Just before we leave the house to run our daily errands my 4-year-old daughter Nyelli finds her sparkly handbag. She fills it with anything in close proximity: a handful of crayons, vanilla lip-gloss, and a spray of dried Gingko Biloba leaves we found on our walk that morning.
She plops her feet into pink cowgirl boots. Right foot on left, left foot on right. I don’t have the heart to tell her of her mistake. I quietly savor the tender image of tiny feet walking with toes out.
Dressed in sparkles, she leaps out the door, “Let’s do this day!”
We arrive at the Cancer Center. Nyelli takes a mint from the basket at the front desk and sneaks another into her purse when she thinks I’m not looking.
She informs Sandy, the receptionist, that she will be starting school soon. Sandy smiles and offers Nyelli a mint “for the road”. She thrusts the third into her purse next to the crayons and Gingko leaves.
We proceed back to the “Infusion room” where my husband Roddy is receiving his Chemotherapy treatment.
Nyelli knows the rules, past the colorful carpet we have to be on our best behavior. But she sneaks in a few somersaults before we get there. Her pink tutu flops up to her shoulder as she rolls and rolls and rolls down the hall. I know I should correct her, but all the nurses smile… so I don’t.
As we come to the entrance, Nyelli’s demeanor changes. Walking with her hands at her side she speaks in low tones and minds her manners.
She is regal. I feel proud to be her mother.
The infusion room is filled with patients receiving Chemotherapy. Some are wrapped in blankets, some having lunch while others rest with pained looks on their faces.
Nyelli smiles at people who smile at her.
When she finds Roddy, she climbs up next to him in his chair. She asks him about the medicine and strokes his tired face.
It was no place for a child. I know this. A Nurse once criticized me for bringing her to the treatment center, but I knew he was going to be sick, lose his hair, and be down. I wanted her to a have a frame of reference with which to relate his condition, so I brought her with me to visit…it was a choice I made. I stand by it.
As well as she handled Cancer; I know she has been affected by it.
The presence of her imaginary friend named Puss in Boots seemed to have become more and more prevalent while Roddy was sick. Puss came with us everywhere and had his own car seat next to hers.
She informed me that he was a songwriter in San Diego and wrote a song called “Rock and Roll down the Stream”.
(She plays the Tuba in his band.)
She told me that if she had boots like Puss, people would say that she was a “very fine lady to see.”
(Where does she get this beautiful stuff?)
The only time Nyelli cried was when Roddy came home from work without hair. It had happened suddenly and caught us all off guard.
She had never seen him without a beard and I suppose he just didn’t look like Dad anymore.
When he sat on the couch to be with her, she turned her head and wouldn’t look at him. She went in the other room and felt scared and cried.
I went in and got her. I took her back to Roddy.
I remember him swallowing back his own tears as he reassured Ny that it was just hair and that it would grow back soon. She lay in his arms until she was sure that he was the same Daddy. She patted his shoulder and they lay like that until dinnertime.
The Vocation of motherhood has been a blessing to me. It has given me something to protect…a constant to attend to during these tempestuous times.
But, there is only so much pain that we can absorb on behalf of the ones we love. In our family we leave the rest up to prayer and Gods goodness.
I am grateful for the abundant graces that have preserved my daughters innocence during this very difficult time.
I marvel at the little girl she has become and regardless of the boots I say that she is already a “very fine lady to see!”
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, through the personal encounter with our Redeemer and through fasting, almsgiving and prayer, the journey of conversion towards Easter leads us to rediscover our Baptism…”
Pope Benedict XVI Lenten Message — You Were Buried with Him in Baptism, in Which You Were Also Raised with Him
1. This very life was already bestowed upon us on the day of our Baptism, when we “become sharers in Christ’s death and Resurrection”, and there began for us “the joyful and exulting adventure of his disciples” (Homily on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, 10 January, 2010). In his Letters, St. Paul repeatedly insists on the singular communion with the Son of God that this washing brings about. The fact that, in most cases, Baptism is received in infancy highlights how it is a gift of God: no one earns eternal life through their own efforts. The mercy of God, which cancels sin and, at the same time, allows us to experience in our lives “the mind of Christ Jesus” (Phil 2: 5), is given to men and women freely. The Apostle to the Gentiles, in the Letter to the Philippians, expresses the meaning of the transformation that takes place through participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, pointing to its goal: that “I may come to know him and the power of his resurrection, and partake of his sufferings by being molded to the pattern of his death, striving towards the goal of resurrection from the dead” (Phil 3: 10-11). Hence, Baptism is not a rite from the past, but the encounter with Christ, which informs the entire existence of the baptized, imparting divine life and calling for sincere conversion; initiated and supported by Grace, it permits the baptized to reach the adult stature of Christ.
