I’ve been calling all around town for the last three weeks trying to get hold of a Catholic priest.”

“I’m sorry. It looks like you’re pretty sick.”

“Yep. I’m dying. Doctor says only a few more weeks. They can’t do anything for me.”

“What’s the problem?”

“Lung cancer. It’s my own damned fault. I couldn’t give up smoking,”

“Uh huh. Why haven’t you seen a priest up til now?”

“I was in the hospice and when I asked they sent some old guy around wearing a blue shirt. That made me suspicious so I asked him and he said he was a Methodist. I told him to get lost. I want a Catholic priest. So off he went and a few days later I asked again and they sent some woman around wearing one of those shirts priests are supposed to wear. I knew she wasn’t a Catholic priest, so I told her to get out and go find me a Catholic priest.”

“Why didn’t you send for your parish priest? What church do you go to?”

He laughs, then starts coughing. Coughing really bad. I think he’s going to cough his lungs up—what’s left of them. Finally he stops laughing-coughing and says, “Hell, Father I haven’t been to church for fifty years.”

“Then why start now?”

“Because the nuns told me when a Catholic is dying you’re supposed to call the priest. Right?”

“Right.”

“And I’m a Catholic and I’m dying so I called a priest. What next?”

“Well, are you prepared to make your confession and receive the sacrament of healing?”

“Is that the same as last rites?”

“Yes. Do you want to make your confession?”

“That might take a long time….” starts laughing-coughing again.

“I’ve got as much time as it takes.”

So I began to hear his sad old confession of a wasted life and tragic losses. There were tears on his side first, then on mine. I gave him absolution and promised to bring him communion the next day, and that communion was one of the sweetest things I can remember. He was like a little child. He had faith. In fact he had nothing but faith.

Then after communion and a blessing he lit up a cigarette. “You shouldn’t smoke.” I said. “Those things are going to kill you.”

He thought that was hilarious.

A week later his carer called and I went to see Ralph again. This time he was in bed in a darkened room. There were no family members there. He’d screwed his friends, alienated his kids and divorced his wife. He was alone.

I sat by his bedside. “Ralph, who is with you right now?”

“Nobody Father. Nobody, and it’s my fault. I admit it.”

I took out my rosary. “Do you remember this?”

“Sure. The nuns taught me to say the rosary.”

“That’s who is with you now, Mother Mary.” I give him the rosary. “You’re going to die soon, but I want you to hold on to this rosary as you go. She and your guardian angel will see you across the river. Are you good with that?”

He whispers, “Sure I’m good with that.”

Do you want me to say the prayers for passing?

He nods. I pray. He goes to sleep, and a few days later at his funeral his people are surprised to see a Catholic priest show up. Nobody knew Ralph was a Catholic.

When I told them how Ralph died there was total silence and reverence, and in some strange way Ralph, who was a pretty lousy Catholic in life, bore a radiant witness to Christ the King in his death

This article originally appeared on Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s blog

Visit his website, browse his books, and be in touch at dwightlongenecker.com.





12yo girl soon to be made a saint

29 10 2019

On October 24, 1941, in a Brazilian village, a boy hid in the bushes in hopes of catching a 12 yro girl called Benigna off guard when she was fetching water. He was hoping to rape her, but she valiantly fought off his attempts and prevented him from forcing himself upon her.

This refusal added fuel to his rage and the boy took out a machete and started attaching Benigna. He made several blows, the last one killing her instantly. The boy fled, but her body was soon found. He was eventually arrested and spent most of his life in prison. In 1991 he was released and returned to the site of the murder, sincerely repentant of what he had done.

Benigna’s heroic example became an inspiration for the local people and in 2011 her cause for canonization was open. On October 2, 2019, Pope Francis authorized her “martyrdom,” paving the way for her beatification in Brazil.

She will join the ranks of Maria Goretti as a “martyr for purity,” highlighting the beautiful gift of sexuality and how it is to be preserved and used in the right way according to the plan God has created for it.





