Saturday, December 30, 2017

Raw Veganism

Raw Veganism: The Most “Extreme” Diet?

The earth itself provides health and vitality; and man’s innovations often do more harm than good. This is especially true in the case of food. Though many factors are important in the increase of one’s vitality, food is a cornerstone. The most vital foods on earth are raw fruits, vegetables of both land and sea, and raw sprouted seeds, nuts, grains and beans. These are the ONLY foods that you should eat.
For more than thirty years I have used this living food diet to prevent and conquer disease. Additionally it fuels a long and conscious life for hundreds of thousands.

I often wonder how long and far we will have to drive this message. There is very little question about it – meat and dairy foods cause disease. Unfortunately, many people are still unsure.

Nutrition is a combination of many factors: oxygen, water, food, and exercise being the primary sources. Together they provide complete vitality. I prefer the word “vitality” to “health” because if you ask someone who is on the average Western diet if they are healthy, most of those not (yet) suffering from a chronic disease would say “yes.”
With this in mind I wonder how most would respond if asked about their vitality. I suspect their answers would probably be different. It’s an important question, since many people see their diet as healthy and consequently, because food is generally regarded as our greatest source of health, they assume they must be eating well.
But are you vital? And is your food vital? That’s a more difficult question, is it not?
Those who think that food’s energy is derived solely from calories, regardless of its source, are mistaken. Think about the real relationship that we have with what we eat. Who does not feel more vitality from a salad than from a piece of fried chicken?
There is, both biologically and aesthetically, more “life” in living food. It is not uncommon to hear those who are unfamiliar with raw foods refer to some food as “dead.” Intuitively, they understand this.
A recent commercial for a hamburger chain capitalized on this, showing the “dead” and unappetizing hamburger of a rival restaurant under harsh light, undressed by tomatoes and lettuce, while their own burgers were colorful, packed with raw vegetables, and in movement. “There is life in our food,” the commercial implied. We need no lessons to teach us that food does indeed have “life.”
Nevertheless, skeptics continue to frown upon the raw food diet, even when there is ample evidence supporting its healthfulness. Most criticism derives from the fact that raw food diets can make it easy to miss certain nutrients; that raw-foodism may be too extreme; and that certain foods are easier to digest when cooked. These claims are absurd.
One question I hear a lot is “can you get enough of the proper nutrients from raw foods.”

The answer is unequivocally yes.

Of course if you do not eat the proper foods in any diet, there is a risk of malnutrition. But it is far easier to eat the correct raw foods and receive a full spectrum of vital nutrients. It simply takes effort and experience. Also, one should only consume organic, fresh produce, preferably produce grown locally. There is no evidence that this diet will lack the proper nutrients. In fact, Hippocrates has seen hundreds of thousands of people thrive on this diet for over half a century.
There are some people who claim the “original” diet of humans was not raw, that we are naturally omnivorous, and that raw food advocates who claim man once ate only fruit from the trees are engaged in wishful thinking.
We may be, but I don’t think it matters. There have been vegetarian societies and omnivorous societies, and the meat-eaters invariably suffer from health problems that the vegetable eaters do not.
The one thing you can’t call me is a primitivist. After my initial intuition about raw living food (intuition is highly undervalued), I looked at the diet from strictly a scientific standpoint. Clearly, vitality comes from eating vegetables, preferably in their raw state. I don’t care if man has lived for the last 5,000 years on a diet of hamburgers and pizza; it simply is not the healthiest way to live.
As someone who values my health and the health of the planet, I cannot come to any other conclusion, and I am perpetually confused by those who can. How is it possible that vegetables (which happens to contain all the protein that meat and dairy eaters claim vegans miss) are good for you, yet they are bad for you if you eat them exclusively? If they contain everything we need and more, how can this be possible?! It simply is not!
This has been a recent criticism aimed at the “movement” (eating raw food is not so much a movement as a natural way of living). Shouldn’t the exploding weight of Westerners (even in France people are getting larger) be explained as something akin to an eating disorder? People who reduce their caloric intake to an unhealthy point and/or radically limit their food choices (for example, by eating only celery and grapefruit), may have derived their desire to eat raw foods from emotional instability, but so has someone who gorges on steak and potatoes.
If someone is on a raw food diet for the correct reasons, it is not only a good decision, it is a healthy one. And as is the case with any decision, education should come first. One should intuitively understand that raw food is, at the very least, the purist choice.
At the Institute we believe that only the things that are healthy are not unhealthy, and that seems like a fairly logical conclusion. Recently, “accepted” institutes have finally begun to conduct research on raw food, probably with the intent of discrediting the diet, and they’ve come up with some amazing research that does just the opposite. In fact, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, led by Luigi Fontana, revealed that raw foodists who had been on the diet for an average of 3.6 years had an abnormally low bone mass when compared to people who are on a diet consisting of refined carbohydrates, animal products and cooked food, – the typical Western diet.
Critics were waiting to run with this information, until they uncovered a second piece to the study, information that stunned many scientists and doctors: the low bone mass associated with a raw food diet, usually a sign of osteoporosis and fracture risk, was not linked to high bone turnover rates. In fact, bone turnover was low, and the raw foodists had less inflammation and less IGF-1, one of the most important growth factors linked to breast and prostate cancer.
There is more. Despite the warnings of many health “professionals” that cutting meat and dairy from the diet will present a risk of vitamin D deficiency, the raw food group actually had higher levels of the vitamin. Dr. Fontana tried to explain it away by claiming that: “These people were clever enough to expose themselves to sunlight to increase their concentration of vitamin D.”
Unfortunately, Dr. Fontana could not entirely abandon his skepticism, and he resorted to saying that “over the long term, a strict raw food vegan diet could pose some health problems.” (It’s a strange conclusion, given his own evidence.)
After working in the field for as long as I have, I don’t need a study to tell me that a largely raw food diet builds health. But the study was fascinating, if only because it further exposed the strange contradictions that “doctors” adopt. How can they say, “vegetables are the healthiest food, eat more of them,” and then turn right around and say, “but a diet of raw vegetables is dangerous?” It happens all the time, though, and it still puzzles me endlessly.
Another example: recently, an interesting paper was published in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society on the subject of cancer. It is thorough, and presents a varying number of statistics regarding cancer rates in the United States, information about advancements in treatment, etc. But, as always, what should be the logical conclusion was pointedly missing.
One of the most pervasive findings of cancer epidemiology is the observation that individuals who consume larger quantities of fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of developing malignancies compared to those who appear otherwise identical but eat smaller quantities of these dietary components. [Talaley]
It seems fairly conclusive to me.
Interestingly, these studies are never done with exclusively organic vegetables, which would certainly make the results even more impressive.
“Those who consume larger amounts of vegetables must, by necessity, ingest more fiber and nearly always consume less fat. Both fiber and fat effect tumor incidence in experimental animal models,” Talaley continues. “Vegetable eaters also have a higher intake of vitamins and of a myriad of secondary plant metabolites (phytochemicals) that play specialized roles in the life of the plant and have great benefits for humans. Many of these phytochemicals display varied and interesting pharmacological and toxicological properties.”
I’ve heard countless people surmise that raw food is difficult to digest, and although the claim is often made that there is evidence to back it up, none ever comes. However, there are literally thousands of studies showing that meat and dairy consumption cause nearly every non-communicable disease known to man.
So, what do the naysayers resort to? They claim that there is something emotionally or psychologically wrong with raw fooders, that it is an “eating disorder.” Given the evidence, this is tantamount to saying “I think meat is more delicious than vegetables, so eating vegetables is an eating disorder.”
Show me even a small bit of conclusive evidence that proves that everything a human needs for life is not available in a raw food diet and I will scientifically destroy that theory.
Article by Brian Clement, PhD, LN of Hippocrates Health Institute

