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From the category archives: Mark Pickup

Mark Pickup

When one door of happiness closes, God opens another one

Mark Pickup

October 20, 2014

Helen Keller was deaf and blind from early childhood, yet she became one of the great humanitarians of the 20th century. When news of her death in 1968 came over the radio, I remember my father say, "There goes a great person." I was 15 years old at the time and too self-absorbed to understand. Only much later, in my own disability, did I begin to understand what my father meant. Helen Keller wrote: "When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door we do not see the one that has opened for us."

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In numbing the voice of pain, grief makes it hard to experience love of God

Mark Pickup

September 22, 2014

A family friend recently lost his wife after 65 years of marriage. Ted Byfield is heartbroken, except for one thing: He is a devout Christian. My wife and I sent him a sympathy card. A few weeks later we received a note of acknowledgement from Ted. He wrote, in part: "Many thanks for your card of condolence. I knew of course that my wife was a remarkable woman, but now that I am having to live without her I am discovering just how remarkable. . . .

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Suffering can break one's pride, bring consolation and joy

Mark Pickup

August 25, 2014

I keep a copy of The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis beside my Bible on my night table. I read the Bible to begin my days and excerpts of The Imitation of Christ to conclude many of my days. If I were to be exiled to a remote island, they are the two books I would take.

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Shunning former friends closes door to possible reconciliation

Mark Pickup

July 7, 2014

I had a Christian friend who wrote off our friendship, like a bad debt. Perhaps he saw me as a liability perhaps I am a friendship liability. His name is David. I miss him and wish I knew why he severed our friendship so abruptly and without explanation. David has not spoken or communicated with me for over a decade; my overtures went unacknowledged; my attempts to contact him to set things right were met with stony silence. We are no longer friends.

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Brilliant music crafted by composer battling deafness

Mark Pickup

June 23, 2014

I keep a bust of Ludwig van Beethoven on the mantle above the fireplace in my home. It reminds me of the human capacity to overcome adversity to achieve great things. When I doubt myself in my own acquired disability of multiple sclerosis, I listen to Beethoven particularly his Ninth Symphony written in near-total deafness but at the peak of his creative power His Ninth Symphony exemplifies a triumph of human spirit over adversity, sustained by a spark of God's love in a silent world. Although Beethoven used Schiller's Ode to Joy, there is a spirituality or mystical quality to Beethoven's Ninth.

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In God's perfect love, suffering makes sense

Mark Pickup

April 14, 2014

When I met Moira (not her real name) she was completely broken-hearted. As the old song says, "I can tell by your eyes, you've probably been crying forever." That was Moira. The 42-year-old mother had developed severe chronic progressive multiple sclerosis which put her into a wheelchair within a year of her diagnosis. Moira's husband left her, and their only daughter went with him.

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Pro-euthanasia rhetoric larded with euphemisms to disguise reality

Mark Pickup

March 17, 2014

I want to address the rhetoric used by people who promote euthanasia and assisted suicide. Those who control language control public discourse and set agendas that dictate behaviour that might not be acceptable in other contexts. It is a confusing time. The culture in which we live is telling the incurably ill and severely disabled they have a right to assisted suicide while the healthy population deserves suicide prevention.

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Christ reveals his body and the image of God to our senses

Mark Pickup

February 3, 2014

At the conclusion of his brilliant essay, The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis wrote, "Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses."

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Make forgiveness the centre of your life

Mark Pickup

December 23, 2013

On the last Sunday of 2013, the second Mass reading is from Colossians. St. Paul's instructions to God's people of the first century are instructive to Christians of the 21st century. "Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience." He says we are to bear with one another and forgive each other just as Christ forgives us.

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Christ's light wraps the sorrowful world in his healing peace

Mark Pickup

December 9, 2013

In the First Reading for the Dec. 8 Mass we read from Isaiah 11: "The wolf will live with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the kid, The calf and the lion and fatling together, And a little child shall lead them."

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