Health Problems

February 17, 2018

The Challenge of Being in a Service Business

Last month, on January 21, 2018, I celebrated the 35th anniversary of the opening my law practice. I graduated from law school in May 1982, and received my license to practice law in November 1982. Two months later, on January 21, 1983, I rented an office from an established Peoria attorney.

Nine years later (1992), I hired my first associate attorney. At that time, I was 35 years old. The attorney that I hired was 10 years younger than me, and had just graduated from law school.

At the time that I hired the attorney, I had an office manager, two full-time secretaries, a full-time receptionist, and a part-time secretary. Hiring an attorney was a big step for me, and I didn’t feel as though I knew enough about running a business to continue to move forward without some assistance.

The same year that I hired the attorney, I signed a contract with Gerber Business Development Corporation to provide me with coaching on how to properly run and grow my business. I had committed to paying the attorney a large salary and I didn’t want to make any catastrophic mistakes in managing and growing my law firm.

I found out about the Gerber company when I read a book that was written by its founder, Michael Gerber. The title of the book was, The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. What Gerber said in his book about small businesses in America hit a raw nerve with me.

I had previously represented several business clients who had done well for a while and then, for one reason or another, had made mistakes that caused their businesses to fail. I had also handled several bankruptcies for individuals who had failed in their own businesses. Many of the businessmen that Gerber wrote about in his book reminded me of my own clients and their failure to succeed in their businesses.

February 10, 2018

The Death of a Special Christ-Like Priest

Georgette and I met on August 4, 1978, when we were both 21 years old. We were married in June 1980, while I was on break from law school. Ten months later, in March 1981, we had our first child, Harry. I graduated from law school in May of the following year.

We moved back to Peoria during the summer of 1982. At that time, Georgette was pregnant with our second child, Anna. I started my law practice in January 1983, and Anna was born the following month. We had our third child, Maria, 13 months later, in March 1984. When Maria was born, I was 26 years old.

It was during this period of time that my mom and my sister Colleen started commenting about how I had become too serious and I needed to lighten up. Colleen is a year and a half younger than me, and of my eight sisters, she was the one I was closest to while we were growing up.

When my mom and sister told me that I had become too serious, I hadn’t realized that my behavior had changed from the young, carefree guy who liked to have a good time and tease other people to an older guy who felt overwhelmed by the burdens of life.

But I wasn’t bothered by their comments about my being too serious. To me, that was what responsible adults did — they grew up and did their best to care for and support their families. In some respects, my mom and my sister were correct. My newfound responsibilities made me feel overwhelmed. At times, I felt as though I was doing well just to keep my head above water. Georgette and I had three babies in three years — Maria was born on Harry’s third birthday — and I was doing my best to support my family while managing my law practice.

Now, more than 30 years later, Georgette and I have 13 grandchildren, with three more on the way. I’m still serious, but I’m having more fun now than I’ve had in years. I’ve given myself permission to lighten up and revert to my childhood when I’m around my grandchildren. Their parents sometimes get irritated with me because they think I get their children riled up too much. But that’s OK with me, because I’m finally able to do what my mom and my sister wanted me to do all those years ago.

February 3, 2018

A Dream & The Greatest Showman

I recently joined my wife and some of our children at a local theater to see the movie, The Greatest Showman. The movie is a musical about the life of P.T. Barnum. It begins when Barnum is a boy. He is the son of a poor tailor who does work for a wealthy man. The man looks down on Barnum and his father, because of their lower-class status.

Barnum is a fun-loving boy who is infatuated with the wealthy man’s daughter. The man knows that Barnum likes his daughter and makes it clear to Barnum that he’ll never be good enough for her. After that, the daughter is sent to finishing school for several years. While she is away at school, she and Barnum continue to keep in contact by writing letters to each other.

Years later, when the daughter returns home from school, she is reunited with Barnum. They end up getting married and starting a family. After borrowing money from a local bank, Barnum buys an old museum building in downtown Manhattan. He then sets up Barnum’s American Museum, which showcases wax figures.

After struggling to make his new business work, Barnum’s children tell him that instead of featuring wax figures, he needs to have characters who are “alive.” Barnum likes the idea and begins searching for and hiring “freaks” to serve as performers. As he is rounding up his new cast of characters, Barnum sings the unique and mesmerizing song, Come Alive.

As Barnum’s new show gains popularity in New York, a reporter for the New York Herald is highly critical of Barnum and his “freak show.” The reporter’s columns about Barnum and his show stir up trouble among certain people in the community, including the upper-class members of the community.