A particular connection binds Baptism to Lent as the favorable time to experience this saving Grace. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council exhorted all of the Church’s Pastors to make greater use “of the baptismal features proper to the Lenten liturgy” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum concilium, n. 109). In fact, the Church has always associated the Easter Vigil with the celebration of Baptism: this Sacrament realizes the great mystery in which man dies to sin, is made a sharer in the new life of the Risen Christ and receives the same Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead (cf. Rm 8: 11). This free gift must always be rekindled in each one of us, and Lent offers us a path like that of the catechumenate, which, for the Christians of the early Church, just as for catechumens today, is an irreplaceable school of faith and Christian life. Truly, they live their Baptism as an act that shapes their entire existence.
2. In order to undertake more seriously our journey towards Easter and prepare ourselves to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord – the most joyous and solemn feast of the entire liturgical year – what could be more appropriate than allowing ourselves to be guided by the Word of God? For this reason, the Church, in the Gospel texts of the Sundays of Lent, leads us to a particularly intense encounter with the Lord, calling us to retrace the steps of Christian initiation: for catechumens, in preparation for receiving the Sacrament of rebirth; for the baptized, in light of the new and decisive steps to be taken in the sequela Christi and a fuller giving of oneself to him.
The First Sunday of the Lenten journey reveals our condition as human beings here on earth. The victorious battle against temptation, the starting point of Jesus’ mission, is an invitation to become aware of our own fragility in order to accept the Grace that frees from sin and infuses new strength in Christ – the way, the truth and the life (cf. Ordo Initiationis Christianae Adultorum, n. 25). It is a powerful reminder that Christian faith implies, following the example of Jesus and in union with him, a battle “against the ruling forces who are masters of the darkness in this world” (Eph 6: 12), in which the devil is at work and never tires – even today – of tempting whoever wishes to draw close to the Lord: Christ emerges victorious to open also our hearts to hope and guide us in overcoming the seductions of evil.
The Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord puts before our eyes the glory of Christ, which anticipates the resurrection and announces the divinization of man. The Christian community becomes aware that Jesus leads it, like the Apostles Peter, James and John “up a high mountain by themselves” (Mt 17: 1), to receive once again in Christ, as sons and daughters in the Son, the gift of the Grace of God: “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favor. Listen to him” (Mt 17: 5). It is the invitation to take a distance from the noisiness of everyday life in order to immerse oneself in God’s presence. He desires to hand down to us, each day, a Word that penetrates the depths of our spirit, where we discern good from evil (cf. Heb 4:12), reinforcing our will to follow the Lord.
The question that Jesus puts to the Samaritan woman: “Give me a drink” (Jn 4: 7), is presented to us in the liturgy of the third Sunday; it expresses the passion of God for every man and woman, and wishes to awaken in our hearts the desire for the gift of “a spring of water within, welling up for eternal life” (Jn 4: 14): this is the gift of the Holy Spirit, who transforms Christians into “true worshipers,” capable of praying to the Father “in spirit and truth” (Jn 4: 23). Only this water can extinguish our thirst for goodness, truth and beauty! Only this water, given to us by the Son, can irrigate the deserts of our restless and unsatisfied soul, until it “finds rest in God”, as per the famous words of St. Augustine.
The Sunday of the man born blind presents Christ as the light of the world. The Gospel confronts each one of us with the question: “Do you believe in the Son of man?” “Lord, I believe!” (Jn 9: 35. 38), the man born blind joyfully exclaims, giving voice to all believers. The miracle of this healing is a sign that Christ wants not only to give us sight, but also open our interior vision, so that our faith may become ever deeper and we may recognize him as our only Savior. He illuminates all that is dark in life and leads men and women to live as “children of the light”.
