Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Meanings of Suffering and A Holy Death

+Father Kenneth Baker, S.J., reminds us that Ash Wednesday is reality check even for the rich and powerful in Dust thou art.

+Pope Benedict XVI encourages us to reflect on the meaning of suffering.

+Father Antoninus Wall, O.P., asks - and answers - thirteen questions about terminal illness.

+Bishop John Steinbock of Fresno died, age 73, of lung cancer. He wrote on the blessings of cancer.

+Monsignor Ronald Knox tells us a holy death does not mean that we should not fear death. Or what was our Lord doing in Gethsemani?

+A journalist asked Mother Teresa of Calcultta, "Are you afraid to die?" Here is what she said to him.

+ Before leaving Portugal, Pope Benedict asked the suffering and dying to help save the world.

+Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California, explains with simple and honest wisdom why sick and dying pilgrims to Lourdes who are not physically healed, are not disappointed.

+ After he contemplated and knelt before the Shroud of Turin, the Holy Father told his listeners that in the hour of our extreme solitude and even in our death, we will we will never be alone.

+ Pope Benedict XVI says that Christ our Lord wants us in Heaven with Him.

+ Yvonne taught her friends and family how to let others serve her in Christ-like love.

+ J. R. R. Tolkien, who wrote The Lord of the Rings, according to scholar Ralph C. Wood, said that modern people commit the heresy of "mortalism" - the belief that life is an end in itself. Tolkien wrote his masterpiece to help us see otherwise.

+Cardinal Angelo Comastri stares down suffering, pain, and death. We do not fly from nothingness to nothingness. God is in the pain.

+A must-read for understanding redemptive suffering, or
offering it up.

+Monsignor Charles Pope preaches a funeral homily and confronts his listeners - and us:
You are going to die. Are you ready to meet God?

+Frank Weathers quotes Blaise Pascal's beautiful - and long - sentence about holy dying from a letter to his sister,

+Pope John Paul II
on Purgatory.

+Bishop Wenskie speaks words of hope, promise, and eternal life in
Death and Hospice.

+ Dawn Eden at Headlinebistro.com comments on the first guide for dying well since
since St. Alphonsus Liguori’s Preparation for Death.

+ In 1957, Jacques Fesch died under the guillotine for the crime of murder. In prison, he underwent a profound conversion. He tells of a
little door through which we all must, and may, pass strengthened by God's grace.

+ Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household, tells how our suffering and dying become freedom, united with Christ
in the praetorium.

+ Monsignor Charles Pope on
the ‘beauty’ of dying.

+ Archbishop Vincent Nichols in England rejects the notion of a "right to death" as in the case of the conductor and wife who recently committed the mortal sin of
"joint suicide."

+ Awesome Marian chivalry in action. His last words were
I forgive you.

+ Even the very young can live, suffer, and die in the beauty of the Lord. Like

+ A pharmacist who sees meaning and purpose in human suffering asks,
Could our persistent search for the utopian, hardship-free world, be blinding us to the great value of suffering?

+ A prayer written by Ruth, a mother of eight who died of cancer, for asking your Guardian Angel to
go to Mass for you when you can't.

+ Pope Benedict says that Heaven begins on earth, now. And if we say "Yes" like Mary,
"in the same measure of this our 'yes,' this mysterious interchange will also happen for us and in us: We will be assumed into the dignity of the One who has assumed our humanity."

+ St. Francis de Sales
on Purgatory.

+ The curious smile of Elder Joseph. The smile that came after
he died.

+ On indulgences: by
Jimmy Akin, Catholic Answers, and the Vatican.

+ Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk shares his expertise on
The Authentic Transformation of “Useless” Human Suffering.

+ Saint John Vianney on
what souls in Purgatory can do for their benefactors.

+ Far, far from worthless, our suffering is, if offered up,
an apostolate.

+ The incomparable British convert, Monsignor Ronald Knox, on the least appreciated friend of the human race,

+ Amy Welborn ponders the loss of a
friend and her husband.