To enhance his reputation with the upper-class, Barnum convinces Philip Carlisle, a local playwright from a wealthy family, to join him in his business. To raise Barnum’s status, Carlisle arranges a trip to Europe for Barnum and his cast of characters to meet Queen Victoria.

January 27, 2018

Why is That Church in a Music Video?

I’ve written before about how I was involved in music during my high school and college years. When I was a senior in high school, I formed a barbershop quartet with three of my friends. I did the same thing in college. While my high school quartet had a limited number of performances, my college quartet performed at several community functions and events.

I’ve always been a big fan of quartets and other a cappella groups. One of the groups that I currently pay attention to is Home Free, an American a cappella singing group that consists of five young men. Home Free got its big break in 2013, when it won a competition on the NBC television show, The Sing-Off. The grand prize that year was $100,000, plus a recording contract with Sony.

Last month, Home Free performed at the Peoria Civic Center. Georgette and I attended the show with some friends. My favorite Home Free song is How Great Thou Art. The music video of the song is posted on YouTube. The video has generated more than 13 million views.

In the video, the group is standing on a hill that is surrounded by several hundred acres of land. The scenery in the background includes cascading slopes and mountains. The beautiful harmony of the group is matched by the gorgeous land that surrounds them. The only building in the video is a small country church, which shows up in a field near the end of the video.

I have the video saved on an iPad that sits on a stand on my bathroom counter. Ordinarily, when I’m in the bathroom in the morning getting ready for work, I use the iPad to play educational, self-improvement, or religious recordings. In the evening while I’m getting ready for bed, I usually use the iPad to listen to music.

My son, Harry, and his wife Kathryn live about five minutes away from where my wife and I live. Because they live so close to us, they’re able to stop by our house to visit on a regular basis. Whenever they stop by for a visit, their two oldest sons, Harry and Liam, immediately start looking around the house for me. Harry is 5 years old and Liam is 3 years old.

January 20, 2018

Why Is It So Hard To Practice Patience?

It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while, I complain directly to God about something that’s bothering me. Last week, my frustration with an ongoing issue finally got to the point that one of my thoughts went up to God in the form of a question: Why can’t you just have an angel appear to me in a dream and tell me what to do? I’m tired of playing these cat and mouse games where I’m always struggling to try to figure out what I should do.

Of course, I immediately felt guilty about addressing God in this manner. Who did I think I was? A prophet? King Solomon? Saint Joseph?

But I get extremely frustrated at times, because while I want to do the right thing, I often feel as though I need specific direction from God. Although I’ve always been good at solving problems, I don’t like it when I have to wait on God to reveal pieces of the puzzle that are needed to solve the problem I’m struggling with.

I’m convinced that one of the primary reasons God operates this way is to teach me the virtues of humility and patience. If He sent an angel to tell me how to solve my problems, I wouldn’t need to learn and practice humility and patience. I would simply wait for instructions from the angel and then take credit for being a special child of God.

Most of us fail to realize that in order to really be humble, we must first suffer humiliations. And we must accept whatever humiliations that come our way with love and gratitude. While humility is the most important of all virtues, the virtue of patience has to be among the top five virtues. Why? Because it’s so difficult to put into practice.

Last week, I wrote about the three grades of patience, which are, to bear difficulties without interior complaint, to use hardships to make progress in virtue, and to desire the cross and afflictions out of love for God and accept them with spiritual joy. It would be impossible to put the three grades of patience into practice if we were to try to do it without God’s assistance.

January 13, 2018

The Difficulties That Arise After Years of Marriage

Last week, I wrote about a couple who was having financial problems because of the husband’s inability to work. Here’s what I wrote at the end of the article:
I’ve been a lawyer for more than 35 years. I’ve dealt with hundreds of couples who, after years of marriage, are facing an unexpected crisis. You would think that after being married for 20 or more years, married couples would be more patient and forgiving of each other than they were when they were newly married. But that’s usually not the case. The fact that they’ve spent years together seems to somehow inhibit their ability to practice real patience and forgiveness toward each other.

Instead of being patient and forgiving, they’re extremely frustrated and angry with each other. Why?

When couples get married, there’s always great hope for the future. With that hope comes the expectation that they will be able to work out all their problems. There is also an expectation that they will someday be able to overcome whatever bad habits or deficiencies they have.

Unfortunately, as each year passes, nothing really changes. Husbands and wives stop making the effort that is required to please each other. It’s almost as if they’ve been through too much together. They’re worn out and exhausted. They’ve run out of patience.

