“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

AN IDEA: CHRISTIAN TV SERIES TO COUNTER NEXT ASSAULT ON LIFE

Earlier in my life numerous people tried to lure me to central Canada and away from my little French town in the hinterland of western Canada. Perhaps the most tempting that I remember was being offered a job to host a national TV series the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) was planning in 1990. The series was about issues surrounding disabilities and showcasing the lives of Canadians with physical and mental challenges.


The CBC flew me to Ottawa to meet with a senior official at an elegant restaurant who presented me with the idea. There was only one catch: I would have to uproot my family and move to Toronto or Ottawa (I can't remember which city) and leave our small town life. It was an extraordinary opportunity to be sure -- one of the best I was ever offered during my short career. I must admit that I was tempted. 


But the timing was wrong: My children were young and settled; to uproot them would have been too disruptive to their lives. Besides, we had extended family near who needed us. I looked out the restaurant window while the executive producer for the series sat across the table waiting for my response to her offer to host the show. That still small voice inside me said, "Let it pass." Reluctantly I turned down the opportunity.

Dreams of grandeur becoming reality were not mine to have. God planned something else for me: Quiet contemplation in the midst of physical struggle rather than a television show. To the world, God's plan might have seemed laughable compared to the lights and glamour of television. 

Looking back now, as an old man, God wanted to teach me something critically important that can only be learned in quietude: The art of true love (both human and divine). God wanted me to stay put and wait on Him. Sometimes people see clearest looking through the blur of tears.

Just over a year later my disability forced me to retire and live on a
modest disability pension. My disease kept ravaging my body and forcing my type A personality into stillness and contemplation. Days, months and years were spent convalescing while looking out my kitchen window as seasons passed. Successive generations of blue jays flew to my backyard’s maple trees. My hair turned white. Grandchildren were born. That still small voice whispered, “Be open to love for in love you will find God.” I discovered it is true. The meaning of my life did not come in a thunder-clap of glory rather in a breeze and ordinary rhythms of life. 

I am reminded of a conversation in a 1985 television production Anne of Green Gables where Anne says, “I went looking for my ideals outside myself and discovered it’s not what the world holds you, it’s what you bring to it. The dreams that are dearest to my heart are right here. I don’t want sun bursts and marble halls. I just want you.”

The meaning of my life was to be found in front of television cameras, rather in the love of God and family. I have been as effective alone pecking away on a computer keyboard about Life and disability issues, as in any television studio in central Canada. 


This blog has developed a large following with  425,000 page views to date. Thousands of people visit the HumanLifeMatters blog each month and its beginning to attract attention.

Recently a documentary film maker flew out from Toronto to interview me at my Alberta home about assisted suicide. As you may know, Canada is about to embark into a bold and brutal world of state sanctioned assisted suicide of the sick, disabled and depressed. As the TV lights were being set up in my living room and sound levels checked, an old fantasy bubbled up in my little grey cells. 

I have often thought of revisiting the earlier idea CBC presented to me of hosting a series of television programs profiling individuals and families living with disabilities or chronic diseases. The series would be different from the CBC idea in that it would have a Christian orientation. It would delve into topics such as:

- People's realities with disability, chronic illness and exploring solutions to support life with dignity and purpose for individuals and their families; 
- the state of disability housing, education, transportation access and equal access to medical care in various jurisdictions;
explore advances in palliative medicine and the folly of introducing euthanasia into end of life care;
- bioethics behind futile care and withdrawal of treatment policies within various hospitals, or organ transplantation as it relates to equal access for people with disabilities;
- the coming tsunami of dementia among an aging population and public and community policies to support families in this situation;
- Profiles of various Christian hospice facilities and explore specialized care such as perinatal hospice; 
- Profiles of people who have been confronted with adult onset disabilities, how they adapted to their new realities, and were changed by their situations. If they did not adapt, what prevented them?;
- termination of pregnancies involving disabled children (90 percent of pregnancies involving a Downs baby end in abortion) and ways to support parents prior to and after making their decisions;
- Christian approaches to mental illnesses and care for the mentally ill and reclaiming a Christian moral consensus about the value of all human life.