Incredible story of a man who gave his kidney to save another

20 10 2019

At the twilight of life, our actions will speak who we are. Nothing speaks louder than the acts done to save the life of another. Here is the story of man, Justin, who promptly chose to give one of his kidneys to a man whom his wife told him needed one. The story began when Nicole, his wife returned from work and told him that one of her customers at the star buck office was in need of a kidney or he might die. “I will give him mine, ” replied Justin to the amazement of his wife who initially thought he was kidding. But Justin met the man and one thing led to another, tge became friends and within a few months, made the arrangements and donated one kidney to him. You can read the full article here>https://t.co/YmqmoXwrbJ

Watch the video here





Woman got uber driver fired for refusing to drive her to abortion clinic

30 04 2019


A 20-year-old college student in upstate New York reported an Uber driver for refusing to take her to get an abortion. According to the women’s account, which was reported on by Yahoo! Style (UK), the ride-sharing company canned the pro-lifer.

But now the woman is looking to take legal against the driver.

“I’m in college in upstate NY and I don’t have a car on campus because it’s expensive,” she wrote in a message posted to Reddit earlier this month.

“I’m 20 years old and I found out I was pregnant and subsequently decided I wanted an abortion because I’m in no position to care for a child,” the woman said.

She found a clinic about an hour from her university, because the nearby Planned Parenthood had a schedule that didn’t work for her. “Because I don’t have a car, I rely on Uber and [L]yft to get me places,” she said.

The student then recounted her interaction with the Uber driver, who attempted to dissuade the woman from choosing abortion before telling her he could not drive her to the clinic.

“My appointment was at 11:30am so at 9:58am my Uber arrived and he immediately seemed uncomfortable. After about five minutes in the car, he asked, ‘are we going to a planned parenthood?’ I said no (because we weren’t), but it set off alarm bells that he would even ask that,” she recounted. “The destination I put in was just the name of the doctor and the address of the clinic, there was nothing that would suggest it was an abortion clinic. After a few more minutes he asked, ‘are we going to an abortion clinic?’”

“I was shocked,” the student continued. “I had no idea what to say, so I just remained quiet. He then said ‘I know it’s none of my business, but…’ and proceeded to mention something about his wife being pregnant, how awful the procedure was (and proceeded to explain it in graphic detail), and that ‘there is so much they don’t tell you’. He then said ‘you’re going to regret this decision for the rest of your life’ and that I was making a mistake.”

At about halfway to the clinic, the woman said, the driver “suddenly pulls over with no warning.”

“He said ‘I’m sorry, but I can’t take you the rest of the way. I can take you back to [my city], but you won’t be able to find another Uber out here,’” the post read.

The woman said she finally got ahold of her boyfriend, who advised her to call the clinic and inform them she’d be late. (What a great guy.)

“I got out of the car and immediately started crying,” the student wrote. “I called my parents each three times but they didn’t pick up. Then I called my boyfriend and he picked up right away. He managed to calm me down and told me to let the clinic know what was happening and to call some local cab companies.”

The driver then “hung around for about 10-15 minutes and asked once more if I wanted to go back with him,” she said, but noted that she “declined.”

“After he left, a cab came and I got to my appointment (an hour late),” the post read.

The driver, who otherwise had good reviews from patrons, was fired after the woman filed a report against him.

“I reported the driver to Uber and the next day I filed a police report with my city’s police department. Someone on Uber’s team got in touch with me after I told them about the police report and called me to get a detailed account of what happened,” she said. “I told them everything on a call that was recorded, and the rep mentioned that it appeared the driver had taken a less direct route to get me to my destination prior to dropping me off.”

“Within a few days they reached out again and told me the driver had been banned from Uber,” the woman added.

But the driver being fired was not enough: “However, I’d like to pursue further legal action against the driver if at all possible. Do I have a case? What should my next steps be?” she asked via Reddit.

“I reached out to a law firm and a few legal aid societies but nothing has happened. I’m not sure what I should do now,” the woman said.

By AMANDA PRESTIGIACOMO





Actress Nicole Kidman returns to Christianity, Mocked

26 04 2019

“A lot of my friends tease me,” said Kidman, who came back to her Catholic faith prior to marrying country singer Keith Urban in 2006. The couple settled in Nashville, Tennessee, where they have lived ever since.

