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Question from Vincent on 12/9/2012:

Dear Ms. Brown:

I am not certain that this comes exactly within the category of a pro-life issue, but I thought that you may have some insights.

I have been afflicted with cerebral palsy since birth, which has left me wheelchair-bound and unable to do personal care activities for myself. After nearly 30 years of struggling through life with this condition, I have become extremely mentally weary. I feel that I have lost all will and strength to carry on. I have prayed to the Lord that He have pity on me and take me away from this world.

I went to confession this past Saturday to ask forgiveness for my sins and help in dealing with despair. The priest was very good and I did feel better after confession. However, it seems like the Lord keeps presenting me with more challenges, and I don't feel strong enough to handle them.

I have a loving family that wants to help me, but I feel that the Lord has given me a burden that I can no longer bear. I know that all people are precious to God, but the my suffering is becoming too difficult. Any thoughts that you may have would be greatly appreciated.

Answer by Judie Brown on 12/10/2012:

Dear Vincent

First of all I feel very strongly that you are being tested at this moment, in much the same way the Lord tested JOB in the Bible. I have a dear friend who is and has been wheel-chair bound for some years now with multiple sclerosis and his battles with the demon of despair occur frequently, just as they do with you.

But he has a faith that guides him to surrender his sufferings to the Lord when they become overwhelming and so far his attitude about that aspect of his life has served him well.

His name is Mark Pickup and he writes for a Catholic newspaper and Canada and he has his own BLOG which is always inspiring to read. For example he recently wrote CHRIST IN OUR SUFFERING suffering.html and said

My journey would take me into the fire of a terrible fire of disease, but God would abide with me ― like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego I would not be alone in my fire of disease.[11] And as with Job, my flesh is being destroyed but my life has been spared.[12]

I went from being a healthy and athletic man to what you see today. At about the 2-3 year point in my downhill slide with MS, my grief was so profound and unimaginable, my sorrow so deep, my heartache so sharp, that my judgment was clouded. If assisted suicide had been available in the mid-1980s, and if I not had been enveloped in the love of God and my wife, LaRee, I may have taken my life, at a low point. I am so glad now that did not happen. I needed to safely grieve with the freedom to cry out, and not be helped with a death wish I might have expressed at my lowest point.

VINCENT, I am praying for you and pray also that you will communicate with Mark and learn from his own pain.

Judie Brown


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