Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs daily at Aleteia. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and ten children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.
Bad news? There's plenty. There's also plenty to be happy about today. Here are ten good things in the news right now:
1. Today is the feast day of John Vianney, the Curé of Ars. He tended not to notice how ratty his clothes were getting, because he was so busy taking care of his flock, hearing confessions for eleven hours a day, spending his free time with orphans and at adoration. He often had supernatural knowledge of the private state of people's souls. But my favorite story is when some disgruntled parishioners circulated a petition to the bishop to have him removed as pastor for being " incompetent, lazy, ineffective, [and] driving people away."
So . . . he signed the petition. Womp womp. St. John Vianney, pray for priests!
2. More awesomeness: He has a message of hope for people who've endured the suicide of a loved one.
a woman told St. John Vianney that she was devastated because her husband had committed suicide. She wanted to approach the great priest but his line often lasted for hours and she could not reach him. She was ready to give up and in a moment of mystical insight that only a great saint can receive, John Vianney exclaimed through the crowd, “He is saved!” The woman was incredulous so the saint repeated, stressing each word, “I tell you he is saved. He is in Purgatory, and you must pray for him. Between the parapet of the bridge and the water he had time to make an act of contrition.”
3. New saints on the way, God willing! On Monday, October 12th, 2015 at 4pm, a Mass will be said to open the Canonization Cause of the Martyrs of La Florida, and to declare them Servants of God.
What do I know about the Martyrs of La Florida? Nothing! I'm very excited, because I love learning about new saints, especially martyrs. We need to hear as much as we can about people who were willing to die for their faith. It makes it that much easier to withstand the little barbs and jabs we suffer as comfortable American Catholics.
4. The new Ebola vaccine seems to be 100% -- 100%! -- effective.
Results of the trial, which tested Merck and NewLink Genetics' VSV-ZEBOV vaccine on more than 4,000 people who had been in close contact with a confirmed Ebola case, showed it gave 100 percent protection after 10 days in those immunised.
Over 11,000 people died horribly in the last Ebola epidemic. This innovative new vaccine may mean that that will never happen again.
5. Not new, but a great read from the New York Times: Superheroes just for each other. A beautiful true story about the birth of a premature baby and her parents, who "took turns rescuing each other." I have always said that, when I met my husband-to-be, he was the first man who made me want to be a better woman. Young 'uns: that's a good thing to look for in a spouse, possibly the good thing.
6. American still loves Flannery O'Connor, who died 51 years ago on August 3. You can now get a Flannery O'Connor postage stamp. If, for some ridiculous reason, you're not familiar with Flannery O'Connor, start with her short story "Revelation." It will help.
7. Speaking of books, here's a twofer of good news: A little boy in Utah was so desperate for something to read (that's the first good news! Little boys reading!) that he read all the junk mail the postman delivered, and even asked if there were any extras that nobody wanted. The mailman was delighted to see a little boy who loves to read so much, so he posted about him on Facebook -- and soon (good news the second) was able to deliver hundreds of donated books to the kid.
Mathew told the newspaper that he planned on reading every book and sharing them with others.
"I'm just super happy," he said.
8. We all like to make fun of Seattle (well, I do), but here's the real deal:
Seattle-based humanitarian group called Peace Trees Vietnam has been sending local civilian volunteers and veterans to Vietnam. They are helping Vietnamese deminers safely remove and deactivate bombs left over from the war and helping villagers replant the land.
The group has been around since the early 1990's, and "was recently recognized by the White House and the Vietnamese government for their decades of work." A beautiful, courageous work of love in action.
9. More love in action: one woman is pioneering a model of neighborhood clinics to offer truly comprehensive healthcare, and help to pregnant women (and the fathers of their babies) in the long term
offering pregnancy tests, STD treatment, ultrasounds, prenatal care, cancer screening, natural family planning instruction and comprehensive programs both before and continuing five years after birth, in order to help men and women get their lives on the track to success.
“The success cases that graduate: they’re going to nursing school; they’re married; they’re off drugs; they’re not hooking up or cohabitating,” Bravo said. “In other words, if you support them through a model and do a continuum of care, we can really change lives.”
Like Planned Parenthood, Obria Medical Clinics savvily uses a franchise model, allowing existing clinics to keep their facilities and financial structure and board when they agree to adhere to pro-life principles, saving babies and transforming the lives of their parents. Innovative and immensely encouraging news.
10. No one was hurt when someone set off a bomb at a Catholic Church in Los Cruces, NM. It's horrible that anyone would do such a dreadful thing, but I keep thinking about the Monsignor's explanation of why no one was hurt:
"Because it was the consecration part of the Mass, everybody was kneeling down and facing toward the altar," he said.
And so they were protected. Good to remember when you are under attack: get on your knees before the altar, and you will be saved.