“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

Saturday, January 31, 2015


I love children for their sense of wonder! Babies can teach their grandfathers anew how to be enchanted with life. That is the great gift my grandchildren gave me. Revisiting wonder, enchantment, joy. They also made me ashamed that I lost those child-like qualities somewhere along the path between early childhood and adulthood. 

But living and remembering are two dramatically different things. For an old man to re-capture a sense of wonder is not an exercise of the intellect rather an exercise of the heart propelled by a love for another so intense it aches.

Joy is different from happiness -- although they have many of the same attributes. Happiness is a response to something we gained or attained. Joy simply is. Joy is closer to God than happiness. C.S. Lewis said that Joy is the serious business of heaven. 

A toddler tries to taste a flower; in her mind pretty must also be tasty. We laugh to watch her discover that what is pleasing to the eye is not always pleasing to the tongue. Yet in her world it should be. Perhaps in the next world the two will merge. The beauty of the world is only a pale shadow, and a small inkling of heaven's beauty too  profound and perfect for us to accept in our present bodies and form. We must yet be transformed. [1]   

Simple joys are best. They cannot be harnessed and sold to the
highest bidder, to the exclusion of those who can't pay. Joy is a spiritual state not a commodity. Joy is the possession of babies and small children that they freely offer to those who are near and open to the idea of humbling themselves, becoming child-like, in order to receive their divine gift of joy.

I believe a man is never so tall as when he welcomes a child and stoops to enter their world.


[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yCI76DnSd8 for "Thank God for Kids" by Kenny Chesney]

[1] 1John 3.2 (cf. 1Corinthians 15.50-53, 2Corinthians 5.3-4, Philippians 3.21.) 


Wednesday, January 28, 2015


John Keats
Although he died of tuberculosis at the age of 25 years, John Keats (1795-1821) is considered one of England's greatest poets. Not long before his death, he said, "...but I loved the principle of beauty in all things, ..."[1] And so he did. His poems are unequaled for their dignity and richness of imagery. 

Beauty is like salve for a longing heart. Throughout my three decades of chronic and incurable illness, the beauty found in art, literature and music have been constant companions in the solitude of what often seemed like perpetual convalescence. My heart longs for my eternal future with Christ. He created and defines beauty.

[Click on image below of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhtO7qx9qRQ for "Consolation" composer Viktor Kosenko. Pianist: Maria Dolnycky. 2:25]

[1] Taken from an 1820 letter from John Keats to Fanny Brawne, 


I was once asked to speak to the topic "I am more than my disability". I fashioned my address, in part, on the Leonard Cohen song "Anthem".  He is a tired old man, but so am I. At the end of my presentation I played the last half of his song beginning at 3:20 in the video at the end of this blog. This is part of what I said that day. 

... Fulton Sheen wrote this:

“... the human heart is isolated and in agony: it has more love to give than any earth-bound object can receive – it clamours to be loved more lastingly and comprehendingly than by any human lover. But both longings – to love perfectly, and be loved perfectly – are mere vacuums in man.”[1]

Ego is a supreme contradiction of love. My ego has been so large that God needed to subdue it so that I could clearly sense His Being and be sensitive to His leading and discover the purpose and meaning of my life. My illusions of self-sufficiency needed to be shattered because it kept me from divine intimacy that was/is dependent upon God’s grace and sufficiency. 

My heart needed to break in order for me to understand why I could not love perfectly or accept God’s perfect love.  I needed to be 
stirred and shaken to the foundations of my soul with nothing left but a broken heart. 

For so much of humanity it is in brokenness that we can begin to seek wholeness.  Have you ever noticed that many of God’s truths seem to be wrapped in apparent contradictions or paradox:

·       In life we find death and in death we find life.[2]
·       In weakness we find strength. In our strength we find          weakness.[3]
·       Many who are first here will be last in the kingdom of God; those who are last here will be first there.[4]
·       In self-sufficiency we find defeat, but only in defeat can we begin to truly understand the depths of God’s sufficiency.[5]

I needed to be reduced to physical, emotional and spiritual collapse 
for only in that state did I sincerely and finally ask “Why was I 
born? What is the purpose of my life? What is the meaning of my existence?” I am reminded of the words of a song by Leonard Cohen:

...  every heart to love will come, but like a refugee. Ring the
 bells still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a
 crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”[6]

He has said and written many questionable things but on this point
Leonard Cohen inadvertently stumbled on a truth.  In our pain and 
brokenness the light of perfect love can come, if we let it. And we 
can use our pain to encourage others who suffer.