On the fifth Sunday, when the resurrection of Lazarus is proclaimed, we are faced with the ultimate mystery of our existence: “I am the resurrection and the life… Do you believe this?” (Jn 11: 25-26). For the Christian community, it is the moment to place with sincerity – together with Martha – all of our hopes in Jesus of Nazareth: “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world” (Jn 11: 27). Communion with Christ in this life prepares us to overcome the barrier of death, so that we may live eternally with him. Faith in the resurrection of the dead and hope in eternal life open our eyes to the ultimate meaning of our existence: God created men and women for resurrection and life, and this truth gives an authentic and definitive meaning to human history, to the personal and social lives of men and women, to culture, politics and the economy. Without the light of faith, the entire universe finishes shut within a tomb devoid of any future, any hope.
The Lenten journey finds its fulfillment in the Paschal Triduum, especially in the Great Vigil of the Holy Night: renewing our baptismal promises, we reaffirm that Christ is the Lord of our life, that life which God bestowed upon us when we were reborn of “water and Holy Spirit”, and we profess again our firm commitment to respond to the action of the Grace in order to be his disciples.
3. By immersing ourselves into the death and resurrection of Christ through the Sacrament of Baptism, we are moved to free our hearts every day from the burden of material things, from a self-centered relationship with the “world” that impoverishes us and prevents us from being available and open to God and our neighbor. In Christ, God revealed himself as Love (cf. 1Jn 4: 7-10). The Cross of Christ, the “word of the Cross”, manifests God’s saving power (cf. 1Cor 1: 18), that is given to raise men and women anew and bring them salvation: it is love in its most extreme form (cf. Encyclical Deus caritas est, n. 12). Through the traditional practices of fasting, almsgiving and prayer, which are an expression of our commitment to conversion, Lent teaches us how to live the love of Christ in an ever more radical way.Fasting, which can have various motivations, takes on a profoundly religious significance for the Christian: by rendering our table poorer, we learn to overcome selfishness in order to live in the logic of gift and love; by bearing some form of deprivation – and not just what is in excess – we learn to look away from our “ego”, to discover Someone close to us and to recognize God in the face of so many brothers and sisters. For Christians, fasting, far from being depressing, opens us ever more to God and to the needs of others, thus allowing love of God to become also love of our neighbor (cf. Mk 12: 31).
In our journey, we are often faced with the temptation of accumulating and love of money that undermine God’s primacy in our lives. The greed of possession leads to violence, exploitation and death; for this, the Church, especially during the Lenten period, reminds us to practice almsgiving – which is the capacity to share. The idolatry of goods, on the other hand, not only causes us to drift away from others, but divests man, making him unhappy, deceiving him, deluding him without fulfilling its promises, since it puts materialistic goods in the place of God, the only source of life. How can we understand God’s paternal goodness, if our heart is full of egoism and our own projects, deceiving us that our future is guaranteed? The temptation is to think, just like the rich man in the parable: “My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come…”. We are all aware of the Lord’s judgment: “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul…” (Lk 12: 19-20). The practice of almsgiving is a reminder of God’s primacy and turns our attention towards others, so that we may rediscover how good our Father is, and receive his mercy.
During the entire Lenten period, the Church offers us God’s Word with particular abundance. By meditating and internalizing the Word in order to live it every day, we learn a precious and irreplaceable form of prayer; by attentively listening to God, who continues to speak to our hearts, we nourish the itinerary of faith initiated on the day of our Baptism. Prayer also allows us to gain a new concept of time: without the perspective of eternity and transcendence, in fact, time simply directs our steps towards a horizon without a future. Instead, when we pray, we find time for God, to understand that his “words will not pass away” (cf. Mk 13: 31), to enter into that intimate communion with Him “that no one shall take from you” (Jn 16: 22), opening us to the hope that does not disappoint, eternal life.
In synthesis, the Lenten journey, in which we are invited to contemplate the Mystery of the Cross, is meant to reproduce within us “the pattern of his death” (Ph 3: 10), so as to effect a deep conversion in our lives; that we may be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit, like St. Paul on the road to Damascus; that we may firmly orient our existence according to the will of God; that we may be freed of our egoism, overcoming the instinct to dominate others and opening us to the love of Christ. The Lenten period is a favorable time to recognize our weakness and to accept, through a sincere inventory of our life, the renewing Grace of the Sacrament of Penance, and walk resolutely towards Christ.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, through the personal encounter with our Redeemer and through fasting, almsgiving and prayer, the journey of conversion towards Easter leads us to rediscover our Baptism. This Lent, let us renew our acceptance of the Grace that God bestowed upon us at that moment, so that it may illuminate and guide all of our actions. What the Sacrament signifies and realizes, we are called to experience every day by following Christ in an ever more generous and authentic manner. In this our itinerary, let us entrust ourselves to the Virgin Mary, who generated the Word of God in faith and in the flesh, so that we may immerse ourselves – just as she did – in the death and resurrection of her Son Jesus, and possess eternal life.
