Columns

From the category archives: Mark Pickup

Mark Pickup

Battle with MS led us to follow Christ with complete abandon

Mark Pickup

January 30, 2012

My wife, LaRee, and I were in Saskatchewan to speak at a retreat of Christian students in medical school. The retreat dealt with the subject of suffering.

We spoke to the students about our sorrows and grief that have accompanied our 28 years living with chronic, degenerative multiple sclerosis. We shared insights about suffering from our Christian perspectives. I spoke about the terror of having an aggressive version of MS.

Read the rest of entry »

Change your heart, forgive your sin, let God transform you

Mark Pickup

January 16, 2012

Things designed for good can be used for bad purposes. Art in its proper context captures images of beauty in the world or perverted to promote evil such as pornography. Books can teach and enlighten while others promote falsehoods or hatred.

Sometimes that which is life affirming in one context can be life denying if misused in another context. A drug originally intended to try to save life can also be used to kill.

Read the rest of entry »

Christ came to bring Good News to all

Mark Pickup

December 19, 2011

A tiny heart beat steadily within the baby boy's mother. The blood circulating through that tiny heart would save us and change millions of human hearts across the centuries; hearts of stone and violence would melt into hearts of flesh and peace and joy.

The infant's birth was like no other birth. It had been prophesied hundreds of years earlier. The prophet Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7.14) and of the Davidic line (11.1-2). Micah identified Bethlehem as the place where the Messiah would be born (5.1). People like Simeon and Anna waited expectantly for him.

Read the rest of entry »

God bless us everyone, says Tiny Tim

Mark Pickup

December 5, 2011

Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I love everything about it including the smallest details and traditions commonly associated with the season.

Throughout the last half of November my wife resisted my requests to put up the Christmas tree. She reminded me that it takes up too much space in the living room for my electric wheelchair to manoeuvre easily. She was right. The Christmas tree stayed in the basement until Dec. 1.

Read the rest of entry »

Parents must nurture children's vocations

Mark Pickup

November 21, 2011

Archbishop Richard Smith's recent pastoral letter, Pastoral Priorities of the Archdiocese of Edmonton, identified vocation promotion as one of the three priorities along with evangelization and faith formation. My previous columns have addressed the latter two. Now I want to look at the promotion of vocations.

God calls us all to lives of faith, obedience and service. We who have welcomed Christ into our lives are called to "come follow me." We are called to make known the Gospel message throughout a hurting world. This can happen in various ways.

Read the rest of entry »

Share the Good News of Christ's love

Mark Pickup

November 7, 2011

There are three priorities identified in Archbishop Richard Smith's pastoral letter entitled Pastoral Priorities of The Archdiocese of Edmonton. They are as follows: evangelization, faith formation and vocations promotion.

My last column addressed faith formation. It is vitally important that Christian faith be well formed, based upon a relationship with Christ and be supported by the solid foundation of Church teachings. In this column, I want to reflect on evangelization and how lay people like you and me can participate in this task.

Read the rest of entry »

Encountering Jesus Christ transforms lives

Mark Pickup

October 17, 2011

People in the Edmonton Archdiocese are so fortunate to have Archbishop Richard Smith. He is truly committed to people knowing Christ in a personal way and living holy lives that reflect our blessed Catholic faith.

Archbishop Smith's vision for the flock entrusted to his care is captured in his pastoral letter entitled Pastoral Priorities of the Archdiocese of Edmonton. I recommend that everyone read it and contribute to the goals the archbishop has established.

Read the rest of entry »

A broken mind deserves compassionate care

Mark Pickup

October 3, 2011

My wife, LaRee, never knew her maternal grandmother. Her grandmother's name was Dora and she suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Dora was institutionalized in a mental hospital in 1932 at 34 years of age.

Seventy-five years ago the shame and stigma of having a family member in a mental institution was so great that few people in the family ever mentioned Dora. She never got out of a mental hospital and eventually died there. Life went on and it was as though Dora never existed. It seemed that everyone forgot about her — but my wife did not forget.

Read the rest of entry »

A brother's death sparks question, 'Did he say yes to Christ?'

Mark Pickup

September 12, 2011

In his book The Yes of Jesus Christ, Pope Benedict wrote: "We are not allowed neutrality when faced with the question of God. We can only say yes or no, and this with all the consequences extending right down to the smallest details of life."

The great American Catholic theologian Bishop Fulton Sheen concurred: "To the eyes of faith only two classes of people exist: those who say 'yes' to God and those who say 'no' to God." In an age of relativism - such as the one in which we live - this is an important but unpopular spiritual reality.

Read the rest of entry »

Abortion opens the door for euthanasia

Mark Pickup

August 29, 2011

Canada and the United States treat abortion as a right. This is a recent development and an aberration from the course of human history.

The Hippocratic Oath for doctors dating back thousands of years forbade abortion and euthanasia. Since the first century, the Catholic Church has unwaveringly maintained the moral evil of procured abortion. Ancient and persistent common law traditions dating back into the Middle Ages treated abortion as a grave crime. In 1802, England formally made abortion a criminal offence.

Read the rest of entry »