I’ve written before about a saying that is common in the business world: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” This saying stands for the proposition that the more familiar you are with a person, the more contemptible that person becomes.

Over time, as people in the business world become more familiar with each other, their defects and weaknesses become more evident. They are exposed to and become tired of each other’s excuses, bad habits, broken promises, lack of respect, mood swings, angry outbursts, and lack of appreciation. Before long, their patience wears thin, and the slightest infraction causes them to treat each other with contempt.

January 6, 2018

Something Married Couples Face After Years of Marriage

Last week, I had an appointment with a man — I’ll call him Jim — who hired me eight months ago to represent him on a personal injury case. As usual, Jim brought his wife with him to the appointment. I’ve met with Jim and his wife on four occasions over the past eight months. Jim was injured when a large truck disregarded a stop sign and collided with his vehicle in the middle of an intersection. Because of his injuries, Jim has not been able to return to work. He’s been without an income for eight months.

Jim and his wife are in their late 30s. He’s a skilled tradesman who has been a member of a trade union for more than 20 years. Jim has never had any problem finding work, primarily because he is willing to travel to other states to work, when necessary. Since the accident, Jim’s financial situation has become progressively worse. He has had to borrow money to support his wife and children, and he also recently cashed in part of his retirement, so he could keep up with his bills.

Prior to the accident, Jim’s wife did not work outside the home. A few months after the accident, she felt that she had no other choice but to get a job, so she applied for and secured a job at a local business.

Each of the times I’ve met with Jim, he’s been upbeat and happy. He’s an intelligent, good-natured person who likes to talk and tell stories. His wife has come to all his appointments and has always been courteous and friendly — until last week.

Last week, when I entered the conference room to meet with them, Jim was the same as he’s always been, but his wife was quiet and had an angry look on her face. Her demeanor indicated to me that she and Jim either argued on the way to my office, or she was fed up with his situation.

I talked to Jim about his condition and he indicated to me that he was still receiving physical therapy three times a week. He said that he probably wasn’t going to be able to return to work for at least another 10 to 12 months. He told me that before the accident, he worked at the same trade for 20 years.

December 30, 2017

What Did Mary Really Know?

Every year during the Christmas Season, there are articles published that are critical of the song, Mary Did You Know. As expected, in early December, Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ, published an article with the title, “The Problem With ‘Mary Did You Know.’” In the article, Fr. McTeigue criticized the following lyrics: “Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new? This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.”

Fr. McTeigue’s complaint was that the lyrics imply that Mary was a sinner who needed to be delivered from her sins. This is contrary to Catholic doctrine which states that Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin from the moment of her immaculate conception, which allowed her to be a pure vessel in which the Son of God could be conceived and born without ever having come into contact with sin.

Another article that was published before Christmas stated that the song implies that Mary was not fully aware that she was the mother of God. The article went on to say that anyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that Mary possessed knowledge that she was the Mother of God, not only because of the Angel Gabriel’s announcement (Luke 1:26-56), but also because of her “song of praise” — known as “The Magnificat” — which indicated that she was aware of her role in the salvation of mankind. Here are the first two sentences of the Magnificat:

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his handmaid. For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; for he who is mighty, has done great things for me and holy is his name. (Luke 1:46-49)

Whenever I read anything about the life of Mary, I think about a book that I read in the early 1980s, while I was in law school. The title of the book was, The Life of The Blessed Virgin Mary. The content for the book was taken from the recorded visions of the well-known 19th-century Catholic mystic, Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774 – 1824).

February 10, 2018

The Death of a Special Christ-Like Priest

Georgette and I met on August 4, 1978, when we were both 21 years old. We were married in June 1980, while I was on break from law school. Ten months later, in March 1981, we had our first child, Harry. I graduated from law school in May of the following year.

We moved back to Peoria during the summer of 1982. At that time, Georgette was pregnant with our second child, Anna. I started my law practice in January 1983, and Anna was born the following month. We had our third child, Maria, 13 months later, in March 1984. When Maria was born, I was 26 years old.

It was during this period of time that my mom and my sister Colleen started commenting about how I had become too serious and I needed to lighten up. Colleen is a year and a half younger than me, and of my eight sisters, she was the one I was closest to while we were growing up.

When my mom and sister told me that I had become too serious, I hadn’t realized that my behavior had changed from the young, carefree guy who liked to have a good time and tease other people to an older guy who felt overwhelmed by the burdens of life.