“Do this and the delay of mercy will be prolonged, allowing a greater multitude to lift their eyes to the Lamb, and be saved…”
EDITOR NOTE:There will be nothing written, spoken, or viewed over the internet this day that compares in importance to this timely and much needed message…
Forty Hours: An Appeal
Unrest and Rumours of War
At the risk of sounding alarmist and apocalyptic, I am compelled to make this appeal. The distressing events in Egypt are but one manifestation of a tension that seems to be growing all over the globe. Many souls have a presentiment of impending horrors: civil unrest, attacks upon the Church, violence, spiritual darkness, natural disasters, and wars spinning out of control.
Our Lord Waits to Show Us Mercy
In the face of such threats, Bishops and Priest charged with the care of souls need to enthrone the Most Blessed Sacrament, open wide the doors of their cathedrals and parish churches, and summon the faithful to adore and make humble supplication in the radiance of Our Lord’s Eucharistic Face. Do this, and the faithful will come. Do this, and the impending tribulations will be mitigated. Do this and the delay of mercy will be prolonged, allowing a greater multitude to lift their eyes to the Lamb, and be saved.
Before the Throne of the Eucharistic King
Are not these few weeks before Lent the most suitable time to organize the Sacred Forty Hours Devotion in cathedrals and churches everywhere? To delay under the pretexts that it is too difficult to plan, or that the faithful will not come, or that it will raise issues of security is to shut one’s ears and eyes to the signs of the times. Invite the faithful to kneel before the throne of the Eucharistic King; His Heart will be touched, and He will show His mercy and His power to the world.
‘This list looks at ten of the toughest saints to have walked the earth – men and women who not only lived holy lives, but kicked some serious butt at the same time…’
We all think of Saints as quiet and holy people – but history is full of some pretty amazing and curious people who came to be canonized. This list looks at ten of the toughest saints to have walked the earth – men and women who not only lived holy lives, but kicked some serious butt at the same time. For those of you who don’t know the specifics of what sainthood is, here is a brief summary before we start on the list. A saint is a person who li … Read More
For the past week I’ve been observing internet speculation and calumnies directed at Fr. Thomas Euteneuer over his mysterious departure from Human Life International. Below is Fr. Euteneuer’s personal statement entitled:
Statement of Fr. Thomas Euteneuer: setting the record straight
Note from Editor: When asked if Fr. Thomas Euteneuer had permission to release a statement, the diocese of Palm Beach informed LifeSiteNews that the diocese was aware that Fr. Euteneuer may release publicly a statement regarding the circumstances of his departure from ministry. Bishop Gerald Barbarito believes it best given the present circumstances that Fr. Tom Euteneuer should himself disclose the details of his case. The bishop said he is very happy to hear that Fr. Euteneuer is expressing contrition in this statement.
The following is the complete text of Fr. Euteneuer’s statement. The above title was provided with the statement:
January 31, 2011
It is with great sadness, but also with a certain measure of relief, that I can now respond to the many inquiries about my departure as president of Human Life International (HLI) at the end of August 2010. It has been painful for me to remain silent in light of the ongoing speculation, particularly when much of it assigned blame to those who were, in fact, blameless. I am thankful to be able to set the record straight so that speculation can stop and blame can be placed right where it belongs – with me.
The circumstances that led to my departure from HLI were related exclusively to my own decisions and conduct within the ministry of exorcism that I carried out independently from my responsibilities at HLI. The vast majority of my decisions and conduct, both personally and in this ministry, were morally sound and consistent with all standards of pastoral care of persons. Moreover, they were all motivated exclusively by my desire to give priestly assistance to people in great spiritual distress. I must acknowledge, however, that one particularly complex situation clouded my judgment and led me to imprudent decisions with harmful consequences, the worst of which was violating the boundaries of chastity with an adult female who was under my spiritual care.