One day I got a call asking me if I would visit another young man 
named Derek who had just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. 
Let me give you a bit of background about Derek. This guy was a 
winner. He had Brad Pitt good looks. Derek had just finished a 
degree in engineering and his career was beginning to take off with 
a large Calgary oil corporation.  Derek and his beautiful wife were 
jet-setter professionals. They drove a flashy BMW, skied Lake 
Louise on winter weekends and vacationed in Maui.  His MS was 
catastrophic from the onset. His vision became severely impaired 
and he landed up in a wheelchair very early after onset.

When I met Derek he was living alone in a darkened apartment. His wife had left him, and his career was gone. I sat with him and 
listened to his grief. He allowed me special entrance into his sorrow. I was able to say to Derek, “God is with us at this moment. You may not believe that but I tell you I can feel His presence. Let the Holy Spirit comfort you as I have experienced His comfort.” Derek was too angry to accept my witness but as the old saying goes: “You may not be the last link in the chain toward a person’s conversion ─ just don’t be the missing link."

Every heart to love will come, but like a refugee

We must open our hearts to divine love.

I have discovered that I have been more use to God disabled than I 
was when I was able-bodied. Before I was hurt, my heart was closed to all but the most basic of spiritual truths. It was only when my heart cracked and broke that Christ’s light came into my heart.

My journey through chronic illness and disability involved a re-discovery of the natural human dignity that is the possession of every human life beginning at the spark of life we call conception. It has nothing to do with our circumstances.

An individual with a severe disability or incurable illness must 
ultimately turn to the spiritual aspect of life (in as much is 
cognitively possible) – if they are to discovery meaning of their 
anguish. It involves searching for the Source of human dignity – 
that which sets humans apart from the rest of creation: In other 
words, God.

Humanity is not defined by knowledge or power. We do not get our worth and value by what we can do, our abilities or sentience; it comes from merely being.

For those of us who are severely disabled ― and are able to seek
the revelation of God’s divine love ― we must be open to letting God use our pain, anguish and trials as a vehicle to spiritually mature us and transform us to be more like Christ. This is important because, as this transformation begins to change us, we will discover our natural human dignity, if we remain open to Christ’s leading.

It was important for me to resist the temptation to become bitter, not focus on my predicament, and simply surrender again and again to that divine love of Christ.

Grief is like a river that can block the sufferer from continuing his individual life journey. It is imperative to cross the river of grieve and discover what is on the other shore. After the initial shock passes it becomes critically important to actively and intentionally rebuild one’s life and incorporate the new reality into the future.

The individual must develop a new self-identity that includes his disability or condition ─ and his loved-ones must encourage this process and accept the new person and how he perceives himself.  But the individual’s new reality should not be focused on his disability.  This transition phase is uncertain and even dangerous.

Some people refuse to rise above their circumstances and cross their river of grief to face a new reality.  They want their old life back or they want no life. They are unwilling to cross their river of grief and they can become suicidal. Unresolved grief in people with disabilities (and their loved-ones) can fuel calls for euthanasia and assisted suicide. 

This is an important fact for everyone to understand ─ particularly
in the current climate where euthanasia and assisted suicide acceptance is creeping into North America’s mindset. Understand that unresolved grief must be proactively addressed.  It must be addressed as an issue that extends well beyond people with disabilities and their families: Their communities must acknowledge that settling unresolved grief is critically important for the sake of the community’s greater good.

Playing a supportive role at local parish levels to those overwhelmed by persistent grief is a necessary ingredient to help hurting people eventually return to active parish and community life.

For me, the bridge across my river of grief was the Cross. Christ was not merely waiting on the other shore ─ He’s been with me throughout every leg of my disability journey. He continues to help me re-define and re-develop my life; Christ is helping me understand where, how and why I fit into the world with my new and evolving realities.

Disability journeys often involve developing new dimensions of self-identity that are different from a previous self-identity but no less vital ─ and perhaps even more vital as each individual discovers new aspects of their living experiences.  Granted these new dimensions of life can involve pain but pain may be necessary for our spiritual development.