Each topic would be cast against a backdrop of the true and fullest meaning of universal human rights, and the sanctity of human life within a context of the Common Good that seeks to help every individual reach their full potential. 

The television/new media series would attempt to counter and contrast the constant barrage of life denying secular media that promote unfettered personal autonomy and a right to death for oneself or others. This series would have a life affirming perspective that seeks to educate, understand and embrace full inclusion of people with disabilities or incurable illnesses, and their families, as indispensable members of our communities.



Perhaps the response to state sanctioned killing of the sick, disabled and old people within a dark culture of death should be told by an old man who has been incurably ill and disabled for half of his life (me). After all, assisted suicide and euthanasia targets the sick, disabled and old. I'm all three![1] I found purpose and meaning despite (or because) of suffering and adversity. Maybe it is time. The light of faith in Jesus Christ has guided me through personal and cultural darkness that did not prevail against me.

If I could only find a production house or television network prepared to take on the series and someone to finance it. I would revisit an idea that's been percolating in my little grey cells for 25 years.

Mark
_________________________
[1] I have a background in the media. I am a widely published writer. I graduated from Radio and Television Arts from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in 1975. I wrote, produced and narrated the 2001 euthanasia documentary "To be, or Not To Be -- the Human Family" aired and distributed by EWTN.

Monday, December 21, 2015

LOVE CAN TRANSCEND TRAGEDY AND GRIEF

LaRee gives a keynote
speech for the U.S.
National Right to Life
Prayer Breakfast 2010
I am re-posting material that appeared on this blog nearly six years ago. Since that time a number of friends and acquaintances have endured serious or terminal illnesses. And so I will re-post that previous post. In 2010 my wife LaRee gave a rare speech about her journey as a loved-one of someone with a degenerative and incurable disease. It was rare because she's terrified of public speaking, yet she gave a keynote address to a sold-out audience of 800 people at the U.S. National Right to Life Prayer Breakfast, in Baltimore. She spoke honestly from her heart. At times her voice quivered from fear and emotion but it was her humble offering to God and those present at the Prayer Breakfast. 

You could have heard a pin drop during her address. When she finished, the audience responded with a prolonged standing ovation. Many in the audience had disabled children, ailing spouses or parents. LaRee was swamped by people from all across the U.S.. She listened, consoled and prayed with people as they shared their pain with her. LaRee's tender and broken heart communicated easily with their broken hearts.  

Here again is some of the content of LaRee's keynote address.


 _______________

There is a special torment experienced by those who watch a loved-one suffer. To see disease rack their bodies, and souls, increases the sum total of suffering ... because I suffer too. I believe it is harder to watch degenerative disability torture and break my loved-one, than to actually suffer the disease. I watched my grandparents suffer infirmities associated with extreme age, such as blindness, Parkinson’s disease and cancer. I walked my mother through heart disease and dementia until her death in late 2013, at the age of 81 years.
                                                                                                         
Mark lives with the real symptoms of aggressive, degenerative
multiple sclerosis, which have limits. I am left to witness it all, ― and imagine. Imagination has no limits. I believe it is easier to be than to watch. Despite countless trials, love has prevailed. But love is like the two sides of a precious coin.

The two sides of love are this: It is life’s greatest ecstasy but also the cause of life’s greatest agonies and anguish. The 19th Century writer, Victor Hugo said, “To love or to have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life. To love is a consummation.”    -- And so it is.

Yet as a wife, mother and grandmother, I want more, and I ask further. I want to protect those I love from pain, emotional hurts, disappointments, and even life as it ends—but I cannot.

  So often I sat at the bedside of suffering loved-ones and prayed, “God, give me their pain” – as though there is some quota of suffering to be filled which I can bargain over with God. There is not.

