What’s a good age to die?

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LukefahrColumnhead

“Why I Hope to Die at 75.” That’s the title of an article written by Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel for the October, 2014, issue of The Atlantic magazine. It has generated a great deal of commentary in the media and on the Internet, especially because Dr. Emanuel has been involved in government policy-making with regard to health care.

Dr. Emanuel does not favor causing death. He states in the article, “Since the 1990s, I have actively opposed legalizing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.” He’s not talking about deliberately ending his life or anyone else’s. Instead, he writes: “I am talking about how long I want to live and the kind and amount of health care I will consent to after 75. Americans seem to be obsessed with exercising, doing mental puzzles, consuming various juice and protein concoctions, sticking to strict diets, and popping vitamins and supplements, all in a valiant effort to cheat death and prolong life as long as possible. This has become so pervasive that it now defines a cultural type: what I call the “American immortal.” For him, “75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop.” Read more

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Unbaptised saints

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FULLY-GROWN SAINTS—As found in passages 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 21:3-5, Fr. Oscar Lukefahr, CM, tells readers that miscarried children are not infants in heaven, but fully-grown saints. (Stock)
FULLY-GROWN SAINTS—As found in passages 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 21:3-5, Fr. Oscar Lukefahr, CM, tells readers that miscarried children are not infants in heaven, but fully-grown saints. (Stock)

We will celebrate All Saints Day on Nov. 1, and All Souls Day on Nov. 2. I hope this column will help us observe those days with renewed hope and enthusiasm.

Our most important relationship is with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and God grants us other relationships that make our lives happier and more meaningful. Jesus gives us his Mother Mary to be our Mother. He joins us more closely to family members, friends, Church, and world. He unites us to angels and saints in heaven, not just those officially canonized, but all who have died in the Lord, including relatives and friends. Read more

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A giant among us: G.K. Chesterton, part 2

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LukefahrColumnhead

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” These words were spoken by a man who, after years of study and searching, found the Christian ideal expressed and lived in the Catholic Church. This man was G.K. Chesterton. I wrote about him in last month’s column. He was a giant, especially for his time: at six-feet, four-inches tall, Chesterton tipped the scales at 300 pounds. He was a giant in his literary output, writing over 100 books, 4,000 essays, and countless other works. Read more

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A giant among us: G.K. Chesterton

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LukefahrColumnhead

“Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls, but they are the walls of a playground.” —G.K. Chesterton

The words above by Gilbert Keith (G.K.) Chesterton say much about Catholicism and about Chesterton himself. Born in London on May 29, 1874, he is one of the real giants of English literature, in both physical size and in literary output. G.K., as he liked to be called, was six-feet, four-inches tall, and weighed almost 300 pounds. He saw life as a playground, and was loved by all who knew him for his approach to life, sense of humor, and readiness to laugh at himself. Read more

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America: God shed His grace on thee

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LukefahrColumnhead

I recently spoke to a young lady who asked why bishops would deny Holy Communion to politicians who publicly support abortion. I replied that such bishops were following directives from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Read more

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Our heavenly connections

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LukefahrColumnhead

Kacey was a senior in St. Vincent de Paul Catholic High School in Perryville, MO. She belonged to the National Honor Society and academically, ranked near the top of her class. She was active in the Spanish and Drama Clubs at school and in 4-H as well as a team member of the Luke 18 Youth Retreat Movement.

Kacey was also battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For two years, like many young people with this kind of cancer, she had her ups and downs, seeming remissions and subsequent setbacks. As her 18th birthday drew near, she said that all she wanted was to watch Harry Potter movies with her classmates. Read more

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What does it mean to turn the other cheek?

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GuyPraying
LukefahrColumnhead

A recent issue of Reader’s Digest recorded a humorous message from an apartment-dweller expressing dismay at noise coming from her upstairs neighbors. She left a note under their door that read: “Hi. Just thought you might like to know that I think your pet elephants have been bowling while you are out. Your downstairs neighbor.”

This came to mind when I was considering a question from a student in our Catholic Home Study Service program. “What did Jesus mean by his comments in the Sermon on the Mount about offering no resistance to evil?” Read more

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No one has greater love than this

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Crucified
LukefahrColumnhead

I recently read a book on Christ’s passion and death, The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Forensic Inquiry, by Frederick Zugibe, MD. Dr. Zugibe used his experience as a medical examiner and forensic pathologist to determine the extent of Christ’s passion and the nature of his death. I was discussing the book with a friend, emphasizing the incredible sufferings Jesus endured. My friend’s response was, “Well, other people have suffered a lot more.” Read more

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Lent, ashes, & heaven

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LukefahrColumnhead

“Is it true that we came from dust and go back to dust when we die?” Tim asked his mother after the Ash Wednesday liturgy. “That’s right,” she replied. “Well, Mommy,” said Tim, “After I said my prayers last night, I looked under the bed and I saw somebody who is either coming or going.”

On Ash Wednesday, the priest uses ashes and makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of each worshiper as he says, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return.” This might sound morbid, but the cross we receive is Christ’s, one who died on Calvary but who did not return to dust. He rose from the grave. While we came from dust and our bodies will return to dust, in Christ we are given the promise of eternal life. Read more

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How can we discover and do God’s will?

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LukefahrColumnhead
WomanAtBeach

Last month I discussed how God’s will and our free choices shape the world. Pope John Paul II wrote that we need the Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge to understand the “mysterious interweavings of secondary causes with the First Cause in the turn of events.” We also need the Holy Spirit’s help to discover and do God’s will. When we seek God’s will, we follow a long tradition of great believers. Read more

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