Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
January 12th, 2010


Some people are blessed with good genes, good fortune, and good health, and go on to old age amazing everyone with their vitality. Rachel Veitch is not only a remarkable 89-year-old but she drives a 1954 Mercury Comet Caliente which she bought new and has driven over a half-million miles. Both are still going strong.  This video clip shows how vibrant 89 can be!

On the other hand, I have just read a description by Father Richard John Neuhaus of his bout with cancer, subsequent surgery, recuperation, and further surgery,  in a First Things article which he titled Born Toward Dying.  It is quite a long piece but because Father was such an articulate man it really hits home with the details of his illness, his medical experiences, his suffering, his thoughts, and even his vision.

At one point he writes:

There was absolutely nothing I could do or wanted to do, except to lie there and let them do whatever they do in such a place. Indifferent to time, I neither knew nor cared whether it was night or day. I recall counting sixteen different tubes and other things plugged into my body before I stopped counting.

Father Neuhaus was dealt quite a different hand than Rachel Veitch and died at the age of only 72. Born Toward Dying is not fun reading but it is something you will not soon forget.   When I subscribed to First Things I always turned first to Father Neuhaus’ comments.  His wisdom, insights, and even holiness were apparent.  He was much loved and is much missed since his death a year ago.

We do not get to choose what our old age will be like.


The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord! —  Job 1:21

Ours not to reason why; ours but to do and die. — Alfred Lord Tennyson

July 28th, 2008


It is 9 AM Monday morning and I am listening to a rebroadcast of Father Benedict Groeschel’s Sunday Night Live program on my TV. This is a hard choice because I really enjoy having a cup of coffee after mass with Regis and Kelly at 9. But I am glad he’s on again because I fell asleep watching him last night. He’s talking about change in the Catholic Church.

I always enjoy Father Groeschel because he is well informed and talks in language everyone can understand. He tells about changes he, himself, has seen in the church–-and we have all seen in the church if we’ve been around for awhile–but these are not changes in basic teachings (dogma) and, as he says, do not not go beyond what you can conclude from sacred scripture. He recommended (and I heartily second the recommendation) that Catholics who have trouble with the church’s stand on contraception read Mary Eberstadt’s The Vindication of Humanae Vitae in the latest issue of First Things.

It is my opinion that this particular session with Father Groeschel is one of his best, well worth trying to locate on EWTN at a later time. It is absolutely amazing how sharp his mind and memory are after his terrible accident and ensuing coma a few years ago.

Today I am also excited by an interview I watched yesterday on EWTN with a young lady named Danielle Bean, a home-schooling Catholic mother of 8. What a blessing to other Catholic mothers who are, of course, counter-cultural if they are serious about their religion. Catholic mothers often find themselves isolated in many ways. To quote Danielle loosely, “For sure, there aren’t any other mothers of eight for miles around!” Danielle somehow finds time to have her own very beautiful blog, and also takes part in Faith and Family Live, a group of Catholic mothers who likewise hope to provide mutual aid and comfort.

The best thing about her blog is that it says that her interview will air again Wednesday, July 30 at 11 pm Eastern. If you don’t have EWTN, you can watch it live on your computer here. Those last few words got me even more excited! I had not realized before that EWTN was available LIVE on my computer.

Because I am blessed with a son who provides me with DirecTV and EWTN 24/7 I have for years been able to watch EWTN on my television anytime I wanted to. But we live in an area where cable TV only provides EWTN for a couple of hours in the middle of the night. Through Danielle’s blog I discovered that apparently anyone can get streaming EWTN live on their computer here. Just click on Live EWTN TV – English US when you get there.

Please pray for Mother Angelica. She is 85 and Father Groeschel says she is ill. We owe EWTN to her!