When Mark and I married, he was so healthy and active. For the first eleven years of marriage he was a super-achiever not only in his career but with family life.

After being diagnosed with MS his career stalled and he was often too sick to participate in family activities he had previously led. Our children were 7 and 5 when Mark was diagnosed with MS. They had difficulty understanding why their Dad could not play and be active like he used to.

At the time that Mark was diagnosed with MS, I didn’t even know what the disease was. I had no idea of the impact it would have on our future. And so I began to research the medical literature and even visited a few auxiliary hospitals to see if I could pick out the people with MS. I noticed the canes, the crutches, the wheelchairs and scooters, the van contraptions and curb cuts. Multiple sclerosis meant disability! I looked into the faces of loved-ones of patients with MS and wondered if I could face the heart-break and hurt.

My initial reaction was anger. It was irrational but my immediate
response was anger. How could Mark do this to me? How dare he get sick! He was supposed to be the strong one. I was the weak one. “Damn you!” I thought. If one of us was to get sick, it should be me. I could cope better with a disease if I was the sick one.

I wanted to correct the fate God allowed by trying to convince Him he made a mistake. I was sad, and bitter but most of all ... I was afraid and angry with Mark and God.

Mark’s MS started changing him. I began to gauge the distance between benches in shopping malls in case he needed to sit with exhaustion. I started fearing places with crowds. He might get impatient and I would see a look of frustration on his face.

Then one afternoon I looked on in horror as my husband began crawling up the stairs in our bi-level house so he could use the toilet. I realized our life had changed and I had to make some decisions.  The first decision I had to make was whether I was prepared to stay in our marriage.


Don’t think I was not tempted. I was. Self-interest and my own internal poverty told me that divorce was easier. I could start over like many other women after divorce. I knew I could get help from other family members. They would understand. Even people at my work asked why I was staying with Mark because it was easier to walk away that to stay.

But abandonment is not love. It is a betrayal of love, solemn vows, and that which makes people fully human and civilized.

For me to walk away from Mark or agree to his suicide would have been a profound abandonment of him. It would also have been a profound abandonment of my own humanity and what matters most to me: My family and love.

I decided to stay in my marriage and trust that God would see us through to a sacred place of grace and understanding. After 43 years of marriage (32 living with Mark’s MS) I think I have discovered something about love.

Human interdependence, based upon love (both human and divine), is capable of helping us transcend beyond difficult or tragic circumstances and opens new understanding of what it means to be human and part of the human family. I am now convinced a truly civilized society has no place for euthanasia or assisted suicide. It is more inviting that that. People with disabilities or incurable illnesses are, in reality, indispensable to our communities – their lives are full of potential and meaning. Value them, include and protect them.


Friday, December 18, 2015

EUTHANIZING CANADA

2016 will see the beginning of a new dark chapter for Canada.
Canada's high court with low decisions
Killing off the sick and disabled will receive official government sanction. As you may know, in a UNANIMOUS decision Canada's Supreme Court struck down the nation's laws against assisted suicide and gave the federal government a year to put in place parameters for physician imposed death within a new legal framework. 


What parameters?! It's going to be wide open season on the sick, disabled and depressed. In the high court's low decision they declared laws against assisted suicide to be "void insofar as they prohibit physician-assisted death for a competent adult person who (1) clearly consents to the termination of life; and (2) has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition. "Irremediable" it should be added, does not require the patient to undertake treatments that are unacceptable to the individual."

Translation: It's wide open euthanasia and assisted suicide beginning in 2016. Guidelines will be a ruse, mere formalities to give an air of respectability to murder. 


Documentary filmmaker
Kevin Dunn and me
Recently I was interviewed by the documentary filmmaker Kevin Dunn as we await Canada's Brave New World to come into its full and hideous bloom. What did I say? I said that by definition civilized, and enlightened societies never endorse or support killing its citizens -- especially those you have despaired of life and are vulnerable to suicide. 