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Time to Love, Time to Forgive

Time to Love, Time to Forgive

When asked what the most favorite time of the year is for you, many of my clients over the years identified it as the Christmas time or the Holiday time of Christmas and Hanukkah. However, many have also identified the same time as the most difficult time of the year also. How come?

It is a joyful time. We meet with family and friends in a festive context. We give gifts and receive gifts. It is time to give and time to be generous. It is such a pleasure watching children opening our gifts with excitement! It is a pleasure friends letting us know that they enjoy who we are and what we do. But this is the time we are also anxious to know if our gift was adequate or was appreciated.   It is the time to realize who does not really appreciate our gifts or our love. It is the time to remember who used to give us joy and who we miss currently due to death or falling off. Some of the suggestions below are some tips to get us through with less stress.
  1. If you miss someone due to death or to a move: it is a good idea to write to speak about that person celebrating their lives. If it is a family member you may speak or write to other family members illustrating how you were personally affected by that person. If you miss a colleague speak to other colleagues illustrating how much you appreciated the person using concrete examples and stories. If it is a friend that you miss, speak to other friends and help them revive their positive memories. Even though you miss someone you loved, your efforts will make it a happy experience.
  2. If you miss someone’s love because the person is no longer cares about you or because you had a fight with or so: It is a good idea to reconcile with that person. The anger may be caused by the experience of feeling betrayed or being neglected. Whatever be the reason, anger is painful. Like the great Buddha once said, “ You will not be punished for your anger, but you will be punished by your anger.” If you believe you can reconcile with that person through a phone call or an email, sure, that is the first step you can take. If you believe you need a third person’s help to reconcile that is what you might choose. If you feel that a symbolic gift could help the reconciliation, which is what you might try.
  3. If you feel someone hates you, and that you feel the negative energy from the person: what matters is your awareness that you are hated by someone, and therefore, you want to be at least tolerated if not liked by the person. The awareness that someone is angry towards you or that you have animosity towards someone is certainly, stressful.   It is better that we take the initiative to break the ice than to wait for the other to act first. Only by forgiving the person first, you will be able even to start the reconciliation process.   We may well keep in mind that if we take initiative to forgive we are at an advantage: only a person who is spiritually “superior” can really forgive someone unconditionally.
It is the time to love, time to forgive, time to repair, time to renew – with the new year!

Antony Chatham

Saturday, December 23, 2017

LOVE OUR PRESIDENT TRUMP!--MAR-A-LAGO

Little-known fact about Mar-a-Lago’s history shows why it is the perfect Winter White House

Being President is a stressful job.
That’s especially true if your name is Donald Trump and you not only have to deal with the intricacies of government, but also with a hostile press and obstructionist opposition party.
Just staying sane calls for a reasonable amount of escape from the never-ending commotion in Washington, D.C.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images).
To that end, the concept of a “Winter White House” has become a tradition in American politics.
From Franklin Roosevelt’s “Little White House” in Warm Springs, Georgia to Barack Obama’s Plantation Estate in Honolulu, Hawaii, the idea of a presidential “home away from home” is one that captures the public imagination, making Americans feels like the Commander-in-Chief really is a human being who needs vacation time as much as anybody else.

