Saturday, January 30, 2016

A comforting excerpt from interior freedom

Being free also means consenting to what we did not choose
The exercise of freedom as a choice among options, plainly is important.  However, to avoid making painful mistakes we also need to understand that there is another way of exercising freedom:  less immediately exciting, poorer, humbler, but more more common, and one immensely fruitful, both humanly and spiritually.  It is consenting to what we did not originally choose.
It is worth stressing how important this way of exercising our freedom is.  The highest and most fruitful form of human freedom is found in accepting, even more than dominating.  We show the greatness of our freedom when we transform reality, but still more when we accept it trustingly as it is given to us day after day.
It is natural and easy to go along with pleasant situations that arise without our choosing them.  It becomes a problem, obviously, when things are unpleasant, go agains us, or make us suffer.  But it is precisely then that, in order to become truly free, we are often called to choose to accept what we did not want, and even what we would not have wanted at any price.  There is a paradoxical law of human life here:  one cannot become truly free unless one accepts not always being free!
To achieve true interior freedom we must train ourselves to accept, peacefully and willingly, plenty of things that seem to contradict our freedom.  This means consenting to our personal limitations, our weaknesses, our powerlessness, this or that situation that life imposes on us, and so on.  We find it difficult to do this, because we feel a natural revulsion for situations we cannot control.  But the fact is that the situations that really make us grow are precisely those we don not control*.

*"Man's greatest illusion is to want to have mastery over his life....But life is a gift that by its very nature escapes every attempt to master it."  -Jean Claude Sagne, Viens vers le Père: L'Enfance spiritually, chemin de guérison 

This excerpt from Interior Freedom by Jaques Phillipe has comforted me so much regarding my brother's suffering.  Indeed, I have re-read it many times over the last few weeks.  He has achieved "the highest and most fruitful form of human freedom".   My suffering at watching him suffer(albeit through text and photo across the country) has been alleviated a bit by putting it into this context.  He is an example to me.  By watching him accept his limitations, weaknesses, and powerlessness so freely, I am urged to accept my own powerlessness, especially (but not only) within this very situation.  

Monday, January 11, 2016


These were taken one year ago.  He continues to touch lives even though he can barely have enough energy to leave his room.  He was asked to share a reflective word and he mustered up, "Sit with Jesus".  How can you sit with Jesus today?  With Him in adoration?  With Him in the elderly?  With Him in the chronically ill?  With Him in those in prison?  With Him on the streets and soup kitchens?  With Him in your coworkers?  With Him in the new mother with the crying baby at church?  With Him with the newly widowed crying at church?  In Him with your children enjoying their laughs and joys? With Him in the waiter or waitress serving you?  With Him in the grocery store?  With Him with the dad caring for his disabled son?  With Him in your spouse?  With Him in the single pregnant mother?  With Him in the  adolescent unsure of the future?     "Sit with Jesus"                  

Saint Peregrine Novena begins today

Let us pray.
Dear holy servant of God, St. Peregrine, we pray today for healing.

Intercede for us! God healed you of cancer and others were healed by your prayers. Please pray for the physical healing of…

Father Joseph Peek.

These intentions bring us to our knees seeking your intercession for healing.

We are humbled by our physical limitations and ailments. We are so weak and so powerless. We are completely dependent upon God. And so, we ask that you pray for us…

Pray for us, that we will not let sickness bring us to despair

We know, St. Peregrine, that you are a powerful intercessor because your life was completely given to God. We know that in as much as you pray for our healing, you are praying even more for our salvation.

A life of holiness like yours is more important that a life free of suffering and disease. Pray for our healing, but pray even more that we might come as close to Our Lord as you are.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end.



Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year

It has been a year since the oncologist told Father Joseph there was nothing else they could do.  It has been an interesting year.  A year of growing in faith and traveling a journey dependent on God's mercy.  We were able to have many of his nieces and nephews to sing him Christmas carols on Christmas and some of the siblings were able to then talk and pray with him.  He is doing wound changes every 3 days or so and these are getting a little more taxing.  With chronic illness, one suffers from anemia and that with the combination of a little compromise in his lungs makes these changes seem like running a 5K.  He now has oxygen to help if he should need it.  He is pretty much eating eggs and oatmeal and drinking his milk, tea, or root beer. People ask how much longer.  In all honesty it could be any day or it could be a few months.  The squamous cell lesions have grown quite impressively since June.  We are unsure if there is a lesion in the esophagus but this could account for him not wanting or tolerating big solids. He has some wheezing in his lungs so we question if there are squamous cell carcinoma areas in there.  His left side of his face has become swollen from the lip lesion past the cheek lesion up to his ear.  It has also caused some redness in the left eye.
Thank you all for your continued prayer.  One thing that has been hard for the past several year is the fact that we can not hug him due to his wounds and the pain it causes.   So we get by giving fist pumps and kissing his forehead.  Please don't pass the opportunity to hug your children, spouse, or those who need it.  Pray for those with cancer and especially Fr Dan Morales in Texas who is undergoing treatment for cancer that has an unknown course over this next year.  Have a great year in 2016 one truly filled with God's Mercy.  
John 16:33