Civilized people certainly don't help the suicidal kill themselves. Autonomy is a myth. If I choose suicide it doesn't affect me alone. It will affect my wife, children and grandchildren. It will affect my physician because I will ask her to stop being my healer and become my killer. And in a small way it will impact my nation by helping to further entrench the notion there is such a thing as a life unworthy to be lived. No matter how sick I become I still have a responsible to others, the Common Good and posterity.

You can't have unfettered autonomy and interdependent community too. They are diametrically opposite ideas. You can't have both. You must choose which it shall be.  

Canada post-2016 will not only kill its sick and disabled, it may well kill the collective conscience of a nation and gut its soul.   

For interviews or bookings to speak contact me at HumanLifeMatters@shaw.ca

Monday, December 14, 2015

"UNLESS TRUTH BE A MOCKERY AND JUSTICE A HOLLOW LIE"

On January 22nd 2016, good people from across America will gather in Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life. It is a solemn annual observance of 58 million unborn human lives deliberately killed by abortion under the infamous 1973 Roe v Wade Supreme Court legalizing abortion throughout America. The holocaust of posterity continues unabated year after year.

If past such gathering are any indication, hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans will descend on the national Capitol with a united and abiding hope for an enlightened future where every life will be cherished, cared for and protected. America's pro-life people are some of the finest citizens in the nation! 



Yes, they mourn the senseless loss of life by abortion; they decry its continuance for forty-two years. They dare to hope for an end to the wanton slaughter of the youngest members of America's human community. They understand and still hold to the self-evident truth articulated in their foundational and towering Declaration, "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Real liberty and happiness are never won by oppression or killing the weakest in society. Never confuse licence with liberty.

And so hundreds of thousands of  America's best citizens will
go to Washington to demand that the abortion holocaust end. They hope and demand a better future of human equality even though their voices may fall on deaf ears of the President and Democrats in the U.S. Congress. But they are compelled by conscience, decency and faith to speak the truth anyway. They are not the first to do this. People against slavery went before them a few hundred years earlier. 

Abraham Lincoln said:


"We will win more converts each day. We will grown strong by the violence and the injustice of our adversaries and unless truth be a mockery and justice a hollow lie, we will be in the majority."




Truth is not a mockery. Justice is not a hollow lie. The goodness within America's pro-Life citizens knows this. Their commitment to life must not wane, they must tire or despair during these dark times.

The glorious day of a culture of life is still far off. A new cultural storm is gathering on the horizon in the form of euthanasia and assisted suicide acceptance.  People of Life must brace for another battle. Menacing clouds of untruth and injustice threaten all they (and I) hold dear. People of life must stand resolute and strong against a new storm of state sanctioned killing. 

It is precisely because truth is not a mockery and justice not a hollow lie, that God's people must stand against the lies and injustice that swept abortion across the landscape. It is necessary again because soon the lies of unfettered autonomy and twisted notions of choice will swallow up incurably ill, disabled and defeated Americans by euthanasia and assisted suicide; they will sink beneath storm-tossed waves of their circumstances. 

Some truths are are self-evident but so are some lies. To borrow a adaptation of Abraham Lincoln's words, the pro-Life cause will win more converts each day. We will grown strong by the violence and the injustice of our adversaries ..." 

Yes, it is precisely because truth is not a mockery and Justice is not a hollow lie that I believe the sky will one day clear to reveal sunlight uplands of God's Truth. Justice will brightly shine again and the madness of our culture of death will fade away and pass into history like a bad dream. 


Human life in every state and stage will be embraced as indispensable members of the human community. Future generations will look back at this dark time with the same disdain as we look back at slavery. 

I have been asked by the Archdiocese of Washington to speak to the
St, Matthew the Apostle
Cathedral, Washington, DC
Adult Rally and Mass
 at St. Matthew the Apostle Cathedral, just prior to the 2016 March for Life. (It is where President Kennedy's body lay in-state after his 1963 assassination.) I feel sheepish and ashamed to enter the august company of America's great pro-Life citizens.