President Franklin Roosevelt at his “Little White House” in Warm Springs Georgia in 1932. (Photo: NARA).
Considering Florida’s enviably warm climate, it’s no surprise the Sunshine State is among the top presidents’ retreats. Warren G. Harding, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon all called Florida home when the cold weather came rolling around to D.C.

President Kennedy and his family spend Easter vacation in Palm Beach, FL. (Photo: Screen Capture).
In fact, it was President Nixon’s property in Key Biscayne that was first honored with the “Winter White House” nickname.

President Richard Nixon’s “Winter White House” in Key Biscayne, FL. (Photo: Karl H. Schumacher, NARA).
Of all the secondary presidential residences, perhaps none has been more truly deserving of being called a Winter White House than President Trump’s lavish Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

Mar-A-Lago. (Photo: Shutterstock).
Boasting 126 rooms and 62,500 feet of space (not to mention a spa, ballroom, and five tennis courts), Mar-a-Lago gives the actual White House a run for its money.

(Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images).
President Trump’s favorite getaway spot is the fascinating collision of two very different worlds. Built from 1924 to 1927 by breakfast cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, Mar-a-Lago long stood as a symbol of Palm Beach’s uber-wealthy social elite.

But the estate’s transfer into the hands of the polemic real estate tycoon in 1985 made Mar-a-Lago something of an anomaly in the area. Trump represented the fast-moving world of the nouveau riche more than the old money crowd that dominated Palm Beach.

A Trump coat of arms hangs proudly at Mar-a-Lago. (Photo: Screen Capture).
When President Trump turned Mar-a-Lago into a private club in the ’90s, he went against norms at other local resorts by admitting blacks and Jews. He used his estate to host concerts by stars like Celine Dion and Billy Joel, prompting constant complaints from neighbors about violated noise ordinances.
Disgruntled locals felt the new resident upset the established order of a community that saw itself as a remnant of the Gilded Age.

(Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images).
But there’s one oft-overlooked fact about Mar-a-Lago that makes it a true case of fulfilled destiny.
Upon her death in 1973, Marjorie Post willed Mar-a-Lago to the National Park Service for use as–ironically–a Winter White House.

Mar-a-Lago circa 1960. (Photo: Florida Memory).
Presidents Nixon and Carter paid the property no attention. Eventually, the immense costs of maintaining the estate forced the government to return it to Post Foundation in 1981. Post’s descendants hoped to rid themselves of the financial burden by selling it.
Even after Mar-a-Lago was declared a National Historic Landmark, few potential buyers were interested. Until Donald Trump arrived on the scene.

Donald Trump shakes hands with President Reagan in 1987. (Photo: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library).
The flamboyant New York businessman wanted to break into Palm Beach, and unsuccessfully attempted to purchase and combine two apartments in the area.
When he learned Mar-a-Lago was up for sale, Trump offered the Post family $25 million. But the owners rejected him.
Not one to accept defeat, the future Commander-in-Chief paid KFC executive Jack C. Massey $2 million for the land between Mar-a-Lago and the ocean. When Trump said he would use the land to build a house that would block Mar-a-Lago’s lush beach view, its property value declined.

The tiled patio at Mar-a-Lago. (Mary Jordan/The Washington Post via Getty Images).
As a result, Trump ended up nabbing the historic estate for just $7 million.
The “Art of the Deal” author managed to keep hold of Mar-a-Lago through two divorces, using it as his top destination for getting away from the Big Apple’s hustle and bustle.

(Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images).
When Trump acquired Mar-a-Lago in 1985, few people imagined that 20 years later he would run for President–much less actually win.
As a matter of fact, the entrepreneur and pop culture icon was asked about his presidential ambitions for decades–but repeatedly dismissed rumors he was entertaining a political career.

Fate has a strange way of working. By an unexpected turn of events, Marjorie Post’s vision of having her prized estate serve as a Winter White House came true.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Dealing with grief, loneliness, and the holidays

Dealing with grief, loneliness, and the holidays 

Larry Peterson | Nov 22, 2017
I write this as a Catholic man, blessed with the gift of Faith. I do (for the most part) attend daily Mass and receive Holy Communion. I do all the things a “devout” and fully practicing Catholic does. I even do some things I do not have to do, like pray a Rosary every day.

What’s the point? The point is, I am not looking forward to the impending, holiday season.

In fact, its approach is becoming somewhat unnerving. I need all that Catholic stuff to kick in and do its “thing” and nothing is happening. When you lose a spouse the grief process takes you into unchartered waters.

I lost my wife last March and there are two things I have learned for sure: first; each and every one of us experiences grief and loneliness in our own unique way and second; my Catholic faith is my Fortress of Solitude (yes, like Superman). It is my place and no one else’s.

If you have suffered a loss this year, you know what I am talking about. We all have our special “alone place(s) – the “fortress” which no one else can see. When I step into mine, I am protected, nurtured and comforted by my Faith. I can even bawl my eyes out in there and no one can see me.

I like my “place,” my Catholic fortress.
Last Thanksgiving Day was the beginning of the end of my wife’s earthly life. A post-surgical staph infection gave way to other infections and things traveled downhill from there. She passed away in March, and now a year has gone by and here comes Thanksgiving, 2017, and I am sad. I am in grief. But I am grateful.
I am grateful for being a Catholic because it has helped me deal with my new reality – the one that began after the funeral, when I came home to an empty house and knew I was truly alone.

I did not like it at all. After years as a care giver, I had become very isolated, and less active than I had been at church. We are all different, so this may not suit you, but for me, for my new reality, it was important that I get right back into church activities.

