Skip to main content

"Whatever You Did Not Do for the Least of These"

On yesterday's anniversary of Terri Shiavo's death, I read about a new study that offers promise for patients who diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state.  The New England Journal of Medicine reports that when testing brain-injured patients with a functional MRI, they found 4 of the 23 tested responded to commands and exhibited brain activity in the same areas as healthy control subjects.  One of the four patients was even able to correctly answer questions with his brain activity, even though he could produce no communication with his body. 

This study opens the door for medical professionals and family members to reevaluate how persistent vegetative state patients are diagnosed, treated and valued as human beings.  In 2004, Pope John Paul II argued that health care providers are morally bound to provide food and water to all people living in a persistent vegetative state, directly advocating for Terri Shiavo, who was on no life support other than nourishment.  The next year, the courts, her doctors and her husband succeeded, against the pleas of her family, in withholding all food and water from her until she died almost 2 weeks later.

In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus tells the disciples what to expect at the final judgment, how the Son of Man comes as King and the people of all the nations will be gathered before him and divided into two groups. To one group he will say "I was hungry but you would not feed me, thirsty but you would not give me a drink...   When those condemned answer, "When Lord, did we ever see you hungry or thirsty... and not help you?"  He will reply, "I tell you, whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me." Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

How can anyone argue that patients unable to communicate with their body are not among the most vulnerable in our society?  Do we not have a Christian duty to protect and care for them?  The case of Terri Shiavo showed us how far our society has turned from Jesus' message.

Through continued prayer, compassion and medical research we can reach out to those most vulnerable and provide for them as our faith and humanity commands us.

Popular posts from this blog

My Favorite Catholic Children's Bibles

How do you select a Catholic Children's Bible?  Which children's bible is best for my kids?  Those are questions I get asked all the time.  Searching in my house I discovered almost a dozen different Catholic Bibles for kids or youth on our shelves. When looking for a children's bible or book of bible stories for children, there are several things to take into consideration.  How old is the child?  Do you want something easy to read in story form or a bible with scripture text?  How big or heavy is the book? Is the children's bible a keepsake to commemorate a special event like a baptism, first communion or confirmation? And the answers to these questions might change as the child grows and develops or you have multiple children. With those questions in mind, I'll delve into the Catholic Children's Bibles and Bible Stories we like best of those in our home. My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories Compiled by Hei

Prayer to End the School Year

Another school year is coming to an end.  And what a year the 2017-2018 school year was..... The events of the last 9 months have made me not only thankful to see it end but needing to get on my knees to Thank God for many things.  This school year began with Hurricane Harvey hitting our area and ended with the devastating school shooting at nearby Santa Fe High School. In the middle of the crisis around us there were so many beautiful things, events and people that touched and changed our community and family for the better.  Let's just start with the teachers and administrators who have interacted with my kids this year...  A special social studies teacher that made a fast friend out of my geography obsessed daughter, an ELA teacher who slowly won my oldest daughter over with her love of the written word, a soccer trainer who pushed my son harder than he thought he could handle, and then helped him recognize how that hard work paid off.  What about a school nurse who repeated

12 Quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta

St. Teresa of Calcutta made a deep impression on me as a young girl as I watched her on tv and in news. Who doesn't remember the iconic picture of Mother Teresa with Princess Diana splashed across all magazines, newspapers and news shows?  To me, Saints were people who lived a long time ago, but here she was, a saint in the making.  Mother Teresa was a role model of how to become a Saint in our modern world, by giving her life to God through her dedication to the poor. On her feast day, I want to share with you a few of my favorite quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta.   Her words are seemingly simple and straightforward but packed with meaning.  My selection comes out of a new favorite book I picked up called, Mother Teresa: Her Essential Wisdom by Carol Kelly-Gangi.  This little book contains hundreds of quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta centered around specific themes as well as a summary of her biography and quotes about her from others.  "God does not demand that