I will simply go as a man who has an abiding love for America and has endured incurable disease and disability for more than 30 years. I will speak against two assisted suicide bills being entertained by the legislatures in Maryland and District of Columbia. I will speak about men and abortion for I personally know that grief too. I will speak about caring for loved-ones at the end of life because that too is part of my life experience.  

But mostly I want to encourage good and upright American people not to despair in standing for truth and justice that is found in a culture of life. I want to encourage them on in unflagging commitment to end abortion and speak for life with dignity -- even when life is at its end.

I will remind them of the courageous voices of the past who spoke against slavery in America. They are our example. They did not stop until slavery was stopped. Nor should pro-life citizens stop advocating for every life until every life is cared for and protected. It is critically important, because, just as we hear in the clip below, "what it in fact concerns, is the very nature of man."

[See video clip below from the movie 1997 movie Amistad with Sir Anthony Hopkins portraying the historical event of John Quincy Adams addressing the U.S. Supreme Court on slavery.] 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

PLEADING FOR THE LIFE OF A TEXAN SENTENCED TO DEATH

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pT8hOQ2WSU


Chris Dunn
Texas Right to Life is working to save a vulnerable Texan, David Christopher "Chris" Dunn, from being euthanized against his will at Houston Methodist Hospital. Under the state's draconian Texas Advanced Directives Act (TADA) the hospital has arbitrarily decided to withdraw Mr. Dunn's life sustaining treatment. Mr. Dunn wants to live as you can plainly see from the video at the link above.
Texas Governor
Greg Abbott


Below is a letter I have mailed to Texas' Governor Greg Abbott pleading for Mr. Dunn's life.


I ask readers of the HumanLifeMatters blog to send the Governor a twitter message asking that every effort be made to save David Christopher Dunn's life by moving him to another facility where he will be safe and given the therapies and treatments he needs to live to his full potential.  Governor Abbott's twitter address @GregAbbott_TX  Please be respectful.

See below the text of my letter mailed 09 December 2015. I also alerted Governor Abbot by Twitter of this blog post which will give him immediate access to the contents of my correspondence. 
(There must be something he can do as Governor of Texas. The Governor can commute death sentences of murderers on death row. Surely he must be able to commute the death sentence imposed on a helpless man by the terrible Texas Advanced Directives Act!)
__________________________________________________

08 December 2015

The Honorable Greg Abbott
Governor of Texas
P.O. Box 12428
AUSTIN, TEXAS
76711-2428
                
Dear Governor Abbott:

RE: DAVID CHRISTOPHER “CHRIS” DUNN                                                                    

David Christopher Dunn is a patient at Houston Methodist Hospital. He is about to be killed against his wishes, under the Texas Advanced Directives Act (TADA). Mr. Dunn is unable to defend himself against removal of life sustaining treatment.

I plead with you to intervene long enough for Mr. Dunn’s family, and his allies, to find another facility where he will be safe. Please use your authority or influence to ask the courts to give a time extension to Mr. Dunn’s life sustaining treatment and care, or persuade the Houston Methodist Hospital to cooperate until another facility can be found where he will be safe.

Thank you for reading my appeal for David Christopher Dunn. I would like to take this opportunity to wish a Merry Christmas to you and your loved-ones.

Sincerely yours, 

Mark Davis Pickup


CC:      Dr. Marc L. Boon, President and CEO, Houston Methodist Hospital, 6565 Fannin Street, Houston Texas, U.S.A.,77030

Thursday, December 3, 2015

OPPOSE ASSISTED SUICIDE FOR THE SAKE DISABILITY RIGHTS

We are at the end of the 2015 International Day of People with Disabilities. People of good will and those concerned about human rights must resolve to oppose assisted suicide. Why? Because assisted suicide is specifically targeted at people with incurable or chronic illnesses and disabilities. Assisted suicide does not further inclusion, it is the ultimate exclusion. 