It was surprisingly hard to do, at first. Going to Sunday Mass was not the same. The passenger seat in the car was empty and the seat next to me in church was empty. “Empty” was different now. It was not just “empty” – it was “forever empty.” That is a powerful reality. I still do not know how I made it through that. But it gets better.

It is still hard to look at the side of the bed she slept on, where she sat on the sofa, and all those other little things: her hair brush, hair curlers, makeup, slippers, shoes, and things, and let in the “forever empty.” Hello Catholic world, I need you now, cries the heart, and she heard me and has been there for me. She is my “Fortress of Solitude.”

The Church can be your “safe-harbor” or “safe-haven” or quiet place for respite. You can hide inside its prayer books and converse with our honored ones, the saints. They have all made it to the mountaintop. They have all experienced great grief and bereavement. They feel your pain and they have your back. They are close to the Christ and His Mom and they can intercede for you. So—talk to your favorite saint or one you do not know very well. They are waiting for you.

Remember this — you must somehow, someway, get out and get going. There are new “friends” and new experiences waiting for you. Put your Rosary in your pocket or in your purse and continue living. The deep wound from grief will heal over – the scar will always be there, but you can move on and forward, because God always has a plan.

Just remember that nothing will ever change the memories and the love for your departed loved one because they will live on within you. But God wants us, the living, to live our lives.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING  to everyone.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Living in the Zombie Age

Living in the Zombie Age

The Sutherland Springs shooter, who took the lives of 26 men, women, and children in a small Texas church, was, like scores of others before him, one of the living dead.

Dylan Klebold, James Holmes, Adam Lanza, Stephen Paddock, and Devin Patrick Kelley represent what the apostle Paul warned would characterize the latter days: people who, in the New Revised Standard Version rendering, are “inhuman.” Not inhuman as to “sub-human,” but “counter-human”—individuals who are set against humanity and their own humanness, often to the point of taking their own life after taking the lives of others, beings who are physically alive, but emotionally, socially, and morally dead—zombies.
In 1946 the proto-man of this strain was introduced by Albert Camus in his novel, The Stranger.

The StrangerThe title character of The Stranger is Meursault, a man out of harmony with the society in which he lives, a person for whom there is no rational order to the universe, no transcendent pegs for ultimate significance, and no fixed standards for human conduct; life is merely the sum-total of his autonomous actions, the moment-to-moment procession of sensory inputs.

As the story unfolds, Meursault drifts through life from one experience to the next in zombie-esque detachment until he fatally shoots a man, then fires four more rounds into the lifeless body. He later muses, “it was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness.”

The extent of his “inhumanity” is revealed at his execution when he wishes only for “a large crowd of spectators … [to] greet me with howls of hate.”
Importantly, Meursault’s crime was not the result of mental illness or “going postal,” but of a faulty worldview. Once he accepted the cosmos as uncaring and unsupervised, he was destined to conclude that fellow-creature sentiments were absurd, and that any action, even the choice to kill or not kill, was bereft of moral value—beliefs that would transmogrify him.
Twenty years later, Meursault was enfleshed, with a vengeance.

Incarnation
On July 14, 1966, eight student nurses were brutally murdered in a Chicago townhouse by a zombie. His name was Richard Speck.
In 1988 when asked in a prison interview why he killed the nurses, the middle-aged murderer quipped, “It just wasn’t their night.” When asked how he felt about his crime some 22 years later, Speck paused, then, with a Meursault-like insouciance, shrugged, “Like I always felt … had no feeling. If you’re asking me if I felt sorry, no.” In soulless detachment, he went on to describe the process of strangulation: “It’s not like TV ..it takes over three minutes and you have to have a lot of strength.”

While Speck was not a zombie of popular Hollywood depictions, he was, in a very real sense, like The Stranger, a counter-human, one of the living dead.
The Chicago townhouse murders marked the rise of what NY Times columnist David Brooks calls, the “spectacular rampage murder.” According to Brooks, from 1913 to around 1970, there were no more than two of these types of murders per decade. After that, the number of incidences shot up to nine in the 1980s, eleven in the 1990s and, as tallied by the FBI, 160 between 2000 and 2013.

The rise in such killings could not happen without the rise of a certain type of individual: a socially isolated person whom, psychotherapist Dr. Paul Hannig describes, “can’t feel the normal range of human emotions” and has lost “all sense of normal morality and impulse control”—a zombie.

The Counter-Human
The rampage murderer kills, says Dr. Hannig, in the belief that mass murder is “the solution to his problems.” He imagines that the spectacle of his crime will bring wide attention to the injustices he has had to bear. Through mass murder, he will assert his grievances and accomplish what he has failed to accomplish thus far: “to be heard, understood, and accepted.”

Similarly, mass murderers aren’t necessarily “crazed killers” or persons suffering some mental disorder—in fact, most are neither. A study published in The Southwest Journal of Criminal Justicereported that less than one-third of mass killers had any mental health concern.

Dr. Michael Stone, a professor of clinical psychiatry, concurs. After personally examining over 200 mass murderers, Dr. Stone found that “only 25 were ruled clinically insane.” The rest were “social misfits or angry loners” whose rage was triggered by “some event.”

Looking to Technocracy
Nevertheless, in the aftermath of the Texas church shooting there is, yet again, the vocal chorus calling for stricter gun controls and better mental health care. It reflects what Christian commentator, John Stonestreet, calls the technocratic worldview—the belief that:
All human problems and challenges, such as climate change, gun violence, and even terrorism, are problems that can be solved if only we apply the right techniques, which these days are almost always political steps: i.e., passing the right laws or public policies.

