As I have indicated in the past few weeks, I have been attempting to promote my new book, Meeting the Mets: A Quirky History of A Quirky Team, which has been published as an "e-book" on Kindle and is also available in a soft cover format from various sources, including The Book Patch. We drove back east in our 2009 used (oh, excuse me, "pre-owned") Honda Accord to do some promotional work, which included distributing flyers in various restaurants, diners and other establishments, especially on Long Island. We were able to make this trip as a result of the generosity of a few friends who provided us the means to take a little break from our "non-ocean view" in the Midwest to visit a few old friends and to take in the beautiful scenery of Long Island, Connecticut and Rhode Island and upstate New York.
I am promoting the new book as I believe that it has the capacity to sell decently enough to provide my family with the financial support that this site simply does not generate no matter how few or many articles are posted in any given month. There will soon be a website to promote the book and there is the possibility of at least one interview with a radio host who had interviewed me ten years ago when an earlier book on the same subject had been published. The book, however, will need word-of-mouth promotion by those who read it as most of those in the "mainstream media" are going to ignore it given its Catholic content.
By contrast, of course, I do not promote this site in the slightest. The reason for this is quite simple.
Those who access the articles on this site must be "ready" to read my articles. I do not "push" my articles as I realize full well that most Catholics resent being confronted by arguments that they are not ready to accept. I will give ready answers to those who ask questions of me. Understanding the vagaries of fallen human nature, though, I believe that is is fruitless to seek out confrontation and conflict, thereby unnecessarily agitating others and, quite possibly, hardening the hearts of those who could be open to accepting the true state of the Church in this time of apostasy and betrayal. Our Lady sends people to this site when they are "ready" to read the articles. True, some of those accessing the site for the first time, perhaps by accident, might recoil in fright upon viewing it. Others, however, might "stay the course" and keep reading even though they might not at first accept the arguments put forth in these articles.
Thus it is that I have chosen, as a matter of prudential judgment, to keep a "low profile" with some old friends and acquaintances in order not to provoke them to anger as I keep them uppermost in my prayers every day without fail. It is the Communion of Saints that matters more than physical contact. Catholics know that the souls of the just will be reconciled one unto another in eternity. It is sometimes enough to pray for our fellow Catholics during this time of apostasy and betrayal, a time in which true revolutionaries who hate Christ the King and who are enemies of the souls for whom He shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood to redeem have insidiously divided believing Catholics from one another in this passing, mortal vale of tears.
Ever grateful to the good God for all of the people He has placed into my life, I did want to reach out to a few old friends with whom I have not been in personal contact in recent years by sending them copies of my new book, which I know that they would enjoy reading. I received a very nice letter from one friend of very longstanding, dating back to my years in Oyster Bay High School in Oyster Bay, New York, between 1965 an 1969, who sent back to me baseball memorial that I had given to his children, now long since grown, over thirty years ago. It was also my intention to visit another friend of mine I had known since Kindergarten at Saint Aloysius School in Great Neck, New York, in 1956 while we were in New York. A detour to visit with a priest, ordained in 1956, who was stationed at Saint Aloysius in 1956 made any thought of a detour impossible as we had to drive to Connecticut and thence to Rhode Island the following day.
Upon our return to Ohio a few days ago, however, I began having books send out to a few people who I did not get visit in New York, including my friend from grammar school. Thus it is that I did an internet search for her address to make sure that she had not moved. This is what I found when I put in her name and her address in East Williston, New York:
- Elizabeth "Betsy" Loretta peacefully passed away on November 20, 2010
at the age of 59. Born and raised in Great Neck, Betsy later moved to
Manhasset and spent the last 28 years in East Williston. Devoted
daughter of the late Joseph R. Ehrbar and Mary Ryan Ehrbar Fougner and
beloved sister to Joseph R. (Peggie), Mary Ann Griffin (Steve), Paul
(Doreen), Diane Novellino (Nick) and Susan Fleming (Xavier).
Step-daughter to the late Robert S. Fougner and step-sister to Dr.
Arthur Fougner (Nellie), Elizabeth Fougner, Robert Fougner and John
Fougner (Sharon). Betsy was adored by 25 nieces and nephews, 28
great-nieces and nephews, numerous cousins and cherished by countless
friends. A talented artist whose interests included drawing, painting
and calligraphy, Betsy generously donated her time and talents to many charitable causes. Her friendship, life and faith were an inspiration. Betsy's
love and kindness touched the lives of all of those ho were so
privileged and honored to have known her. Reposing at Weigand Bros.
