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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sweet Mystery of Life

When I was a kid, my father would often play music in the house. His favorite singer was (and still is) Mario Lanza, the great tenor from the 50's. I learned to love opera listening to him sing arias, and through him I also came to love the American Standard Songbook. While my favorite singer is Frank Sinatra, Mario Lanza still ranks up in the top 5. Lanza's song, "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life", a great piece of music from the American Standard Songbook, ranks in my top ten favorite songs of all time, and it was that song that came into my head as I read the below article.

The mystery of life is just that: a mystery. We don't understand it, and we can't. Sure, there are the mechanics of the body that we have a rudimentary understanding of. But life it self: why it is, how it is, what it is, is beyond the realm of science and belongs to Faith. Science can tell us how (to a certain extent), only the Faith can tell us why. What is good and true in one only serves what is good and true in the other.

Why? All truth compliments truth. Truth is One, and everything good and true (with a small 't') points to the One Truth (capital 'T') who is Jesus Christ. He is the Word through whom God made the Universe, the Word that the Father spoke to pronounce creation Good, the Word who was there in the beginning with the Father bringing and breathing life into creation. The prologue of St. John's Gospel, which speaks of this, reads like poetry:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Why? Because out of nothing but love God made us for life, and even when we introduced death though sin, He was not content to let us wallow in it. The darkness that is sin cannot fathom or overcome the light that is Christ. God the Father sent His only Son to bear the burden of our sin, so that again we might have life through Christ. "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." This is the mystery of life, this is the mystery of faith. We were created for life, we are made for life, and Christ came to carry us out of this vale of tears into eternal life.

Questions and comments are always welcome!

God love you!

Woman Diagnosed as "Brain Dead"
Walks and Talks after Awakening
By Hilary White

LAKE ELMO, Minnesota
February 15, 2008 (

65-year-old Raleane "Rae" Kupferschmidt's relatives were told by doctors that she was "brain dead" after she had suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage in mid-January. Her family had taken her home to die and were in the process of grieving and planning her funeral when she awoke and was rushed back to hospital.

In accordance with her own wishes, doctors had removed Rae's breathing tube and were waiting for her to die. She was taken home from the hospital, and while friends and family gathered to say a last good bye, Kupferschmidt's daughter Lisa Sturm used an ice cube to wet her mother's dry lips. When her mother sucked on the ice cube, she thought it was only an instinctive reaction. She said, "I knew suckling is a very basic brain stem function, so I didn't get real excited. But when I did it again she just about sucked the ice cube out of my hand, and I looked at my aunt and said, 'Did you see that?'"

"So I leaned down and asked, 'Mom... Mom, are you in there?'" Sturm said. "And when she shook her head and mouthed, 'Yes,' we all just about fell over.

"Rae was rushed back to the hospital and underwent surgery to drain the blood clot from her skull. After surgery, she recovered her strength and is now undergoing physical therapy and can walk with the aid of a walker. Doctors expect her to be walking on her own within weeks. Rae says she does not remember anything during her coma.

"I still don't know what my task is here on this Earth, but I know God's not done with me yet. How else could you explain everything that has happened to me?" Rae said.

She told family that she had seen angels in her room. "I said these angels are not here to take me home to my father. They're here to help me, to help me get over this."

"Brain death" or "death by neurological criteria," is a common diagnosis of patients who are said to be in an irreversible coma, sometimes referred to as a "persistent vegetative state" (PVS). Physicians and bioethicists who support the brain death criteria claim that such a diagnosis is reliable and means that a patient is beyond any hope of recovery.

Under new bioethics criteria, "brain death" can be used as a condition under which organs are removed from a patient while his heart is kept beating. Organ transplant requires that tissue be recovered from donors as close to physical death as possible and physicians are under heavy pressure to procure more organs.

The fact that in many cases patients who have been unconscious, semi-conscious or severely neurologically disabled, such as Terri Schiavo, have been declared "brain dead" or "PVS" only to recover, has undermined public confidence in the medical system.

In the US in 2006, Terry Wallis, who experienced a car wreck in 1984, woke unexpectedly and began to recover after 19 years in a minimally conscious state. In 2005 in Italy, Salvatore Crisafulli woke from a coma he had suffered for two years. He had been declared "nearly dead" by doctors after a serious auto accident that left him unresponsive. In Poland in 2007, a railway worker astonished his family and doctors when he awoke spontaneously after 19 years.

Doctors at United Hospital said they are amazed by Rae Kupferschmidt's recovery. One told Good Morning America, "I've been here for ten years and I've never seen anything quite like this."

Rae told Good Morning America, "God's got something for me to do. When I learn it, I'll unfold it and follow it."


Bladis said...