In this worldview, the world and all of its complexities can be reduced to mathematical models, and can thus be controlled by our best ideas and efforts. All of our problems, the logic continues, can be, if not eliminated, at least ameliorated.

But it’s a worldview that consistently fails. In the run-up to the financial crisis of 2008, Wall Street honestly believed it had mathematically solved the problem of risk. But it hadn’t. And there’s no reason to believe that the ‘something’ the critics of prayer are advocating will reduce, much less stop, the kind of carnage we continue to see across our nation.

As reported by the New York Times, the correlation between gun ownership and mass shootings suggests that fewer guns would lead to fewer rampage murders. The sad reality is that even if progressive technocrats succeeded in confiscating all firearms and ammunition in the country, it wouldn’t deter the counter-human from unleashing his inhumanity on society with explosives, chemicals, biotoxins, knives, and vehicles (all, of which, he has used).
And that points to a root cause that is neither material nor psychological, but cardiological: “out of the hearts of men come evil thoughts … murder,… malice,… arrogance and folly.”

Message of Meaninglessness
It should strike us, more than coincidental, that the rise in rampage killings began when the vapors of nihilism wafted out of coffee houses and college lecture halls to cover the cultural landscape from sea to shining sea.
Indeed, from the classroom to the art gallery to Friends and Seinfeld, the nihilistic message is clear: We are alone in an indifferent universe with nothing to give meaning to our existence but the sum-total of our personal experiences. And, for the restless soul chasing after the “meaningful” experience, a pop psychology is ready to light the way.

With a lump of Freudian theory, a dash of Kinseyian research, and liberal amounts of Maslow’s hierarchy, modern psychology promises meaning and self-discovery through the satisfaction of felt needs.

However, as psychology professor Dr. Paul Hannig notes in his book, Psychology as Religion, popular selfist theories have “led to large-scale disappointment.” Instead of the sought-after significance and fulfillment, the search-for-self often leads to frustration and failure—the dead-end job, the missed promotion, the layoff, the cancer diagnosis, bankruptcy, divorce, and broken relationships.

Is it any wonder that when these pile up on individuals conditioned to believe that personal happiness is the summum bonum of life, some become “social misfits” and others “angry loners”? And a few, a very few, take out their frustrations in an inhuman way; perhaps, like one of the walking dead?
The Sutherland Springs massacre is the latest reminder that the zombie is here, and he will continue to express his anger in ever more creative and destructive ways until we look beyond his choice of weapon and state of mind to the ideas that shaped him and to the Cardiologist who, alone, can transform his heart of stone to one of flesh.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Many Miracles of Solanus Casey

The Many Miracles of Solanus Casey

The Many Miracles of Solanus Casey

Detroit, Michigan, 1957

Thirty-eight-year-old Gladys Feighan is overjoyed, on a visit to St. John Hospital from her home in Utica, New York, to learn that Fr. Solanus Casey, “the best-loved man in Detroit,” is a patient there. It has been a dream of hers for years to get to Fr. Solanus, revered by so many as a living saint; but for some time his Capuchin Franciscan superiors at St. Bonaventure’s Monastery have made it hard for anyone to see the ailing eighty-six-year-old priest.

Before that, when he was “retired” to a Capuchin house in Huntington, Indiana, she had actually prepared to make a trip there, but both her physician and her pastor advised against travel because of her pregnancy.
Terrified to lose another baby, she had listened to them. And lost another child, she reflects sorrowfully.

Mrs. Feighan is a sufferer from the Rh blood factor. Like most women with this problem, her first pregnancy was normal. But since her first child, she has had one miscarriage and two babies born dead.
An acquaintance with a similar history made that trip to Indiana and has three more living children to show for it.

Now Gladys sees the brown hooded robe of a Capuchin in the corridor. Running after it, she begs the brother who is looking out for Fr. Solanus if she can please see the ill man “for just a few minutes.” Br. Gabriel can make no promises. Frail old Fr. Solanus has been brought in by ambulance, very sick with a skin infection, maybe dying. And people have no consideration. A woman who asked to see him for a minute stayed over half an hour. . . . The more Brother talks, the lower Gladys’s face falls. But in the end, he says he’ll go ask.

What he doesn’t tell Mrs. Feighan is that to ask is an empty formal­ity with Fr. Solanus: in his fifty-three years as a Capuchin priest, he has never said no to seeing anyone, whether it was the middle of the night, the middle of his meal, or the 150th person of a day. The man has abso­lutely no instinct for self-preservation. Because of his great devotion to his vow of obedience, he accepts the restrictions placed on him by supe­riors who know the mobs coming, phoning, and writing for his prayers day after day, year after year, have taken the last drops of the holy old friar’s strength. But he has been heard to groan to himself, “Oh, why must they keep me from seeing the people?” To give himself to God by giving himself to others until there is nothing left is the one desire of his Christlike heart.