The Church teaches this:

"The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit.” (CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, No. 364.)

This is a reality that does not change with disability or sickness. The human body will always share in the sacred dignity of bearing God’s image, regardless of its brokenness or state. The human soul always remains intact and waits for new dimensions of the living experience to be revealed that were previously unknown and unexplored by us or those who love us.

An atrophied and unresponsive body is still a temple of the Spirit. All I have is cracked and broken. I have no perfect offering to give God. Strangely yet wonderfully that was when His love became most evident. The separate parts of my life do not add up to the sum total. That is only possible through Christ. He makes sense of it all and completes my life. There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.

Yes, I am more than my handicap. We are all so much more than whatever handicap keeps us from reaching the potential God intends for us. It is only when we surrender our broken bodies, hearts and lives to the living Christ that we will begin to see new spiritual dimensions blossom within us and the body of Christ.

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDTph7mer3I For Leonard Cohen's Anthem.]

[1] Bishop Fulton Sheen. LIFT UP YOUR HEART (Boston: G.K. Hill & Co., 1975), P.267.
[2] Luke 9.24, John 11.25
[3] Psalm 8.2-3, 1Corinthians 1.27-28, 2Corinthians 12.9-10, 13.4.
[4] Matthew 19.30 & 20.16, Mark 10.31, Luke 1,52-53,
[5] John 3.27, 15.5, 2Corinthians 3.5.
[6] Leonard Cohen song called Anthem.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


There are 200 million girls missing. Gendercide is prevalent in a number of areas of the world where boys are desired and girls are seen as burdens. They are either killed before birth or just after being born. It is nothing short of a gender holocaust! 

By some estimates, each month in India, 50,000 baby girls are killed.[1] Those who are not aborted are
Body of baby girl in a trash can
suffocated, drowned or thrown in the trash. 
It must stop, alternatives offered.  Western countries such as the United States, Canada and Britain must pressure countries like India and China to remove financial, government and cultural barriers to adopt their unwanted baby girls and open rapid paths for international adoptions to western families.  

I urge American, Canadian and British readers of this blog to ask
your national politicians to lobby China and India to open wide the doors for timely adoptions of their unwanted baby girls. Keep the adoption process free from corruption or prohibitive expense for adoptive families.

Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISme5-9orR0 for trailer of It's a Girl


Saturday, January 17, 2015


Wintley Augustus Phipps is a world renowned singer, motivational
speaker, educator, pastor and founder of the U.S. Dream Academy. He has sung before U.S. Presidents Barack Omama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, former South American President Nelson Mandela, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. In the video below Wintley Phipps speaks about the hymn Amazing Grace then gives a most moving rendition of it.

[Click image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVcjnNry4do For Wintley Phipps' insights and singing Amazing Grace.] 

Friday, January 16, 2015


I came across an interesting video. Birds were sitting on some telephone wires. Their pattern was transposed into music and expanded by an ingenious musician. The link below to that music of happenstance. Enjoy.

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkRg_FZdLgw for music of birds on telephone wires.]

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Words can be so cruel and degrading. There was a time in the 19th Century when North American natives were commonly called "savages". The term was used to dehumanize first nations people in order to take their land. 

I remember a time when people with a mix of Aboriginal-European descent were called "half-breeds". Somebody at the time might have said it was meant merely to describe rather than to demean, and that would have been a lie. The term half-breed was always used to cast an individual in a negative light and belittle him/her. Happily, I have not not heard anyone use that term in decades. The metis are coming into their own. Injustices of yesteryear are finally being addressed and corrected. 

Black people were called niggers, Gay people called faggots. All derogatory, awful terms to call a human being. These horrible terms have largely fallen into disuse and that is a good thing.

A newer derogatory term is calling comatose or severely brain
injured people vegetables or being in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) rather than the more accurate and kinder term of being persistently unconscious. Again, the intention of equating a human being with a vegetable or being like one is meant to strip them of their humanity. This is useful in an era when there is a chronic shortage of organs to harvest. If a human being is not thought of as a human being then you can do anything to them.  

We are coming across increasing numbers of people who were at one time labelled as vegetables or being in a "persistent vegetative state" who emerge from their comas. Not only that, we are now hearing that over 45% of PVS diagnoses may be inaccurate. 