+ Zenit tells the touching story of
a woman called ‘Anna’ and the Pope. "Like the Virgin and so many other worthy and holy people," continued Anna, "I didn’t want to rebel, but wanted to say: 'Here I am. I'm ready ...'"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What Others Have Said

As a cancer survivor, I wish I'd had Jeff Hendrix's Little Guide to help me through the fear and uncertainty following my initial diagnosis. Like a modern-day Virgil to the reader's Dante, he guides those facing illness so they may keep their eyes and feet turned towards Paradise.
- Dawn Eden, author, The Thrill of the Chaste

Jeff Hendrix is a wise guy--and a wise guide--whose Little Guide for Your Last Days helps us navigate the answers to the Really Big !uestions. Whether your death is imminent or you are living life on the deferred payment plan, sooner or later that Bill of Bills will come due. Hendrix helps you to be ready for that inevitability now.
-Mark P. Shea, author, Mary, Mother of the Son

(Then) there’s A Little Guide to Your Last Days by Jeffry Hendrix. Jeffry, a former evangelical Christian pastor and Catholic convert, was diagnosed with kidney cancer and wrote this book – a quite specific book reflecting his own experience, on how to approach life and death when the prognosis is clear. Of course, the prognosis is clear for all of us, whether we believe it or not, so this is not just a book for those who are terminally ill – for, of course, we are all terminally ill ...

It is very practical – refreshingly so. What to do, what to avoid, an honest acknowledgement of the discomfort your reality will cause for you and for others, the disruption, the tension – but also the opportunities to draw closer and closer to Christ.

I was startled because the central question Jeffry asks happens to be my question, one that I have asked constantly throughout my own life, but with more intensity over the past few months: Why am I still here and what am I supposed to do with the time I still have?

Good question, eh?

Good answers to that good question are offered in this book.

- Amy Welborn, author, Mary and the Christian Life

This little volume punches beyond its size. It's as huge as the question it asks - and as important. It is a memento mori. A reminder of death. It asks us to escape from the four walls of the self to the selfless freedom of the contemplation of the Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Hell, and Heaven. Paradoxically these Last Things are also the First Things. They are the first principles on which our lasting destiny, and our last destination, shall be decided. The first shall be last and the last shall be first ... We are Mortal. We will be Judged. And we will find our final resting place in either the Inferno or in Paradise. It's as simple and as scary as that!

Jeff Hendrix socks it to us like a Bible-thumping preacher, and yet does so with the sagacity of a latter day C.S. Lewis. Reading this little book is like going ten rounds with a pugilistic C.S. Lewis. It will knock you out and wake you up at the same time!
- Joseph Pearce, author, C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church

Jeffry Hendrix's little handbook on dying well is a singularly clear-headed and consoling presentation of a subject we all avoid talking about. Most people in this world are distracted from their last end. In particular, those whose end is very near are often tempted to run to false securities. Hendrix's succeeds in focusing his readers on the things that really matter and does so by promoting what is really true, good and beautiful. He brings them to the heart of Christ through the 'chivalrous Marian virtue' of saying 'yes' to God.
- Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger, Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate, author and speaker

Jeff Hendrix has written a pointed and poignant guide to dying well. Whether you have a terminal disease or not, you're going to face Mr Death. A Little Guide for Your Last Days is a moving, wise and witty way to prepare for the final adventure.
- Fr Dwight Longenecker, author, Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing

Death is not something one gets right on the first try, and most of us put off thinking about it until our negligence is rudely interrupted by an sobering conversation with our physician. Jeff Hendrix has had such conversations, and he has written a wonderfully readable and wise and witty little book about what to do when that happens. Jeff takes death seriously, but his seriousness is suffused with an effervescent faith. A book about death that has a chapter entitled "Don't Swing at Every Pitch" is a book we all need to read."
- Gil Bailie, author, Violence Unveiled - Humanity at the Crossroads