Soon Gladys is in his room. Let her tell it as she related the experi­ence for the book The Porter of Saint Bonaventure’s:
When I entered . . . Father Solanus was sitting at a little table. He welcomed me, asking me to sit down. “What is your name?” he asked.
“Mrs. Feighan.”
“No — your given name?”
“Gladys.”
“What, Gladys, do you want from God?”
“I want a baby. Another baby.”
“A baby! For a woman to want a baby — how blessed. To hold God’s own creation in your own hands.”
I told him about my Rh factor; that I was well toward my middle thirties; that I feared it wouldn’t be long before I might be too old to bear children.
“I do so want another child,” I told him. “Perhaps I am selfish.”
“No,” he answered me, “you are not selfish. For a woman to want children is normal and blessed. Motherhood entails so many responsibilities — bringing up a child as it should be brought up is doing God’s work. One doesn’t always meet women who want children.”
[Gladys expressed concern about her children who had died before they could be baptized.]
“That’s not for you to concern yourself about,” he answered. “Just have confidence in our dear Lord’s infinite love.”

Father Solanus’s mind seemed above earthly things. He was ecstatic — so much so that I could hardly ask him a question. Af­ter answering my first few questions, he did nearly all the talking. His words to me were of God’s infinite love for us, and of how we should place all our confidence in that divine, all-embracing love. As he spoke, he was trembling with emotion. Finally he said, “Kneel down, and I will bless you, and your husband and all your family.”
The other Capuchin was there, and a Sister of St. Joseph [who was] one of the hospital sisters, and they knelt too.

Then he said to me, “You will have another child, Gladys. Your Blessed Mother will give you another child. You must be­lieve this with all your heart and soul. You must believe this so strongly that before your baby is born you will get down on your knees and thank the Blessed Mother [for her intercession]. Be­cause once you ask her, and thank her, there’s nothing she can do but go to her own Son and ask Him to grant your prayer that you have a baby.”
Tears were in his eyes.
When I reached home, I was shaken for a couple of days but uplifted. I felt confident, happy.

Not long after, on July 31, 1957, the mystic Franciscan, conscious to the last, died peacefully. He was buried in the small Franciscan graveyard next to St. Bonaventure’s. There, several years later, Gladys came with her children. She had become pregnant in 1962. Her doctors feared another dead child. But she was jubilant and confident. That confidence was rewarded — with twins.
Others had similar tales of graces received. The mother of Capuchin missionary Bishop Cuthbert Gumbinger told her son in 1959 that she attributed her recovery from a heart attack to the intercession of Solanus. Bishop Gumbinger was no doubter: Fr. Solanus had appeared to him in a dream and immediately afterward obtained several things the missionary needed.

Gladys Redfern was another grateful individual. In 1964 three examinations and x-rays showing a tumor in her breast, she entered High­land Park General Hospital in Detroit for surgery May 22, the following morning. In her prayers she was asking Father Solanus’s intercession that the lump might prove benign. That night the doctor stopped by her room and made his last examination before the operation. The lump was gone.

The Wonderworker of the Soup Kitchen

Solanus Casey
This article is from “Nothing Short of a Miracle.” Click image to learn about how other modern saints have brought miracles to many.
Because of his special love for the poor, Fr. Solanus loved to help out at the Capuchins’ soup kitchen whenever his callers gave him a free hour. Capuchin author Michael H. Crosby reports the two following incidents: Ray McDonough was a soup kitchen volunteer whose daughter Rita gave birth to a little girl with a clubfoot. Ray asked Fr. Solanus to visit the baby. The Franciscan did. Holding the little foot in one hand, he blessed it in the name of the Trinity. On the next viewing, the same doctor who had pointed out the clubfoot to the mother scratched his head and said that the foot was perfect. Baby Carol grew up to become a mother herself without ever having any foot trouble.

Arthur Rutledge, who worked for the fire department, was another soup kitchen volunteer. He was being rolled into the operating room in a Detroit hospital one day when Fr. Solanus happened by.
“Hey, Art, what’s up?”
Art explained he had a tumor.
“Where is it?”
“In my abdomen — my stomach.”
Solanus put his hand on the area.
“Have the doctors give you a last check before they operate,” he said a minute later before continuing down the hall.
Art did. The tumor was gone.

Restoring Sight

When he was “retired” to Indiana, Fr. Solanus also gave a helping hand to Fr. Elmer Stoffel, with whom he helped care for the Capuchins’ beehives. One day around 1950 Fr. Elmer was stung by several bees. When Solanus saw his confrere on the ground rolling in pain, he immediately blessed him. Elmer at that time was blind to Solanus’s holiness and, in fact, disliked him so much that he sent many a barbed comment the healer’s way. Yet, to his chagrin, he had to admit that the second he was blessed, the pain vanished.

William King of Detroit, the son of a Protestant clergyman, had se­rious eye trouble. His Catholic boss at the Grand Trunk Railway sug­gested he see Fr. Solanus. King demurred until his doctor said one of his eyes would have to be removed to try to save the sight in the other one. So dim was his vision that his wife had to lead him into the porter’s of­fice. Fr. Solanus urged the couple, since they wanted a favor from God, to do something for Him in return. He suggested they begin attending their Protestant church every Sunday instead of just whenever they felt like it. King’s eyes were cured.

So were many other sick or weak eyes — like those of John J. Regan of the Detroit News. In 1929 hot casting lead (used in newspaper pro­duction) blew up in his face. When Mrs. Regan got to Harper Hospital, she saw her husband’s chart and the diagnosis “permanently blinded.” She passed out. Coming to, she rushed to Fr. Solanus, who promised her John would see. Back she ran to the physician who had just operated on her husband. He assured her gravely that was impossible: the best her husband could hope for would be to tell light from dark. Two weeks later, when John Regan’s eyes were unbandaged and he said, “I see you,” to the physician, the man declared it a miracle. Regan’s vision tested excellent.