But I wasn’t bothered by their comments about my being too serious. To me, that was what responsible adults did — they grew up and did their best to care for and support their families. In some respects, my mom and my sister were correct. My newfound responsibilities made me feel overwhelmed. At times, I felt as though I was doing well just to keep my head above water. Georgette and I had three babies in three years — Maria was born on Harry’s third birthday — and I was doing my best to support my family while managing my law practice.

Now, more than 30 years later, Georgette and I have 13 grandchildren, with three more on the way. I’m still serious, but I’m having more fun now than I’ve had in years. I’ve given myself permission to lighten up and revert to my childhood when I’m around my grandchildren. Their parents sometimes get irritated with me because they think I get their children riled up too much. But that’s OK with me, because I’m finally able to do what my mom and my sister wanted me to do all those years ago.

January 13, 2018

The Difficulties That Arise After Years of Marriage

Last week, I wrote about a couple who was having financial problems because of the husband’s inability to work. Here’s what I wrote at the end of the article:
I’ve been a lawyer for more than 35 years. I’ve dealt with hundreds of couples who, after years of marriage, are facing an unexpected crisis. You would think that after being married for 20 or more years, married couples would be more patient and forgiving of each other than they were when they were newly married. But that’s usually not the case. The fact that they’ve spent years together seems to somehow inhibit their ability to practice real patience and forgiveness toward each other.

Instead of being patient and forgiving, they’re extremely frustrated and angry with each other. Why?

When couples get married, there’s always great hope for the future. With that hope comes the expectation that they will be able to work out all their problems. There is also an expectation that they will someday be able to overcome whatever bad habits or deficiencies they have.

Unfortunately, as each year passes, nothing really changes. Husbands and wives stop making the effort that is required to please each other. It’s almost as if they’ve been through too much together. They’re worn out and exhausted. They’ve run out of patience.

I’ve written before about a saying that is common in the business world: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” This saying stands for the proposition that the more familiar you are with a person, the more contemptible that person becomes.

Over time, as people in the business world become more familiar with each other, their defects and weaknesses become more evident. They are exposed to and become tired of each other’s excuses, bad habits, broken promises, lack of respect, mood swings, angry outbursts, and lack of appreciation. Before long, their patience wears thin, and the slightest infraction causes them to treat each other with contempt.

July 8, 2017

Lawyer Meets Doctor

In 1996, my wife, Georgette, started experiencing severe headaches. At the time, she was pregnant. She went to her doctor and after an examination was told there was a growth behind her left eardrum. Her doctor referred her to Dr. Peter Smith, a specialist in St. Louis, and told her that she needed to see him as soon as possible.

Two weeks later, Georgette and I met with Dr. Smith. Prior to her appointment, she had an MRI. When we met with Dr. Smith, he had the results of the MRI in front of him. After he examined her ear with some high-tech equipment, he explained to us that Georgette had a paraganglioma tumor attached to her left eardrum.

He explained to us that the tumor needed to be removed. The surgical procedure that he recommended required that he cut along the crease of her left ear where the skin was attached to her skull. He then had to pull the ear away from her skull and cut away the tumor. He said that he thought that her eardrum could be repaired after the tumor was removed, but he warned us that there was a possibility that she could permanently lose her hearing in her left ear.

I had come to the appointment with a legal pad, and I took detailed notes while the doctor answered my questions. I asked so many questions that at one point he blurted out, “What’s with all the questions? You’re either a Type A personality or a lawyer. Which one is it?”

I calmly responded, “I’m a Type A personality, Doc.” He shot back, “No, you’re a lawyer. I can pick out a lawyer from a mile away.”

“You’re right,” I replied. “I am a lawyer, but I’ve always asked a lot of questions. My mom told me that the first word I learned was ‘Why?’ She said that after that I drove her nuts, because all I did was follow her around the house and ask her questions. You don’t need to feel threatened by my questions. I happen to be a man who loves his wife and only wants what’s best for her.”

January 28, 2017

Her Smile Could Light Up The World

LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 10: Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore for The Dick Van Dyke Show. Image dated October 10, 1962. Hollywood, CA. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES – OCTOBER 10: Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore for The Dick Van Dyke Show. Image dated October 10, 1962. Hollywood, CA. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

If you were a teenager during the 1970s, you’ll remember most of these TV shows: All in the Family, The Carol Burnett Show, Bob Newhart, Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, Marcus Welby, MD, M*A*S*H, Happy Days, The Rockford Files, The Brady Bunch, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Sanford and Son, Good Times, The Jeffersons, Columbo, Hawaii Five-O, and Starsky and Hutch.

