Death & Dying

702231DA-82D3-479C-8606-E7DDB14D3C26We see some of our best and worst movies while flying in airplanes back-and-forth across the Atlantic. Today we saw one of our dumbest movies which started out intriguing but we both said it’s on the lower end of all the movies we’ve watched.

It was called “The Shape of Water“. It was about a Man-like sea creature (humanoid amphibian) taken into captivity. A number of times it was discussed whether this amphibious creature was a god and it did have powers of healing..

A woman befriends it and helps it escape from a government laboratory. She falls in love with it (him). They even have sexual relations before the ending where the end up in the ocean where she grows gills and they live happily ever after together below the sea.

7F349904-37D5-4EB0-B0B9-62731E76AC95But the movie I mainly wanted to discuss was “Breathe” which is a tragic polio case based on the actual life of a Britishman named Robin Cavendish (played by Andrew Garfield). His wife (played by Claire Foy) loves him deeply and devoted her life to his surviving and living his life to the fullest possible. Together they help other handicapped people and invent machines and chairs to help others who are incapacitated.

Two-thirds through the movie I pushed pause and wrote to a couple of good friends the following, “We are flying home on Delta — watching one of the best movies ever. Human dignity, funny, Catholic, sad and happy, inspiring —essentially human and a beautiful example of love, devotion and family.“

But is soon as I pushed “play” again my wife and I (watching it together as we always do on planes) realized this movie was taking a turn for the worst. He decided he would end his life after many courageous and exemplary years of helping other people, loving his wife and son, and traveling even with his disability.

He decides it’s time to die because he doesn’t want to die naturally in front of his wife and his older son. There’s a big party with all of his friends and family to celebrate his choice where they tell him upgrade to see is to end his own life. After he sends everybody away he dies by lethal injection. It was a hugely disappointing end to what could’ve been a beautiful story.

Even though it claims to be based on a real story and that the actual man was an atheist, I could not confirm that he actually took his own life in real life. But that’s maybe because I’m still on the plane with limited resources.

I wrote back to my friends immediately the following, “Opps! Looks like I spoke too soon. I sent the e-mail 2/3rds of the way into the movie when Janet and I had tears in our eyes because of the beauty of the relationship And the family supporting and helping him. It could have been such a great movie.

“But in the end he decides to kill himself and his wife who has loved him all through and been there in love with him accepts this and they help him kill him self. What a disaster!

Could’ve been such a beautiful movie as it was 2/3 of the way through — but the end turns into an emotional apologetic for euthanasia or suicide. Rats! Double rats!”

Catholic Answers just posted a wonderful, theological and Catholic view of “end-of-life issues.” You can read it here.

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Death, What a Wonderful Way to Explain It

by Steve Ray on April 14, 2018

Hope you enjoy this. I found it quite nice with a ring of truth to it. When it comes my turn to die, this will be my attitude.

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squadIn my talk Swimming Upstream I usually tell the story of 40 Roman soldiers who chose to freeze naked on a frozen lake in 320 AD rather than deny Jesus Christ.

St. Basil, Doctor of the Church, told of the heroic martyrdom of 40 soldiers in a homily. They had been executed fifty years before his episcopate. They died a heroic martyrdom in Armenia around AD 320.

They had been executed by Emperor Licinius. There have been churches built in their honor — even a chapel in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Here is how I tell the story in my talk:

The Twelfth Legion — nicknamed “Armed with Lightning” —  was the best and the bravest warriors of the Roman Empire.

RomanLegion2When the great Roman army was sent to fight in far-away Armenia, no soldiers were braver or more loyal than this band of soldiers. But news reached Emperor Licinius that many Roman soldiers had accepted the Christian faith.

A decree was dispatched: “If there be any among your soldiers who cling to the faith of the Christian, they must die!”

The Prefect called the soldiers together and asked: “Are any of you Christians? The 40 soldiers stepped forward and stood at attention. The Prefect had not expected so many, nor such select ones.

He demanded they deny their Christ and offer sacrifices to the pagan gods. They refused. Not a single man would deny his Lord.

Finally the Prefect said, “The decree of the emperor must be obeyed. I order you to strip and march out upon the lake of ice.”

I40-martyrs-of-sebasten the meantime fires were built along the shore with tubs of warm water to entice the men to recant their faith.

The 40 soldiers were stripped and marched on the ice to the center of the lake. They broke into their chant: “Forty soldiers, fighting for Thee, O Christ, to win for Thee the victory and the victor’s crown!” 

In the night, overcome by cold, one soldier caved in and crept toward the fire, renouncing his Lord.

f1From the darkness their chant echoed in the cold: “Thirty-nine soldiers, fighting for Thee, O Christ, to win for Thee the victory and the victor’s crown!”

One of the guards keeping watch over the freezing men was amazed when he saw a brilliant supernatural light overshadowing the Christian soldiers on the ice.

At once he announced “I too am now a Christian, threw off his uniform, cast aside his sword. He disappeared into the darkness to join the thirty-nine. 

Shivering beside the thirty-nine soldiers of Christ he joined their cry, “Forty soldiers, fighting for Thee, O Christ, to win for Thee the victory and from Thee, the victor’s crown!” 

230628.bAt daybreak most were dead, the stiffened bodies of the confessors who still showed signs of life, were killed. They were all burned and their ashes tossed over the ice.

(Picture: Church marking the place of their martyrdom)

For more information read Taylor Marshall’s blog and the Wikipedia entry.

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