Leonard

As the 1940s opened, real-estate man Luke Leonard saw himself as “an alcoholic bum.” Living in a seedy hotel, he decided one day he was getting nowhere “tapering off.” Without any hope of success, he mustered the courage to quit cold turkey.
At once he plunged into the nightmare of delirium tremens, hallucinating monsters and trembling uncontrollably. Walking the streets hour after hour, he bought a soft drink, only to find he shook too badly to get it to his mouth unaided.
Low-voiced Fr. Solanus usually saw everyone in one room, but he took Leonard behind closed doors and let him pour out his fear, self-loathing, and near despair. Two or three times another friar peered in, saying, “Fr. Solanus, others are waiting, some from out of town.”
“Ask them to wait a little longer,” and the white-bearded priest went on listening.
Finally Leonard ran down. Fr. Solanus leaned toward him. “When did you get over your sickness?”
“You mean my drunk, Father?” Leonard replied, doubly astounded. In that era alcoholism was not considered an illness, nor could anyone consider Luke Leonard free of addiction. Then Fr. Solanus laughed, a laugh Leonard says was “gentle and encouraging.”
A few minutes later the drinker was back on the street, but now he felt, he says, “strengthened and with a free, elevated spirit.”
He never took another drink.

Fr. Solanus Casey Continues His Work

After Fr. Solanus’s death, some of his lay friends got the Capuchin’s’ permission to form the Father Solanus Guild. To them, Fr. Solanus’s life was a model for followers of Christ. To make that life known and promote his Cause, they collected both his writings — mainly letters — and testimonies about him from those he converted, counseled, and / or healed. In the twenty-first century, the Guild stocks biographies and other materials to help others know Fr. Solanus. It also continues to accept prayer requests for his intercession. The Guild’s own publication, like a visit with him, gives spiritual inspiration through Fr. Solanus’s words and reports healings and favors people are still ascribing to the humble Capuchin’s prayers.

As early as 1966, reports of twenty-four important cures after his death were sent to Rome, although his Cause was not formally opened until 1982. His heroic virtues have been recognized by the title Venerable since 1995.

The following sampling of reported cures testifies that Fr. Solanus after death is still as compassionate and willing to bring others’ needs to God as he was when he gently greeted the troubled and sick in places like New York and Detroit.

An Illinois woman writes: “When I was five months pregnant, I was hospitalized for an undiagnosed illness. For two to three weeks I had bouts of fever with extremely elevated heart rates. When no cure could be found, my aunt enrolled me in the Father Solanus Guild without my knowing it. The fever suddenly broke that very same day and did not return.” The letter next tells how the baby she bore was healed from the undeveloped-lungs syndrome that can menace infant lives.

Someone’s son, who has had a heart attack five years earlier, suffers cardiac arrest. His mother begs Fr. Solanus’s prayers. Twenty-four days later, the son is back at work. Best, tests show no damage to the heart.

A December 2008 report from England is another heart healing. “You [The Capuchins] kindly promised prayers for my heart . . . [They] were heard in a most unexpected way. When I saw the cardiology sur­geon before Christmas, I was told that my enlarged heart was now nor­mal size. It was hard to take in as I had never been told that this was possible.”

In 2009 Fr. Solanus’s prayers are sought that no one be hurt during work on a rickety old barn. The eighteen-year-old helper of the person praying suddenly plunges eight feet through an upper floor to land on rocks, just laughs, and walks away!

A person disabled for over twenty years but able to function independently becomes ashamed to go out because of drooling from a shaking mouth / chin. To the doctor’s surprise, after a month’s persistent prayers for Fr. Solanus’s intercession, the unsightly symptom vanishes.

A young husband sends his thanks. His wife had been in a Connecti­cut hospital where extensive tests reviewed by three doctors revealed lymphoma tumors in the kidney and pelvis. The man added his wife to those seeking the dead Capuchin’s intercessory prayers. Exploratory sur­gery found no malignancy — and no tumors. The letter ends, “I honestly think that Fr. Solanus’s intercession resulted in a clean bill of health.”

From New York, a 2006 report: “A chest x-ray revealed something suspicious on one lung. A CT scan was ordered. Cancer was suspected so a PET scan followed. Turning to Solanus’ prayers, the patient four days later received good news: all negative, probably just a scar from childhood pneumonia.”

From New England, the grateful parent of a fifteen-year-old boy writes:
My son, age 15, was diagnosed as having lymphoma [cancer of the lymph-node system]. Two biopsies were done. The surgeon told us that he was quite sure the biopsies would be malignant and that we should not even consider that they would be benign. We were devastated, but we told the surgeon that we believed in miracles. We asked for the intercession of Fr. Solanus.
Praise be to God, the biopsies were benign and the surgeon was amazed. My son had further testing with an oncologist and all was fine. I thank Fr. Solanus for his intercession and I praise the Holy Name of God. Fr. Solanus’s intercession must be so powerful before the throne of God.
Amen.

http://catholicexchange.com/many-miracles-solanus-casey
Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a chapter in Patricia Treece’s Nothing Short of a Miracle: God’s Healing Power in Modern Saintswhich is available through Sophia Institute Press
image: By Mahatma Gandhi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Purgatory and the Communion of Saints

Purgatory and the Communion of Saints

Purgatory and the Communion of Saints
“No man is an island,” so Pope Benedict XVI reminds us in his encyclical letter Spe Salvi (“Saved in Hope”).  We are each bound to one another “through innumerable interactions” so that: “No one lives alone.  No one sins alone.  No one is saved alone.”  Pope Benedict exhorts us to ask, “what can I do in order that others may be saved? . . . Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well.”  Salvation is a social reality.  The letter to the Hebrews speaks of the community of believers coming together in a city. Heaven, as a city full of people, is a place of communal salvation. Sin, on the other hand, introduced the “destruction of the unity of the human race.” While man’s original unity was torn apart by sin, the work of redemption aims to heal that disintegration, as Benedict discerns, “redemption appears as the reestablishment of unity.”

