Jul 10, 2008

Papa Benedict XVI, the Juggler

If there has ever been a master juggler of a Pope, Papa Benedict XVI is It. Think about how many fiery hot rings he has been given to juggle--all at the same time! And not one of these can be dropped without serious spiritual and historical repercussions. At times it seems Pope Benedict is juggling the entire future of world history in his hands, as he attempts to:
  1. Restore the liturgy
  2. Inspire and train youth to follow Jesus Christ
  3. Continue dialogue with the Orthodox, especially to build up a Christian defense against Secularism that is responsible for the death of Christian culture in western countries
  4. Integrate the Chinese Patriotic Church without offending the long-time loyal Underground Church in China
  5. Resolve the irregular situation of the Society of St. Pius X
  6. Clean the Vatican house of insubordination
  7. Deal with the sexual scandals caused by priests
  8. Strengthen the hierarchy with firmly Catholic bishops
  9. Halt the progress of militant Islam
  10. Welcome traditionalists of other churches that oppose women priests and homosexuality
  11. Affirm and promote the Church's positions on a multitude of important religious and social issues
  12. Write a new (third) encyclical that will be issued this fall
I believe that if anyone on earth needs our prayers at this time, it is 82-year old Papa Benedict XVI. I don't see how he can avoid dropping one of these heavy, hot rings unless he receives the benefit of your many prayers.

Jul 9, 2008

Miracle of a Praying Woman

Several times in my life, I have seen very good things happen because of special spiritual circumstances and much intense prayer. This is one story, and several others will follow.

The old woman had lost most of her sight in one eye because of 'dry' macular degeneration. Once I asked her to cover her good eye and tell me about the vehicle ahead of us. She said she could see only to the sides, and couldn't see anything in front. Actually a big yellow school bus was right in front of us!

Eventually the lady's good eye began to deteriorate due to age-related 'wet' macular degeneration (wet AMD). Several laser surgeries were performed to stop the bleeding, but the disease was clearly becoming worse. The poor woman was very distraught because she knew she was going completely blind, and the doctor confirmed that the vision in her remaining eye was now worse than 20/500.

The old woman told me she was not able to read her daily prayers which she kept in a 3-ring binder. Someone had photocopied and significantly enlarged the print of the prayers, but even the very large letters were now indistinguishable. One of her daily prayers was to retain enough sight so that she could continue to read her prayers every morning.

A new treatment with Macugen injections had just been announced and the doctor decided to try the drug on the almost blind woman. The genetically engineered treatment is considered very helpful to halt further progress of wet AMD. However, the doctor noted that patients who start Macugen after wet AMD becomes advanced (as was this woman's disease) cannot expect much if any improvement.

After the course of treatment was completed, the praying woman had recovered most of her sight--better than 20/60 in the wet AMD-affected eye. The doctor marveled at her miraculous improvement and called her a "poster child" for Macugen. He said none of his other 60 patients had recovered their sight as well as this very old woman had.

Strangely, the elderly lady says that while she can now easily read her prayers, she still has a hard time seeing other things. My own opinion is that God gave her back the only sight she really needs.