I want to share with you the case of Martin Pistorious (39) who lived
Martin Pistorius with his
book "Ghost Boy"
in a locked-in state for  twelve years. His doctors told his family he was as good as a vegetable. For the first two years he was unaware of himself or his surroundings but gradually started to become aware. Martin was in a locked-in state. He says, "Yes, I was there, not from the beginning, but about two years into my vegetative state, I began to wake up. I was aware of everything, just like a normal person." Martin states about this about his condition: "My mind was trapped inside a useless body, my arms and legs weren't mine to control and my voice was mute. I couldn't make a sign or sounds to let anyone know I'd become aware again. I was invisible -- the ghost boy." He related his story in an auto-biography book entitled "Ghost Boy". You can order a copy here http://www.christianbook.com/ghost-miraculous-escape-misdiagnosed-trapped-inside/martin-pistorius/9781400205837/pd/205830?kw=martin%20pistorius%20book&mt=b&dv=c&event=PPCSRC&p=1018818&gclid=CJrMlLTRlsMCFZSPfgodl5AAtA

Martin heard his own despairing mother say, "I hope you die." Grief can do terrible things. He believed no one would ever love him. Be careful what you say around those you think can't hear you. Things may not be as they seem. 

Martin is an intelligent and gracious man. He reflects on his mother's harsh words: "As time passed, I gradually learned to understand my mother's desperation. Every time she looked at me, she could only see a cruel parody of the once-healthy child she had loved so much."

We know so little about the human brain. What I do know is that people never become vegetables. They retain their humanity regardless of their state and deserve respect and love. Those people who are comatose or seem unaware have a great gift to bring to the table of humanity. That gift is this: Their presence among us calls you and me to a higher standard of love. How will we respond?

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBFntsxK-vc for television with Martin and Joan Pistorious. Martin speaks about his years in what medicine shamefully terms as a persistent vegetative state.] 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


My oldest grandson (13) gives
his mom (my daughter)
a kiss

Growing old has increasing times where I find myself happy and sad at the same moment. It all revolves around love and the passing of time. My daughter sent me the photo at the right of her being kissed on the cheek by my oldest grandson. I thought to myself: I remember them both as babies. I pushed my daughter in a stroller everywhere; at lunch we would look at each other across her high-chair while I fed her Gerber's baby food. At night I would gently rock her to sleep and hum lullabies. Two peas in a pod. There's nothing better than being a father. 

The same grandson as a baby
about to go on an "adventure"
Twenty-five years later I did the same with her baby, my grandson. The only difference was that the stroller was gone. We traveled on my wheelchair/scooter, exploring grandpa's little town, singing Wheels On the Bus or other children's songs. Two peas in a pod. There's nothing better than being a grandfather.

When they learned to walk they began to move away from me -- at first with unsteady little feet then with increasing steady confidence. In their own time, decades apart, they both looked back to me for encouragement, then less with time. That's as it should be. Their legs strengthened and mine withered. They must increase while I decrease. But I was left with sweet memories of our cozy pea pods. They grew with a foundation of nurture. Every child deserves that.

(I have a tender memory dating back to 1976 when my daughter was born. Stevie Wonder's song about his daughter was a hit: Isn't She Lovely. I was a commercial television writer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The song came on the radio and I pecked away at my manual typewriter in time to the music. I was so happy to be a new dad and could not wait to get home to see my baby. Thirty-eight years later I still say "Isn't she Lovely.")

I watch now from the sidelines with sentimental pride, and wonder
where the time went and where life will take them. God created them for a purpose. My greatest desire for them (and all my family) is that they will walk each day with Christ, desire to serve Him, and discover the purpose for which they were created -- then pursue it. 

I think I will revisit the old song. This for all the new dads and grandpas.
[Click on image below or this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVvkjuEAwgU for "Isn't She Lovely", by Stevie Wonder


Sunday, January 11, 2015


Once again, sub-zero temperatures have prevented me from attending Mass in
My parish in winter
 the Church at the top hill from my little house at the bottom. I could not take the Blessed Sacrament so I had to settle for spiritual Communion: "As I cannot receive Thee, My Jesus, in Holy Communion, come spiritually into my heart and make it Thine own forever." I read Scriptures from my LITURGY OF THE HOURS, for this point in the Church calendar, prayed my rosary and listened to selected portions of Beethoven's Mass in C Major.[1] Below is Sanctus.

"Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.
Osanna in excelsis."

English tranlation:

Holy, holy, holy
Lord God of Hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

[Click on image below orhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNA4CNIUNXA for Beethoven's Mass in C major, Op.86, Sanctus, UCLA Choir


[1] In the photograph of me at the top of the HumanLifeMatters blog, you will notice a bust of Beethoven on my fireplace mantle. I keep it there to remind me of the ability of the human spirit to overcome adversity. Beethoven suffered deafness and yet was one of the greatest composers who ever lived. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015


See a memorial bell video showing, in graphic terms, a visual representation of the rate of abortions across America since legalization in 1973. The numbers whiz by in a blur for 5 minutes, the bell tolling at each million lives lost, until reaching the 57-million abortions we are at today. 

Abortion a holocaust of unprecedented proportions. Each number
represents a human life created in the image of God, each one robbed of his or her inalienable right to life, each one could have brought unique talents and gifts to the table of human experience. This is where the "progressives" have taken society. It is, in fact, a regression toward a New Dark Age. The depressed and suicidal old, sick and disabled are next to be pushed into the deadly abyss of "Choice".

Click on the image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Qv6UDT__iU  

Friday, January 9, 2015


"In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves;
ideas come to birth and acquire depth... Deeper reflection helps us to discover the links between events that at first sight seem unconnected... For this to happen, it is necessary to develop an appropriate environment, a kind of 'eco-system' that maintains a just equilibrium between silence, words, images and sounds."
- Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Noise and over-activity are enemies of self development and contentment. Distraction of the mind can become abstraction of the mind if not held in check.  The medieval priest and writer,
Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471)
Thomas a 
Kempis, wrote an entire chapter in his Christian classic book The Imitation of Christ entitled "The Love of Silence and solitude". It begins with this:

"Set aside an opportune time for deep reflection and think often about God's many benefits to you. Give up all light and frivolous matters, and read what inspires you to repentance of soul and not just entertains you."

There is great wisdom in these words. They may puzzle a frivolous generation.  Why set aside time for deep reflection or read that
which spiritual edifies or inspires repentance of soul? That doesn't titillate or amuse. (?) 
This is the Facebook generation that prefers gossip and chatter and seeks to be solely entertained in spare time. It is an age that has lost the ability to listen to silence and gain the internal rewards that can come from it.

Noise! Noise! Noise and clamor fill our waking hours. It is an imperative to intentionally retreat from it all for the sake of our emotional and spiritual balance.  We should follow Pope Benedict's directions: "... it is necessary to develop an appropriate environment, a kind of 'eco-system' that maintains a just equilibrium between silence, words, images and sounds."

Set aside time to walk in the woods or wooded trail, along the shore of a lake or sea to listen for the voice of God. Our Lord spent time away from the crowds to seek solitude and so should we. 

For obvious reasons I am often unable to go far into the natural world. My wheelchair may get stuck in a forest or bog down in the sand along a lake. But God has given me a hedged backyard in which to convalesce or rest in the spring, summer and autumn. It is all I need. 

As the sun sets I have often spent time with a visiting grandchild. We talk
Time with my
youngest grandson
about everything from God to ladybugs while roasting marshmallows at the fire pit. It is a sweet and gentle time --the stuff of memories (for us not the ladybugs). Eventually Grandma calls him for bath time and bedtime. After little teeth are brushed and prayers prayed, sleep finally descends upon the child.

I return to my peaceful backyard. It is night. I am alone yet not alone. The fire dies into glowing embers and I sit in the darkness: tranquil, content, happy. Which is more: the serenity of the starry sky above me or the serenity within my heart? God's peace descends upon my open soul. I adore Him. Nothing more needs to be said. Another day concludes.

In winter months, my environment changes. I'm cloistered in my little house. Extreme cold, snow and ice often stop me from venturing outside for days at a time. That is okay. The frigid temperatures outside are pushed back by the warmth within me. The contrast is striking. I have my fireplace, my books, the quietness of my bedroom and mountains of blankets and quilts to keep my body warm while God keeps my soul and heart warm. He speaks to me. No words are necessary. In silence I am better able to listen and to understand. Ideas are born while the snow drifts against my window. Spring will come. 