Kidman said that regular Mass attendance is an important part of their family life.

“That’s how we are raising our children. Keith has his own beliefs but he comes, too,” the Big Little Lies star said. “I had a very Catholic grandmother, and I was raised praying, so that had massive impact.”

“I wouldn’t say it’s absolutism, there’s constant questioning — I’m a willful, feisty girl. For me it’s very important that I don’t have judgment. My dad would always say, ‘Tolerance is the most important thing,’” Kidman said.

Leading up to her marriage to Urban, Kidman spent time studying theology at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, as part of “a return to her Catholic roots,” it was reported.

“Catholicism guides me. I certainly have a strong belief. I try to go to church regularly, and I try to go to confession,” she said at the time.

Last fall, Ms. Kidman told Allure that she had considered becoming a nun when she was young, a life she felt attracted to.

“I’m spiritual in the sense that I absolutely believe in God,” she said. “I loved the idea of being a nun. Obviously, I did not choose to go that path, but I was very drawn to it.”

The Oscar-winning actress wandered from her childhood faith for several years, dabbling in Scientology and Buddhism while she was married to actor Tom Cruise and later returning to the Catholic faith.

“For Nicole, you know this is a spiritual homecoming, coming back to the church and her faith in her old parish,” said Father Paul Coleman in 2006, an Australian priest and a longtime friend of the Kidman family who helped the actress obtain the annulment of her marriage with Tom Cruise.

The 51-year-old star has two grown-up children with Cruise, as well as two younger daughters — Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret — with husband Keith Urban.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter

http://www.breitbart.com





Forgive but Never Forget: 25yrs After Rwandan genocide

9 04 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

crowd of Rwandan at 25 yrs of genocide

 

Forgive and forget is an old saying but not in Rwanda as it marks 25 years after the genocide that killed close to a million people. The people are convinced that peace will continue only if they never forget.

 

“We are family once again, but never again will this happen”, said Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president on April 7 during the lighting of the commemoration lamp that will burn the whole of 100 days, the time it took to end the genocide that began on April 7, 1994.

On 6 April 1994, a plane carrying then-President Juvenal Habyarimana – a Hutu – was shot down, killing all on board. The government blamed the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), a Tutsi led guerrilla fighters in the north. The next day a well-organized campaign of slaughter began. Youth militias (Interahamwes) were given hit lists of Tutsi victims. Many were killed with machetes in acts of appalling brutality. They set up road blocks to find Tutsis, incited hatred via radio broadcasts and carried out house to house searches. The killing lasted a 100 days ending when the RPF, led by Kagame and backed by Uganda, marched on Kigali. Some two million Hutus fled, mainly to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Unlike the sowers of hatred who orchestrated the genocide and ethnic division, Kagame has fostered unity and common brotherhood of all Rwanda.

Today, the country has recovered economically, with President Kagame’s policies encouraging rapid growth and technological advancement. Growth remains good – 7.2% in 2018 according to the African Development Bank.

“The arms of our people, intertwined, constitute the pillars of our nation,” Kagame said. “We hold each other up. Our bodies and minds bear amputations and scars, but none of us is alone. He added: “The fighting spirit is alive in us. What happened here will never happen again…”

From the constant bloodletting of Boko Harm in Northern Nigeria to the threats of vicious Somali gunmen in Kenya. African sees a lot of blood and horror. The African leaders present at the ceremony are hopefully here to learn how to stop the constant bloodshed, hatred and injustice in their own countries by building bridges that create spirit of brotherhood like Kagame has done in Rwanda.

 

True peace comes from Forgiveness

Immaculee Ilibagiza

The 1994 genocide destroyed the illusion that African fault line wars are triggered by lack of religious homogeneity. With an estimated population 5.6 million, 80 percent of Rwandans are Christians, mainly Catholics, yet they ditched the truths of the Catholic faith taught to them as children to heed the screech of murder and rape.

