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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Going Gentle Into That Good Night

I must apologize to this reader for the delay in responding to this question. I thought we should get a start on the week before we tackle the tough stuff.

Dear Sister,
I need to pray for my mother. She suffers from Alzheimer's to the extent that she is completely unresponsive to any stimuli.

She always told us that she would never want to be a 'vegetable', and put a no heroic measures in her will- but she has been kept alive for 2 years in this state and the Dr s say that she may well live on for another 5 or more...

Can I pray for her release? I fear that she is trapped, alone, in a totally unresponsive husk of a body. Is there a Saint who would help?

And thank you for your wonderful blog.

Of course you can pray for her release, and yours.  But take heart.

Perhaps, because of her suffering here and now, she will zoom straight to Heaven, bypassing Purgatory altogether.  I often thought about that when my own father declined with the glacial slowness that chipped away at his fatherhood, his manhood and his humanity. Surely, this counts for something!

Your job, in the meantime, is to make sure that her human dignity and the honor due her as your mother is maintained to the utmost.  I'm sure that is exactly what you are doing, in every way, with all of your heart.

And also take heart that although she is indeed trapped in that husk of a body, she may also be visiting happy and loving moments from her life, or communing with angels.  And if she isn't, she soon will be, because although it all seems like endless suffering eternity now, in the great scheme of things, even 5 years is a very short time.

In regards to a patron saint....there are quite a few saints who were paralyzed, desperately ill, unable to speak, "trapped" as you put it.  They did not pray for release, but accepted their suffering with joy. That's why they are saints.

But it's perfectly okay for you to pray for your mother to have a gentle passing as soon as possible. That would be good old St. Joseph, the patron saint of a happy death. We believe that Mary and Jesus were with St. Joseph when he died. What could be happier than that?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the valuable answer to this request. You remind us all to remember God's love and mercy for us. As you said about Blessed Marianne Cope, "she found joy where there had only been sorrow."
Saint Brother Andre of St. Joeseph's Oratory said "Go To St. Joeseph".
I will send up prayers for both of them.

The Cagles said...

great thoughts about purgatory- something I have often thought myself. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Love to hear your take on this author http://thelesliecrossdomain.com who seems to have an interesting view on the universe. The book series (The Nature of Reality) deals with a new cosmology that includes God in the universe but defines “Universe” as the original word means, everything that exists. Does see God as outside of what he created, so not a naturalist nor a pantheist, so quite an interesting take on things.
He or she (they don’t specify) does believe the christian God and Bible, but rejects God being outside of time, and so on as misunderstandings from the Greeks, claims the Judeo-Christian view ought to be the opposite, God inside the dimensions, that they are not created things.
My head hurts thinking about this, but it seems to make sense.
What do you think about Leslie Cross?
Thanks for your blog! Fred

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,

Have your seen "that" YouTube video everyone is talking about? The one called Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus- I've seen it posted all over the internet, discussed on the national news and more! As a youth leader at my church I know many young people confused over this video. It has a few points, and many many wrong ones. Things like this make me so upset. I sometimes feel like all the small things I do in my life to show God and His love to the world are washed away in all this anti-religion-anti-God-anti-Catholicism media. I know that God is our side and with Him we'll in this religious war, but sometimes I just want to scream it's not fair! Does anyone else feel like this? All I can do if pray that God will work on the hearts of these actively going against God and his Church

elfin said...

Sister Mary Martha,
I could use a all-purpose patron saint.
I have recently returned to school to obtain my college education and earn my degree in nursing.
My difficulties started the first day. English, the one subject that I thought I would do well in, in going right straight down the toilet. Our teacher wants us to work exclusively with the computer and the internet. Nothing could have frightened me more, except the fires of Hell, of course. I am all but computer illiterate, having confidence only in the simplest of tasks.
I already have a 60 in English. My teacher said I didn't save my paper in rich text format. Huh?
When I ask her show me something on the computer, she becomes visibly agitated and states that I must learn to use the computer, or I simply won't succeed in college.
Now, due to heightened anxiety, the narrative thesis statement, outline, and bulleted list looms large before me. The assignment was assigned Friday, are due Monday. This Monday. Help!

Anonymous said...

Sister, I have just watched Fr. Robert Barron's Catholicsm DVD's. I found it very informative and of course the photography was amazing.
I was wondering if you or any of your followers have seen it and what you/they think?