Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rest in Peace, Father Richard John Neuhaus

I was saddened to learn today, via Titus One Nine, of the passing of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus yesterday, January 8, at the age of 72. Father Neuhaus was for years the genius behind First Things magazine, an intelligent and lively journal of conservative Catholic thought. His book Death on a Friday Afternoon remains one of my favourite Good Friday devotions.

Neuhaus, while a stern and uncompromising critic of liberal trends in the Anglican Communion, was a great friend of Anglicanism and was always worth reading. I will miss his acerbic roundup of religious news every month in FT. I join Titus One Nine in excerpting this piece from Neuhaus' meditiation on his cancer and his nearness to death, written in 2002:

“Everything is ready now.” I would be thinking about that incessantly during the months of convalescence. My theological mind would immediately go to work on it. They were angels, of course. Angelos simply means “messenger.” There were no white robes or wings or anything of that sort. As I said, I did not see them in any ordinary sense. But there was a message; therefore there were messengers. Clearly, the message was that I could go somewhere with them. Not that I must go or should go, but simply that they were ready if I was. Go where? To God, or so it seemed. I understood that they were ready to get me ready to see God. It was obvious enough to me that I was not prepared, in my present physical and spiritual condition, for the beatific vision, for seeing God face to face. They were ready to get me ready. This comports with the doctrine of purgatory, that there is a process of purging and preparation to get us ready to meet God. I should say that their presence was entirely friendly. There was nothing sweet or cloying, and there was no urgency about it. It was as though they just wanted to let me know. The decision was mine as to when or whether I would take them up on the offer."
Read the whole piece.

Requiescat in pacem, Father.

No comments:

Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


Blog Archive