Immaculée Ilibagiza, a woman who survived the genocide hiding in a pastors toilet for 90 days with seven other women but lost her entire family with the exception of one brother who was outside the country, in her New York Times best-selling Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, she talked about her struggles with hatred and desire revenge against those trying to kill her, and her initial inability to forgive. Then one day like one who had since been looking at a tapestry from behind seeing only a meaningless jumble of treads, she was finally given through prayers to see it upfront, and marvel at its beauty . She tells the story like this:

One night we heard screaming not far from the house and then a baby crying. The killers must have slain the mother and left her infant to die in the road. The child wailed all night; by morning, its cries were feeble and sporadic, and by nightfall, it was silent. I heard dogs snarling nearby and shivered as I thought about how that baby’s life had ended. I prayed for God to receive the child’s innocent soul, and then asked Him, How can I forgive people who would do such a thing to an infant?

I heard God’s answer as clearly as if we had been  sitting in the same room chatting: You are all my children . . . and the baby is with Me now.

In God’s eyes, the killers were part of His family, deserving of love and forgiveness. I knew that I couldn’t ask God to love me if I were unwilling to love His children. At that moment, I prayed for the killers, for their sins to be forgiven and for the first time since I entered the bathroom, I slept in peace”.

immaculee in toilet where she lived for 90 days with 7 other women

Immaculee in toilet where she lived for 90 days with 7 other women when she returned to Rwanda after the war

True, bad indoctrination can contribute to evil actions, but every evil act is still an individual act. Those who choose evil exercise personal freedom and thus are responsible for their acts.  It is heartening to note that many  Hutus chose to die rather than kill. They were true Hutus because they chose freedom rather than slavery of evil and their action are an indictment of those who took up the machetes to kill.

One can be trapped in the most horrendous and inhuman prison and yet be free, by accepting God’s will and by loving sacrifice, thinking of all the souls on earth Immaculée found her deepest relationship with God, learning to love all mankind, especially to pray and forgive her enemies.

She reached the peak of  forgiveness when she decided to visit Felicien, the man who killed her mother, and personally forgive him. After she had told him so, she asked him: “How can you have done this? Killing so many people, you can’t be at peace.” In rags, he seemed small and confused. “”I wanted to reach out to him,” she said. “I cried, and then he himself started to cry.”

The official in charge of the jail, a Tutsi who was a survivor like Immaculée  who was initially angry at her for forgiving the man latter came to her and said, “You don’t know what you did to me, when you went to the jail and forgave Felicien.  I was shocked but I learnt the necessity for forgiveness.”

Just like a tennis ball striking a soft pillow decelerates and loses its power to rebound, violence stops when it hits a forgiving heart. This is a lesson that Rwandans and millions of African victims of violence should take to heart and never forget.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

 





Epiphany means “manifestation”

6 01 2019

Epiphany means “manifestation”. Today the Church celebrates our Lord’s manifestation to the whole world. He had already made himself known to the shepherds. Now he shows himself to the Magi, the first Gentiles to know him. The Epiphany is a proclamation of God’s will to save all mankind. Although the newborn Child is the Messiah promised to the Israelites, his redeeming mission extends to all people. He is the new Adam who, appearing in human flesh, has renewed us in the new light of his immortality.

The adoration of the Magi foreshadows the future coming of millions of souls of every race and tongue, called by God to adore Christ. Such is the full meaning of Isaiah’s prophecy: Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Isaiah addresses the holy city, which is a figure of the Church, the new Jerusalem, the light of all nations. Kings and peoples will come from all over the world, drawn by the brightness of its glory. The Church, as Mother and Teacher of every nation, welcomes them and presents them as a precious gift to Christ, her Spouse.

We know that all this began, says St Leo the Great, when a star led three Wise Men from a far country to come to know and adore the King of heaven and earth. The Magi’s obedience is held up to us as a model, so that we may also respond to the best of our abilities to this grace that draws all men to Christ.

Whoever lives a pious and chaste life in the Church, whoever savours the things that are above and not those of the earth, resembles, in some way, that heavenly light. By preserving in himself the splendour of a holy life, he shines like a star and shows many people the way leading to God.

Fortified by this zeal, dearly beloved, help one another to shine like the children of light in the Kingdom of God, which is to be reached through sincere faith and good works.








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