Each believer is an interconnected cell in the Mystical Body of Christ.  We are a band of brothers and sisters, bound together in hope and love, in a confraternal exchange of supernatural charity.  Even now, the saints of Church Militant on earth, are surrounded by “so great a cloud of witnesses” – Church Penitent (or Church Suffering) in purgatory and Church Triumphant in heaven.  The Communion of Saints live in a symbiotic relationship: the saints in heaven and purgatory interceding for those on the earth, while the believers on the earth ask for their heavenly intercession.  And, in this month of November, dedicated to the souls in purgatory, we recall our special role in this symbiotic relationship while still alive: to pray, sacrifice and intercede for the dearly departed souls in purgatory.

Those in purgatory have died in God’s grace and friendship and are “assured of their eternal salvation,” however, they are “still imperfectly purified” and must necessarily “undergo purification” to enter into heaven (CCC 1030), for nothing unclean enters into it. (Rev. 21:27)  Jesus spoke of purgatory, alluding to it as a “prison,” in which we pay for our sins down to “the very last penny”:
“Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.” (Lk. 12:58-59)
St. Paul similarly tells the Corinthians that we all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and are subject to a “purifying fire;” they “will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Cor. 3:15)  The encounter with Christ is one of grace and judgment.  Benedict describes this eloquently:
“Grace does not cancel out justice.  It does not make wrong into right.  It is not a sponge which wipes everything away, so that whatever someone has done on earth ends up being of equal value. . . . Evildoers, in the end, do not sit at table at the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction, as though nothing had happened.” (Spe Salvi, 44)  Even after Confession, we must still make penance.

The departed faithful souls in purgatory do have to make recompense for their sins to satisfy the perfect justice of God.  We can, however, assist them in that.  The Catechism (CCC 1032) quotes an example from Scripture saying, “Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.” (2 Macc. 12:45)  And so, how do we as Christians make atonement for the dead?  The Catechism clarifies this:
“From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.  The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead.”
We are called to be intercessors, for both the living and the dead.  We can offer up our prayers, sacrifices and sufferings on behalf of the poor souls in purgatory, for they can no longer merit for themselves.  But, God has deigned through the Communion of the Saints that we can make up for others what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.  For, we are “God’s fellow workers” (1 Cor. 3:9), contributing to the salvation of souls.  We can do this through our prayers, such as praying the rosary for those in purgatory.  We can offer penances, and sacrifices.  We can give alms, and do acts of charity on behalf of the deceased person.

Benedict also recommends a particular devotion for everyday life, that is, “offering up” all the minor daily hardships of the day.  We can “insert these little annoyances into Christ’s great ‘com-passion’ so that they somehow became part of the treasury of compassion so greatly needed by the human race.”  We can offer up those petty annoyances throughout the day whatever they might be, slow traffic, the heat, the pestering co-worker, etc.  “In this way, even the small inconveniences of daily life could acquire meaning.” (Spe Salvi, 40)  We can be assured that our efforts, prayers and sacrifices are efficacious and capable of mitigating the suffering of those in purgatory. (CCC 958)

Most importantly, we can offer the sacrifice of the Mass, and indulgences granted by the Church, for souls in purgatory.  You can contact your Church and have a mass offered for your beloved deceased.  Another beautiful gift is the tradition going back to Pope Gregory the Great of offering “Gregorian Masses” for deceased persons on thirty consecutive days.  These are generally not done now in parishes, but in monasteries, seminaries, and other religious institutions.

The efficaciousness of intercession for those in purgatory has received mystical confirmation too.  One such mystic was St. Faustina.  She wrote in her Divine Mercy diary about a soul, a recently deceased nun, who visited her from purgatory requesting her prayers.  Upon first visiting her, the sister was in “terrible condition,” but after some undisclosed amount of time of praying for her, the nun eventually returned and “her face was radiant, her eyes beaming with joy.”  She would soon be released from purgatory and conveyed to her that many souls had “profited from my prayers.”  Similarly, in the Divine Mercy Novena, dictated to St. Faustina by Jesus, He asks us to offer the eighth day for the souls in purgatory.  He told St. Faustina, “It is in your power to bring them relief.  Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf.  Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice.” (Diary, 1226)  Memorializing a person is nice, but prayer for the deceased may be what they truly need.

Thus, it is within our power as members of the Communion of Saints to assist the poor souls in purgatory in the process of their purification and sanctification.  Our prayers and sacrifices can help pay off their debts.  In turn, in gratefulness for the merit we win for them, they will surely pray and intercede for us, until, at last, in heaven we will meet all those who we have helped, undoubtedly to our surprise.  Also, lest we put our earthly time limits upon God, we should remember to pray even for those who have died long ago.  God, who exists outside of time in eternity, receives all of our prayers and sacrifices in the eternal present, and can merit a soul whether long since dead or in purgatory.  So, out of love for our family and friends, let us do our part in supernatural charity for the souls in purgatory, who may be most in need of our help.
image: By Lorenzo di Niccolò Italian, Florentine, documented 1393-1412 – Artist (Italian, Florentine)Details of artist on Google Art Project [Public domain],