I take full responsibility for my own poor judgment, my weakness and my sinful conduct that resulted from it. I offer no excuse for my professional or moral failures, nor do I shift the blame to anyone else. I state without reserve that I am deeply sorry for my actions. I have personally apologized, where possible, to anyone I have harmed. I am saddened beyond words for my fall, not only because of the harm done to my priesthood and my family, but also because of the harm done to all others who are affected, to the faith of those who placed so much trust in me and our Church, and to the pro-life movement so populated with heroic, faithful people. I must face and make amends for the disappointment I have caused. I have, of course, asked for God’s forgiveness and I have confidence in his boundless mercy. I am now grateful to be able to publicly ask for all of yours as well.
As to my departure from HLI, Church officials are completely without blame, having dealt in a timely and appropriate manner with a crisis that was not of their making. I offer this statement as a matter of justice to vindicate Church officials who have been unjustly criticized by those writing and speaking in ignorance of the facts.
While I would much prefer to allow this public act of contrition to stand alone, I regret having to address the malicious falsehoods that were published this past week on various internet sites. I can only say that I am shocked to the depths of my being at the malicious efforts by supposedly faithful Catholics to destroy a priest who has served the Church faithfully for 22 years. The campaigners have made intolerable attempts to contact my family, to defame innocent co-workers and even to solicit and to persuade others with whom I have prayed that they are victims despite their unequivocal statements to the contrary. Some have even claimed falsely and maliciously that there is a possessed person living in my family’s home. No one should have to endure such malevolence or such treatment of innocent family members. Despite the rhetoric of justice and truth-seeking, the sinful campaign has not made one single positive contribution to the resolution of this difficult situation that has already been handled appropriately by Church authorities for nearly six months.
While I would otherwise willingly suffer calumnies in silence to atone for my sins, and knowing how pointless it is to respond to every crackpot with a website, I cannot remain silent when such falsehoods threaten to damage the Church, the priesthood, and other innocent persons and organizations that are or have been linked to me. I therefore affirm and will never deviate from my affirmation that the following are true:
My violations of chastity were limited to one person only, an adult woman;
The violations of chastity happened due to human weakness but did not involve the sexual act;
The accusation that I “targeted” vulnerable women or otherwise sought them out for spiritual direction is utterly false and a serious defamation of my character and ministry;
With rare exceptions, my exorcism/prayer ministry was always conducted with prayer helpers (third parties) present; situations where prayer or pastoral care occurred without helpers present were exceptional situations where I believed it was necessary for me to act quickly in order to help the afflicted person; while not proper protocol, these departures from the norm were never done with a motive to be alone with vulnerable women;
I repudiate any allegations of financial impropriety in conducting my prayer/exorcism ministry; I never, under any circumstances, solicited money for the ministry other than travel-related reimbursements, nor did I use HLI donor funds to carry out this work; any gifts offered to me were unsolicited and only accepted so as not to offend the giver and in most cases immediately given to those more needy than myself;
I have no knowledge of any persons who received any financial settlement in this matter, nor have I asked for that to be given.
I pray that my two decades of faithful priestly ministry and my efforts in the defense of life will be seen in the light of the good fruits they have produced and not denigrated because of my moments of weakness in a most challenging ministry. I also wish to state that I have never entertained even the slightest thought of leaving the holy priesthood or the Roman Catholic Church as a result of my failings. Currently I am under obedience to my bishop who has allowed me to make this statement and in whose hands I leave all questions of continuing priestly ministry. I conclude with an expression of deepest gratitude for the prayers of the many generous supporters of my priesthood and of the prolife movement.
Date: Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011
Place: Meet at Jo. Co. Courthouse 6th and B Sts
Time: 1pm March to begin at 1:30 pm to Riverside Park Rally,
…Refreshments at the Park. Music provided by the Emmons Sisters
(If you can’t walk, please join us at the park at 2:15 PM.)
Renew your commitment to help those who have no voice — the 4000 innocent babies who are killed each day in America by abortion!
Please invite your family, friends and church members to join us as we prayerfully witness and affirm the value of all of God’s children. Your witness and prayers will help save mothers and babies from the horror of abortion and provide comfort to those who regret their abortions or who have been involved in abortion.
We regard this as an extension of our regular worship on the Lord’s Day.
I’m sure many of you have heard of the “complete list of things caused by global warming” Dr. John Brignell, a retired professor of industrial instrumentation at the University of Southampton in Britain, compiled an impressive list of alarmist claims cited in news reports that man-made global warming has caused, or will cause. There’s 826 things on that list, some are even contradictory. Now, to put a visual face on this list, we have a video. Wh … Read More or watch the video…