Disability rights, dignity, respect of human difference, and the
important quest for non-discrimination will ultimately suffer if assisted suicide is accepted. In the same way suicide prevention is an important mental health tool for healthy and able-bodied suicidal people, the same must apply for disabled suicidal people. 

Christians have a crucial role to play to promote full inclusion that can rise to its highest level under the lordship of Jesus Christ. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

THOUGHTS ABOUT SYRIAN REFUGEES

I write this blog entry on the eve of the American Thanksgiving. The United States of America has so much to be thankful for as families get together and share a wonderful meal in homes across the nation.


America is a nation of immigrants and refugees from elsewhere.[1] An ocean of humanity fleeing poverty or war have gazed with hopeful eyes at the Statue of Liberty and made new lives in America. At the foot of that statue of Lady Liberty you will find these words from Emma Lazarus' poem The New Colossus:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

As I write these words, I am left to ponder the plight of Syrian refugees fleeing their homeland being torn
apart by war. At this very moment there is a flow of people seeking seeking refuge and safety. Syrian refugees have no home. They are desperate. 

As Christians we must treat others as we would want to be treated if we were in their position. I don't need to cite Scriptural references to back this up. We know it is right to welcome displaced Syrian families. I believe you can feel the Holy Spirit prompting you to act and welcome these huddled masses (to use Emma Lazarus' term) just as I am being prompted and convicted to bid them welcome in my community.  

I believe we are called by God to welcome the stranger, the
homeless, those whose lives are threatened. This emergency unfolding before us provides a wonderful opportunity to be Christ's emissaries for love and to present His Gospel and the way of salvation. Jesus told us to take the Gospel to the world -- well, the world is coming to us. 

We must remember, many of our ancestors fled persecution in other lands and came to North America to seek a new life.  Let us afford others the same opportunity -- in this case Syrian refugees -- and feel the warmth of Christ's love through your actions and witness for Him.

Remember, with the exception of First Nations people, we are all from immigrant stock. Many come from Africa, Europe or Britain. (My own family came from England and Ireland.) Their plights were desperate too.


[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPvjhzNytdk for "Thousands are sailing."


_____________________________________
[1] Although I address American readers of this blog (who make up 2/3 of HumanLifeMatters' readership) my thoughts equally apply to my nation of Canada.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

THE GRIEF OF BEING UNLOVED

English writer and broadcaster Claire Rayner (1931-2010) said:
“Only the unloved and unloving escape grief.” That is not entirely true. I will reserve comment about the unloving other than to say if they do not know grief in this world they will certainly know it in the next.

The unloved live in grief of the forsaken or the forgotten. There is nothing more tragic than being unloved. Human beings crave love more deeply and more completely than any other desire. It has, I believe, something to do with bearing the Image of God, because God is love.

People crave love from birth.  In their 2010 book “Born for Love:
Why Empathy is Essential – and Endangered” child psychiatrist Dr.
Bruce D. Perry and science journalist Maia Szalavitz explored the human need for love beginning at birth (I would go even further and assert that every child needs love beginning before birth). Perry and Szalavitz show how the human brain is hardwired for love, empathy, and a deep need to connect with others. Depriving a child of love can have detrimental life-long effects on them and others. 

Indeed, I cannot think of anything more heartbreaking than being unloved, and knowing it. 


The grief of being unloved gnaws at a soul and darkens the landscape of their lonely and monotonous existence. It can drive a person to desperate, destructive behavior. Being unloved (or thinking one is unloved) will cause people to give up on life and can even drive them to suicide.

Although I have known great physical, emotional and spiritual pain associated with neurological disease, I have been spared the horrible agony of being unloved. Love has been the greatest beauty of my life, second only to being forgiven by a merciful God, through Jesus Christ, for a litany of sin. I would rather suffer a thousand stabbing pangs of physical pain than to be unloved. But alas, the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church tell me and you there is no such thing as an unloved person! Do not trust feelings as truth.