Who am: "the Italian Terri Schiavo"
(so they said famous physicians, in a popular Telecast as "Hands to Door")
I am Salvatore Crisafulli, today 42 years in Catania that I have lived for almost two years in been Vegetative Permanent (for the medical science) and that I/you/they have succeeded, (thanks to the help of my relatives) to go out of the tunnel of the Permanent Vegetative State and subsequently telling that me, in that period I understood and I felt everything. I succeed in communicating only thanks to a computer, selecting with the eyes the letters on the screen.
I were born so, with my direct testimony, the book "With the blocked eyes" that it reconstructs footstep for footstep the whole story of that that I/you/they then have been nicknamed the «Italian Terri Schiavo».
My history, is a history done of hope and of courage of tenacity and of will power. After years I have succeeded in convincing physicians to have returned to the life.
The morning of 11 September of 2003, to Catania, I am accompanying to school, in wasp, one of my 4 children, 13 year-old Anthony. Then my awful impact against the van of a gelataio: both in the hospital and in coma
My child wakes up again him after few days, me after 7 months but I find me imprisoned in my same body.
I don't remember anything of the accident, but I understand to be at home of my brother Pietro in Tuscany, finding again me incapable to move me and to speak
I saw my relatives stir around my bed, I wanted to recall their attention shouting, but from my mouth it didn't go out some sound.
In the house of my brother Pietro in the province of Pistoia we lived in eleven with the only economic support of the pension of my mother.
Varied hospitals they refuse my refuge, the physicians spoke of is vegetative permanent and irreversible. I felt the physicians say that my death was only matter of time, and I began to open and to close the eyes to attract the attention of whom was around me.
Plain Pian began the phase of my awakening, that traveled on two plain parallels, that physically personal, of which plain pian I took conscience of what you/he/she was happened me, slowly tasting my return to the life and that extreme, in which I try to convince to whom is around me to be really still alive and flourishing, but I was me unable prisoner in my body that didn't answer me.
I understood what happened around me, but I could not speak, I didn't succeed in moving legs, braccia anything wanted to do, "I/you/they are imprisoned in my same body." I try with all of my desperation, with the weeping, with the eyes but nothing, the physicians truncated every hope, for them I was a "vegetable" and that my ocular movements were alone casual, in short I was not conscious.
But it was not this way. And' is my mother to realize for of it before. One day they enter the room my mother, my brothers, my sister-in-law and a cousin, asking to open me and to close the eyes to answer to their questions
The experiment succeeds, in fact they realized that I understood them and I felt, but I could communicate only through the movement of the eyelids. From this moment, all of my family, with in head my brother Pietro they will fight for over one year with the sanitary institutions to succeed in making to hospitalize me, trying in every way of showing that I was conscious. In that period, my brother Pietro equips a room of his/her house as a hospital and is improvised nurse keeping on fighting.

With a camper it brought around me for Italy and for Europe, looking for the confirmation of an expert. We arrived thin to Innsbruck, in Austria, from a luminary: and I remember everything, the famous physician began to beat me with a hammers on my knees, and you/he/she stung me with a needle under the nose, but also this teacher affirms that I was not able to understand nothing. And' an awful mazzata.
In my slow repurchase to the life, the role of my family has been fundamental that have not lost never the hope attending with trust toward god my awakening. An immense praise goes to my brother Pietro that during the debate of Terri Schiavo, it launched a dramatic appeal to the institutions, with my consent. “If nobody helped us it disconnected the plug” so it said my brother.
Someone finally listened to my family: it intervened in first person the Minister of the Health and, after few days, the I am hospitalized to "St. Donato" of Arezzo. The refuge, is recognized here, finally, two months later conscious. The cares bring notable improvements.
To this point, I ask a further effort myself. Through a computer, selecting with the eyes the letters on the screen, I affirm that: "I want to tell my experience to the world. I want that all know what he/she means to live paralysed on a bed, without being able him to move neither to speak, with the physicians that say that you don't understand anything. I want to make to help him myself, the people as me and their relatives."
To compose the words, has to attend every time that all the letters of the alphabet flow me in front of the eyes to be able to select that volute. To give the answer to a single question, at times it takes a whole day, especially in the first times, when memoirs and tears of emotion mix together him.
It' is fatiguing with the help of a journalist and my brother it is born so my book "With the blocked eyes" I edit from l’Airone.
Today my actual conditions are: I don't succeed in speaking yet, I am putting her/it all, the morning as soon as I wake up myself, I for example send forth some syllables as but-but pa-but pe if. I communicate thanks to a computer and really thanks to the new technology I can make to listen communicate with the external world.
I want what has happened to me, not to happen anymore. So many have written me speaking of their relatives to the same conditions that don't even come assisted.
Idea is to create a foundation to which you/they can be turned for asking help and possession a best life.
Today I am completely contrary to the euthanasia.

Anonymous said...

Dear Father V.,

Thank you for your interesting thoughts, the article too. It makes me think of prayer.

I am reminded, when we begin the Divine Office Prayer we say, “God, come to my assistance, Lord, make haste to help me." This start to our day contains the verse that should be ever on our lips, and always in our hearts as we strive toward Contempletive Prayer. This Prayer of Contemplation, Our Lord’s Gift to us, is where we enter into a deeper relationship with God, uniting with Him, giving ourselves entirely over to His Presence. It is completed in solitude. In quiet. With an appropriate posture. With relaxed breathing. Only when it is His Will.

Maybe beautiful little babies in the womb or people who rest in a coma are engaging in this Prayer because that is what God Wills for them, for their betterment, and for the betterment of the world. How do we know? We don’t. But just Imagine this! Very beautiful.

Yes Father, let us leave God's Work to God!

And I will join you in prayer, for an increase in love for the sacredness of all human life. Amen.

Love from a daughter in Christ

Blessed Mother, pray for us.

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