Friday, January 30, 2004

Father Benedict Still Not Out of the Woods

From Father Glenn:

I was hoping to report that today was uneventful; it was not. This morning at approximately 10:20, Father's blood pressure unexpectedly began to drop together with his pulse rate which suddenly went flat. Of course, this unexpected turn of events put the trauma team into high gear. After five or so minutes, the pulse rate once again peaked and the blood pressure slowly rose and stabilized. The storm was sudden and strong, but thank God, it ended and Father was back safe and sound.

I was not able to receive much information other than Father did not sustain a heart attack and there was no neurological or brain damage. When the friars were finally allowed to enter Father's room they said he looked "awake and alert". I have not been able to get any clear word as to why this happened, but I was told by a doctor here in New York that this can happen if a person is on a respirator for a long time. In the process of trying to wean the patient off, there can be some inability to get enough oxygen to the lungs and into the blood. However, this is the opinion of a physician who is following Father Benedict's progress from afar.

This morning's scare was sobering indeed. The tightrope is very narrow and Father's steps are feeble. So, once again, and with full voice we cry out: "Lord, have mercy!" In the liturgy of the Eastern Church we hear this invocation repeated over and over again. The ancient Egyptian monks were said to hurl very short prayers to God like javelins. "Lord, have mercy" is a simple, yet powerful prayer so straight and strong! Remember, our prayer need not be long, but it should be deep; meaning, it should come from our very depths. The more the bow is bent, the further the arrow flies. So, go down deep and let your prayer fly like an arrow aimed towards the heavens at the very heart of God.