You may not know earthly love but you have always been loved by the Author of love: Jesus Christ. We know this because the Bible
and Church tell us so!  Christ has been knocking at the door of your heart waiting for you to open it. He said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him and he with me.” (Revelation 3.19) In His immense and unfathomable love Christ has always been calling you. He wants to enter your life and dine with you. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (2011) says that the reference to a meal may be the Lord’s Supper. The presence of Christ and his love is abundantly evident in the Blessed Sacrament. 

 The Catechism of the Catholic Church says,

“It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present to his Church in this unique way. Since Christ was about to take his departure from his own in his visible form, he wanted to give us his sacramental presence; since he was about to offer himself on the cross to save us, he wanted us to have the memorial of the love which  he loved us ‘to the end.’” (1380.)

The Blessed Sacrament is the Sacrament of love.  
               
Christ’s love for those without earthly love, the dejected and rejected – those who the world may deem to be ‘the least of these’ – is beyond doubt. His love is perfect and bids them to come near.
Jesus said, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. … I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15.9, 12.) His words are true and faithful; his love exceeds any earth-bound love. All people can know complete joy. It comes from abiding in Christ’s love, which is available to all humanity. This is why there is no such thing as an unloved person,  just people who do not know they are loved. But they must be open to divine love for divine love’s sake and on divine love’s terms – the ‘Yes of Jesus Christ’ to use Pope Benedict’s phrase.


On this point where a chronically ill person like me and the
chronically lonely can stand in unity; all sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. We will yet bask in the warm embrace of Love Himself and finally know as we have always been known. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

A NATION GETS THE KIND OF POLITICIANS IT DESERVES

Archbishop Fulton Sheen
“A nation always gets the kind of politicians it deserves.  If a time ever comes when the religious Jews, Protestants and Catholics ever have to suffer under a totalitarian state, which would deny to them the right to worship God according to the light of their conscience, it will be because for years they thought it made no difference what kind of people represented them in Congress, and because they abandoned the spiritual in the realm of the temporal.”  Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

THOUGHTS ON THIS REMEMBRANCE DAY

Today I an remembering my father Howard Pickup. During WW2, 
Howard Pickup
(c.1943)
he served in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (RCAMC). He would be horrified to know what western Civilization has descended to in the 70 years since the end of the war. Despite that generation's monumental sacrifice for the "survival of Christian civilization" (to use Churchill's words), we descended "into the abyss of a New Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science" (again Churchill's words). We have sunk into our own holocaust of abortion, genetic tinkering, and soon assisted suicide on request. God forgive us for squandering the sacrifice and turning liberty into license.


The best way to remember the sacrifice of our father's and grandfathers is through personal and national repentance. Tonight I will pray for our dying western Christian civilization that my father's generation was prepared to lay down their lives to defend.

Rest in peace Dad, rest in peace. You were one who came home. You died 24 years after the war, and I have missed you for 45 years. You loved and were loved. So many others missed out on life itself, but for the short time they were here they too loved and were loved.


[Click below https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBeS_fWEun0 for John Burge, Flanders Field Reflections, Loved and Were Loved, 6:10].


Denzel Washington speaks about gratitude

Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington speaks to Pentecostal convention about gratitude.
Denzel Washington

http://newbostonpost.com/2015/11/09/denzel-washington-preaches-gratitude-to-church-members-at-pentecostal-convention/

Friday, November 6, 2015

SHINE, JESUS SHINE

When you're tempted to despair at the state of our western civilization that seems to have rejected the very Christianity that made it great, remember there are still multitudes who pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ.  Shine, Jesus Shine! 

Click on image below orhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4hXJ9ax2FY 



Sunday, November 1, 2015

GETTIN' INTO BLACK GOSPEL -- HALLELUJAH!