It has been said that the 1970s was the “Golden Age of Television.” Unlike most of today’s TV shows, the television shows of the 1970s were family oriented. They were well written, and provided wholesome entertainment. Unfortunately, today, most TV shows promote and glorify premarital sex, homosexuality, adultery, violence, and/or single-parent households.

One of the most popular TV shows of the 1970s was a show that was named after the popular actress, Mary Tyler Moore. At the time that the show was launched, Mary Tyler Moore was already a well-known TV actress who had played a housewife in The Dick Van Dyke Show, which was a popular weekly series from 1961 to 1966.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show premiered in 1970 and lasted seven years. In the show, Moore’s character was Mary Richards, a single woman who worked in a man’s world and was determined to make it on her own. The show was groundbreaking because at that time, career women were rarely seen on television, and they were never featured as a show’s lead character.

My memories of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and all the other popular shows of the 1970s came flooding back to me last week when I learned that Moore had died at the age of 80.

Ironically, one of the most popular parts of The Mary Tyler Moore Show was the opening theme song and footage that showed Moore in her role as a single working woman in a major-metropolitan city. The theme song began with these lyrics:

July 9, 2016

A Lesson From An Old Friend

Stress - To DoAfter I started practicing law in January 1983, one of the things that I did on a regular basis was go to the courthouse and watch other lawyers try cases in front of juries. Because I started my law practice from scratch, during the first several months I had extra time on my hands to observe other lawyers in action.

Whenever I watched other lawyers try cases, I took notes, which I later assembled into a binder that I used as a resource when I began trying my own cases.

One of the lawyers I enjoyed watching — I’ll call him James — was a veteran criminal defense attorney. He was smart, articulate, and animated. In addition to being skilled at cross-examining witnesses, he also did a masterful job of arguing his clients’ cases to the juries. He was very entertaining to watch. None of the jurors ever fell asleep during his closing arguments.

James has been retired for several years now. He was forced into retirement after he got into trouble with some of his clients. He had two addictions he was never able to overcome that finally did him in: alcohol and gambling.

I thought about James last month when I ran into another lawyer I’ll call Steve. I met Steve shortly after I opened my law practice. When I met him, he was sharing office space with another lawyer, who had hired me to do some legal research and writing.

Steve is 10 years older than I am. When I ran into him last month, we discussed our families and what we’ve been up to. While we were talking, I couldn’t help but notice how great he looked. Steve is 69 years old, but he looks like he’s in his early-to-mid-50s. He’s tall, thin, and energetic. I asked him the obvious question: How do you stay so thin?

He immediately answered my question without taking any time to think about it. He said that the primary reason he’s able to stay thin and enjoy good health is because he recognizes how important it is to do the things that are necessary to relieve stress. He told me that when a lawyer doesn’t have an effective way to relieve stress, the lawyer eventually crashes and burns.

December 20, 2014

A Special Christmas Gift

Christmas PresentEarlier this month, I had a conversation with a judge who recently retired after serving as a state court judge for more than 20 years. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to call him “John.” John is in his early 60s, and during our conversation he asked me how many grandchildren I have. I told him that after adding three new grandsons last month, my wife and I have 10 grandchildren.

I asked John if he has any grandchildren, and he told me that he and his wife are still waiting. He said that he has a son who is in his late 30s who made it clear several years ago that he is a “confirmed bachelor.” He also said that he has a 35-year-old daughter who got married earlier this year. He told me that he and his wife are trying not to put too much pressure on their daughter, but they’re hoping that she doesn’t wait too much longer before she has a child.

I felt bad after John told me about his situation. He has always been a decent, hard-working man who was well-liked and respected when he was a judge. While he is the type of person who would have a lot to offer a grandchild, he may never get the chance to take part in that role.

I don’t know if John and his wife intentionally limited the size of their family to two children, or whether they were unable to have any additional children. Regardless of what they intended, I hope they will soon be able to enjoy the role of being grandparents.

The invention and widespread production of the birth control pill and other forms of contraception in the 1960s allowed couples to easily limit the size of their families. For more than 50 years, a majority of the couples in the United States have chosen to restrict the size of their families to two or three children. Unfortunately, as those couples have grown older, many of them have realized that by limiting the size of their families, they also limited the number of grandchildren they would have.

