Thursday, March 23, 2017

When TV Makes Its Good Points

    I name things. Lieutenant Fancy is the name for my bedside multi-lift assistant because I'm a longtime fan of NYPD Blue, a 1980s model cop show (in which the Twin Towers are still standing tall) which is being aired again on cable.
    Lieutenant Arthur Fancy is the headman at the 15th precinct detectives’ squad and as such he is treated with earned respect by each of the distinctive personalities who fight crime from their singularly unfancy squad room.
    Modern American CSI criminologists pursue the same old bad guy story-lines as in the 1980's, but they do so from laboratories which broadcast crime scenes onto glass walls from cameras hidden in plain sight throughout their cities, with detectives who fly to terrorist trouble spots around the world carrying lethal “ready bags” from their lockers, and by way of car chases, justified shootings and major-league multi-national backgrounds in bombs and military training. In other words, impressive.

    NYPD Blue operates out of shabby, cramped and old green painted quarters with dial tone phones, typewriters, hard-used interview rooms and a single restroom for male and female -- they just knock first and keep it respectful. I’m more at home in that era, me and Humphrey Bogart, when I was also using typewriters and print film cameras.

    Basically I just like it when justice gets done, when right is not wrong, and the bad guys (and girls) get put in jail, in any era. I like it that Lt. Fancy helps me to fight the crime of despair by keeping me independent.

    But in the mornings what I look for on the good (and sad) side is EWTN, where we are currently mourning the passing of Reverend Mother Mary Angelica, 92, foundress of that world’s largest Catholic (or any other religious) news broadcasting organization.

    She was a Poor Clare cloistered Franciscan nun of perpetual adoration, which customarily means she would not have left her monastery -- as her sister nuns still don’t. But Mother Angelica burst forth, with the approval of the Church, at the age of 58, to take on the pagans. She had discerned a call to defend her beloved Catholic Church against the culture of death -- as identified by Pope Saint John Paul II, with whose tenure hers coincided -- and she built a television station on donations to make it happen. 

    There’s more to her story than simple vowed religious life (as if vowed religious life is ever simple); she lived in chronic and debilitating pain from injuries and illness which taught her, as she said, to use her suffering to cling to Jesus in prayer. She believed, as we are taught in Catholicism, that to “offer it up” to Jesus on the Cross means one's pain is used for the healing and salvation of all souls in need, including one’s own family and ancestry as well as those in purgatory.

    Along the way she founded an order of nuns for the continued prayer of perpetual adoration of the Blessed Host 24 hours a day and an order of Friars and Priests to serve the Catholic Mass broadcast four times a day by EWTN and as chaplains where the news is gathered from the Catholic point of view and delivered in print, by radio and satellite around the world.

    Those who knew her best testified (through their tears) during this last week’s memorials that even when she could no longer walk or talk, after a series of strokes in her eighties, her influence throughout the organization had remained unmistakable. They expect she will now continue to guide and direct operations to everyone’s benefit from heaven.

     Speaking for myself, we love her, we home-bound, disabled and otherwise sidelined citizens of God. We love it that she was healed at least twice, which she called God’s will, and that when she wasn’t healed she called that God’s will too, and surrendered herself to it, body, soul, mind and heart.

     She was as inspiring and indomitable an example of useful disability as was Saint John Paul II as he died before our eyes the slow death of Parkinson’s disease, also never faltering in his faith nor his obedience. We who depend upon the Church for our stability shall be forever grateful.

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