I am loved and I love.

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJMaOxdu6B4 for Aled Jones, "Be Still For The Presence of the Lord.]

Monday, January 5, 2015


The post below original appeared a number of years ago as one of my columns for The Archdiocese of Edmonton newspaper, (Canada), The Western Catholic Reporter. The old man has since died. 

“Do old men have dreams?” asked Jeanette as she watched her

88 year old father through the window of the cottage they rented for a week in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Bill Richards was standing alone on the deck looking across a pristine aqua-marine lake. It was dusk. The last vestiges of daylight were slipping behind a snow-capped mountain in the distance. This was the end of another day of more than 32,000 previous days that had passed in Bill's long life. There was something sad yet symbolic about the scene.

“Are you asking whether old people dream in their sleep?” I asked. “No,” Jeanette replied, “Do they have dreams ― goals, things they still imagine or want to do?”

Jeanette’s question was unanswerable, silly really, because everybody is different. I think we all have met old people who have given up on life while others celebrate every day to their last breath. (That’s not unique to the old. I have met people half Mr. Richards’ age who have given up on life while others explore everything living has to offer.)

At the root of Jeanette’s question was a sadness to see her once strapping and vibrant father slowly fading in old age. Was she projecting her sadness on to him? Perhaps Mr. Richards was not sad at all and was merely enjoying a beautiful scene that stretched out before him. Possibly God was speaking to him in the midst of the natural world as another day turned to night. If that was the case, then the real question was not "Do old men dream?" -- rather "Do old men still listen for that still small voice within them, they heard so clearly as small children?" 

Jeanette was struck by a metaphor and poignancy of the imagery. It
was a moment that brought her underlying sadness to the surface. She was reminded that her beloved father was fading with extreme age, just like the day was fading to night. It broke Jeanette’s heart because she could not bring herself to think of life without him. Mercifully extreme age was giving her a warning and was preparing her for the inevitable.

Bill Richards’ wife of more than 60 years passed away a few years ago and he misses her terribly. He still lives in his own home. His arthritis is well controlled and so is his heart condition. His grandson mowes the grass in summer and each winter he shovels the snow from Mr. Richards’ walks. His daughter often visits and takes him places (like that vacation in the mountains). By all accounts, Mr. Richards is a fortunate man. He has lived a good life and is well cared for in his old age.

Even Mr. Richards’ 88 years in the world is a brief span of time. The Bible tells us that man’s life is like a mist that appears for a little while then vanishes (James 4.14). Saints Paul and Peter spoke of our bodies as tents ― a temporary abode. Our permanent home is in heaven. Our lives here are a preparation for the world to come. Mr. Richards cannot escape this reality but nor can Jeanette, or any of us. I hope that his last years are spent with sweet memories and expectant anticipation of the world to come and not regrets.

If Mr. Richards dies in peace and reconciliation with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, he can joyfully anticipate the Resurrection of the body (as he confesses in the Apostle’s Creed). He can rest confident knowing that Christians have always believed in the resurrection of the body and reunited with the human soul at the final Resurrection. The Catholic Church teaches:

“We firmly believe, and hence we hope that, just as Christ is truly risen from the dead and lives for ever, so after death the righteous will live for ever with the risen Christ and he will raise them up on the last day,” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No.989).

This resurrection of the dead is not figurative or wishful thinking.
Just as Jesus was physically raised from the dead so shall those who die with their faith in Him. Their immortal souls continue after death and their mortal flesh will come alive again at the resurrection and be reunited with the soul in a glorified state (See CCC Nos. 366 & 997).

For those of us whose bodies here on earth are degenerating either by disease or age, we can look forward to this. We shall be restored and live in glory with our Saviour. On this truth I stand with the Church in joyful anticipation.

On that day when Bill Richards was watching the sun set in the Rocky Mountains, God may have been talking through creation to Mr. Richards: "The sun sets, Bill, but it also rises."

[Click on image below or this link 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R23xW7xpm-Y for Sir Charles Mackerras conducting the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra playing Gustav Holst's "The Planets: Saturn, The Bringer of Old Age".]