We are expecting our new grandchild from Haiti. I'm so excited!
I've been sitting here watching Black Gospel music on YouTube. When baby gets to Canada and comes to visit Grandma and Grandpa perhaps we'll worship with our Black brothers and sisters in Christ. You'll know me, I'll be the spastic old white guy with the white hair groovin' across the front of the church in a wheelchair with my wee grandchild on my lap. You'll also be able to pick out the rest of the family, they will be ones who are beet-red. 

Hallelujah!

[Click on image below orhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xhrg4YnpXSQ See Mississippi Mass Choir singing "They Got the Word". 7:19]



"YOU ARE MINE"

Having had aggressive multiple sclerosis for more than 30 years there have been many storms in my life. Episodic loss of physical function has involved much anguish. I have been incurably ill and disabled for half of my life. And yet despite the agony, Christ has  been with me throughout my journey. I have learned that tears of sorrow and tears of joy can flow simultaneously. It's a strange and wonderful mystery. 

In March of 1984, on the day I was diagnosed with MS, I remember lying in the hospital, and praying, “God, why this?”  He replied directly (I could swear it was audible): “You are mine.” I thought, What kind of answer is that?

What I think God was telling me at the very outset of this 30 year
journey with chronic degenerative illness was that I am His child through faith in Christ. Not even disease can strip that from me. Nothing slips by God’s attention. All things work for good for those who trust in God. I was being called to simply trust in Him and trust that this was working for my good.[1]

My journey would take me into a terrible fire of disease, but God would abide with me ― like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego I would not be alone. And as with Job, my flesh is being destroyed but my life has been spared. 

If we surrender our lives to Christ, he will lead us through life's
storms to our eternal home. We must pray, "Thy will be done" and mean it, content to accept whatever that may mean. We must trust that He is leading us toward the Celestial City, nothing slips by God's attention, the trials we face here are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us.[2]

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EuIIl7yHfc for David Haas, "You Are Mine", 4:57]



_________________
[1]Roman 8.28.
[2]Romans 8.18.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

DISABLED MAN'S LETTER TO CANADA'S NEW PRIME MINISTER ABOUT ASSISTED SUICIDE

Below is a letter I sent to Prime Minister-designate, Justin Trudeau to invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to halt the Supreme Court ruling on assisted suicide. I am aware that chances he will do this unpopular thing are remote. Justin Trudeau is basking in the glow of public approval,and the Liberal Party supports assisted suicide. Still, as a citizen I must make a plea for the Common Good of my nation, and those who are depressed because of their circumstances and will be euthanized with the full sanction of the state. I must speak up. 



_____________________

The Rt.  Hon. Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
OTTAWA, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Prime Minister:

Supreme Court ruling for assisted suicide

I am writing to plead with you to invoke the notwithstanding clause of  the Canadian Charter of Rights and freedoms and override the monstrous Supreme Court decision to strike down the nation’s law against assisted suicide. It will be consistent with your previous support for a National Suicide Prevention Strategy that received unanimous support of Parliament in October of 2012. The high court’s odious decision threatens to set back advances in disability inclusion forty years that I and others have fought hard to gain.

I have been incurably ill with aggressive multiple sclerosis (MS) for more than thirty years. Its degenerative nature gradually stripped me of physical function from being healthy and athletic to living in an electric wheelchair. If assisted suicide had been available during the mid-1980s I might have opted for it at a low point. I’m so glad I did not seek out a Jack Kevorkian. I never would have known my grandchildren. You see, Prime Minister, quality of life changes. What gave my life quality in 1984 is not what gives my life quality in 2015. Physical function is not so important to me anymore; it is love that brings quality to my life now: To love and be loved.  

You did the right thing in 2012 by supporting a national suicide prevention strategy. Do the right thing again and invoke the notwithstanding clause, even though it will be unpopular. A national suicide prevention strategy must be for all Canadians, not just the healthy. Support increased emphasis on palliative medicine in medical schools and nursing programs across the country.

Thank you for reading and considering my letter. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

I am, Sir,
     Yours very truly,

Mark Davis Pickup