October 18, 2014

Halloween, Ebola, and a Saint

Halloween - BooIt’s that time of year again.  Halloween is right around the corner and a lot of people are scared.  Our so-called leaders walk around as though they are zombies whose purpose is to destroy our nation.  Every decision they make is the exact opposite of what a reasonable, rational person would decide.  What’s even scarier is the sheep-like behavior of the masses who wander about, clueless as to what’s going on around them.

On Friday (October 17), my wife and I went to a restaurant for dinner.  When the host handed me the small device that vibrates and buzzes when the table is ready, the first thought that popped into my mind was: What if this thing had the Ebola virus on it?  Every person who touches it tonight could become infected with the virus.

Next week, I’m flying out of Chicago to Pennsylvania.  The last thing I want to do is go to an airport where I’ll come into contact with thousands of strangers.  Worse than that is the fact that I’m going to get on a plane with 300 strangers where we’ll all be forced to breathe in the stale air and germs that are circulated throughout the pressurized cabin for at least two hours.

Until last week, the know-nothings at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were saying that the incubation period for the Ebola virus is 21 days.  Now they’re admitting that they really don’t know how long the incubation period is.  Experts are now conceding that the virus can be spread with minimal contact between people.

On Thursday (October 16), three schools in Texas were closed so workers could “thoroughly clean and disinfect the schools and busses.”  Apparently there were five students who were exposed to Thomas Eric Duncan, the original Ebola patient who flew from Liberia to Dallas, so he could get treatment for his condition.

September 27, 2014

Is Your Life Out of Control?

outofcontrolAccording to Dorothea Brande, author of the book, Wake Up and Live, the most important success secret she has ever discovered is to “[A]ct as if it were impossible to fail, and it shall be.”  From a business perspective, I can tell you that in my 31 years of practicing law and working with numerous business owners, Brande’s “secret” really is one of the true principles of success in the business world.

I believe that this same success principle is critical to spiritual growth.  Two people who practiced and lived this success principle were Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II.  Both of these great Catholics acted as though it were impossible to fail because they had a strong belief that as long as they were doing the work of God, they would not fail.  They had faith that God’s grace was with them in everything they did.  Our own achievements pale in comparison to what they were able to accomplish.

As a lawyer, I regularly deal with people who have problems that they believe are insurmountable.  These people suffer immense mental anguish because they feel as though their lives are out of control.

As humans, we get frustrated when we are not able to exercise complete control over everything in our lives, including our health, jobs, relationships, and financial security.  But as we grow older, we realize that most of the things we worry about really are beyond our control.  In the chaotic and unpredictable world we live in, how can a person ever hope to maintain a sense of control over his or her life?

Psychologists tell us that before individuals can have true peace of mind, they must first have a feeling of being in control of their lives.  I’m not so sure this is true.  I rarely have a feeling of being in complete control of my life.  I do, however, often feel at peace after completing a holy hour in the presence of our Lord in the adoration chapel.

August 23, 2014

A Different Perspective on the Robin Williams Suicide

Robin WilliamsAfter the recent suicide of the famous American actor and comedian Robin Williams, various reasons were given to explain why he killed himself. Some of the reasons included the fact that he had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, suffered from severe depression, and was having money problems. For whatever reason, at the age of 63, Williams ended his life after determining that he was better off dead than alive.

To put Robin Williams’ suffering into perspective, I would like you to consider another “old man” who despite enduring immense suffering refused to give up. His name was Alphonsus Liguori, a Catholic saint who during the prime of his life was a well-known and respected Catholic bishop, theologian, and scholastic philosopher. During his lifetime, St. Alphonsus wrote several books, including The Glories of Mary, The Way of Salvation, The True Spouse of Christ, and Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year.

In 1767, at the age of 71, suffering from rheumatism, St. Alphonsus became so crippled that he had to be confined to a wheelchair. His neck was so weak that he was unable to hold up his head. Because of the weight of his head, his chin constantly rubbed against his chest, causing his skin to become raw.

In addition to his physical suffering, St. Alphonsus was publicly humiliated and removed from his order after it was shown that he had signed a religious document that was contrary to the teachings of the Church. The signing of the document was a mistake in judgment and was due in part to the fact that St. Alphonsus’ condition had deteriorated to such an extent that he was almost completely blind.

He had trouble reading anything, and when he was asked to approve the document, St. Alphonsus struggled to read the first page. After he read several lines and found nothing that was objectionable, he verified the authenticity of the document by signing it. He trusted the person who asked him to sign the document. He subsequently paid a heavy price for that trust.

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