Saturday, May 27, 2017

Remembering Louie

This time is the only time you have to love. I realize that now because of Louie.

When I met him, I thought he was just another boy: dirty, not the most lovable. Louie and his sister Fe had cerebral palsy, and while Fe was sweet and loved to laugh, Louie was rather stoic. He wouldn't talk or smile at us. I remember holding Louie and just comparing him to his sister, wondering why he was the way he was. Now looking back, I’m grateful for who Louie was -- who God made Louie to be -- and seeing how Louie’s uniqueness blessed me in so many ways. 

Something about missions makes you a little stiff towards death. When I heard this spring that Louie had passed away, I immediately began thinking about the practicals - the money his family would need for the viewing and the funeral, and the people who would volunteer to clean the family’s house before the traditional in-home wake could take place. 

But when the Lord gave me the time and the grace to mourn his death, I realized that what came flooding back to my memory were all of my own imperfections, the imperfect ways that I had loved Louie.

I can remember the first time we took him with his whole family in tow to the hospital, and multiple family members were admitted for their terrible health. Louie had some complicated form of pneumonia and asthma, or perhaps it was bronchitis; maybe we’ll never really know. He had to be hospitalized for a few days, nebulized, and put on antibiotics. I can remember how I held him to feed him, supported his head, and spooned little bits of food into his mouth. After his discharge, I remember mixing drops of medicine into Pediasure so that he could consume it.

I recall his birthday - it was his fourteenth - and the first birthday party he ever had was a gathering of the missionaries, our friends, and our students...anyone who had helped care for him since the time that we had come to know him. It was a joyful gathering.

I remember with sadness how in recent months I saw a picture posted online of Fe and Louie and knew without a doubt that they were declining, that the state of their hygiene, their health, and their nutrition was poor, but that there was nothing I could do. Since no missionaries were living in Camiguin during that season, we depended solely on our local friends there to help -- and they did a phenomenal job -- but the task of caring full-time for Louie and his family was more than any one person or family could handle.

I know theologically that Louie is happier now. I know that he is with the Lord, dancing and singing in a way that he never could here on earth, and I’m happy for him. But there’s a deep sadness welling up in me, too, because I’ll never see Louie again this side of heaven, and somehow that really hurts. It hurts that I didn’t love him better, that it was my own pride that wanted to care for him, to be a “good” missionary caring for a disabled child. It hurts that I allowed my human blinders and judgments to view him as somehow less lovable than his sister.

But mostly, I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the time that I had with him and for the grace that God gave me to mourn his passing. I’m grateful for the many people who donated to support him and his family throughout the past year and a half. We love you, Louie, and we’ll miss you.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Catholic Crusader,

    Five hundred years ago in 1517, Martin Luther made public his 95 complaints against the Roman Catholic church. Today, we shall do likewise, with another 95 reasons. However, in this critique, we will exclusively fixate on the nucleus of all Catholic doctrine called, Transubstantiation. This teaching is built on the premise that when the priest utters “This is my body” over bread and wine that the “combustible” syllables of these four words ignite with such power and energy that, unbeknownst to our cognizant senses, the substance of bread and wine miraculously change (“by the force of the words” says the Council of Trent; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1375). They are then abruptly replaced with something else entirely; namely, the very body, blood, soul and divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ in some mysterious form which leaves only the outward appearance of bread and wine (i.e., the color, shape, size, taste, weight and texture -- or "accidental" properties, remain unchanged in objective reality). It is claimed that the supernatural power that creates this miracle on a daily basis, 24 hours a day in Masses worldwide, “is the same power of Almighty God that created the whole universe out of nothing at the beginning of time” (Mysterium Fidei, 47). The question is: does the sacred rhetoric of Jesus lead us to conclude He intended it be recited like a magician recites his incantations? (Reason 6, 74). That at the recitation of these four words, the world is obligated to be transfixed on Transubstantiation???

    We should think that a rollercoaster of 95 reasons against this doctrine should at least pique your curiosity, let alone make you wonder if, like the calmness of a ferris wheel, you can so calmly refute them. The issue is far from inconsequential, since it’s claimed our very eternal destinies are at stake. So while sensitive to the fact that many are captivated by this doctrine, we are persuaded that the theological framework of the Bible conveys a persistent and vigorous opposition to this theory. God's word tells us to, "study to show yourself approved" (2 Tim 2:15) and we have indeed done just that.

    The almost “romantic fidelity” to Transubstantiation springs forth from the opinion that consuming the “organic and substantial” body of Christ in the Eucharist is necessary for salvation (CCC 1129 & 1355; Trent, "Concerning Communion", ch. 1 and “Concerning Communion Under Both Kinds”, ch. 3; Canon 1; Mysterium Fidei, intro). Our burden here is to safeguard the gospel (Jude 1:3). If a religious system professing to be Christian is going to demand that something be done as a prerequisite for eternal life, it is vital to scrutinize this claim under the searchlight of Scripture and with “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16). Proverbs 25:2 says, "the honor of a king is to search out a matter". We shall do likewise.

    Determined to test all things by Holy Writ (1 Thess 5:21; Acts 17:11, 2 Cor 10:5), the following 95 reasons have been compiled to an extravagant length to provoke you to consider the cognitive complexities of this doctrine which we conclude are biblically unbearable. We are so convinced the Bible builds a concrete case against this superstition, that we will not allow the things we have in common to suppress the more urgent need to confront the differences that divide us, such as Transubstantiation. We are told this issue directly impacts our eternal destiny, so it must not be ignored. The Lord Jesus came to divide and conquer by the truth of His word. He said, "Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division" (Luke 12:51-53).

    For the full essay of 95 reasons, kindly e-mail me at