Funeral Home, 49 Hillside Avenue, Williston Park. Visiting Monday and
Tuesday, 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm. Funeral mass to be held on Wednesday at
10:00 am at Saint Aidan's Church, 505 Willis Avenue, Williston Park.
Interment to follow at Holy Rood Cemetery. (Elizabeth Loretta "Betsy" Ehrbar Obituary.)
"Betsy died!" I exclaimed in disbelief to Sharon when I read this obituary. I was shocked. Truly shocked.
The next thing I said to Sharon was as follows: "Well, she knows now." Yes, she knows that I prayed for her and her family every day and that I will do so until the the day I die or lose my mental faculties with which to pray, remembering also, of course, her brothers and sisters and their family members each day as I have for a very long time now.
Betsy Ehrbar was a victim-soul who did not believe that she was a victim-soul.
Paralyzed from the waist down in an automobile accident that occurred when she was riding as a passenger in her future brother-in-law's automobile at the age of sixteen in 1967, Betsy devoted did not wallow in any kind of self-pity about what had happened to her. No, Elizabeth Loretta "Betsy" Ehrbar learned the Catholic Faith from her late father, Joseph Ehrbar, who died a few weeks after our First Holy Communion on Saturday, May 30, 1959, and her late mother Mary Ryan Ehrbar Fougner, very well, having that Faith reinforced by the Reverend Sisters of Mercy who taught us at Saint Aloysius School and by priests such as the one I visited on Friday, July 27, 2012, Father Robert Mason. Betsy Ehrbar accepted what had happened to her as occurring completely within the Providence of God and without any anger whatsoever at her future brother-in-law. She was serene in her total resignation and joyful acceptance of the Holy Will of God.
Not knowing anything about what had happened to her in 1967, five years after I had left Saint Aloysius School a few weeks after the beginning of the "Second" Vatican Council (something that I realize now was most providential indeed) and two years after we had left Great Neck entirely for Oyster Bay Cove, I was very edified upon meeting her again in early-1992 for the first time in nearly thirty years (although I had prayed for her by name, along with other schoolmates, since childhood). She recounted how she had been hospitalized for many months, first in Port Jefferson, New York, and then in a rehabilitation hospital in New Jersey, developing horrific bed sores that required her to sleep and spend a good deal of her time each day in an air-heated bed of sand. She told me also that one of her kidneys had been destroyed in the accident. I was truly edified by her complete surrender to an acceptance of God's Holy Will, something that befits a Catholic woman who was so devoted to the Mother of God and who followed "The Little Way" of the Little Flower herself, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face.
Betsy, however, was not pleased when I commended her for the manner in which she carried her cross:
"What cross? I don't have any cross to bear. Why not me?"
Yes, that is the reaction we should have when something seemingly "bad" happens to us. "Why not me?"
Betsy's mother, the late Mary Ryan Ehrbar Fougner (she remarried several years after the death of Betsy's father), told me shortly after that first visit in January of 1992 that Betsy's first reaction to the news that she would be paralyzed for life from the waist down was as follows: "Thank the good Lord that it's not my sister Diane as she loves to dance so much."
As a young man, then studying for his doctorate in political science at The Catholic University of America, told me at a gathering of people a few weeks later when I related all of this in amazement, said, "I want a lock of her hair!" Indeed.
Betsy was a good Catholic aunt to each of her nieces and nephews. Her house was the focal part of the large Ehrbar family. She had words of Catholic wisdom to impart to her nieces and nephews and, ultimately, to her great-nieces and great-nephews. She kept in touch with many of her classmates from Saint Aloysius School in Great Neck and from Saint Mary's High School in Manhasset, New York. She treated everyone as she would have treated Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the very Flesh.
Although I do not know the cause of her death, I do know that there were numerous times after the car accident in 1967 that she could have died. One of those was, I believe, in 1995 when her only functioning kidney shut down, causing her to go on dialysis. I found out about her hospitalization upon returning from Rome, Italy, in April of 1995, making my way to the hospital in short order to pray by her bedside with other friends of hers. It is almost unheard of for anyone who goes on dialysis to get off of it. Betsy Ehrbar got off of dialysis.
Betsy knew that she was on the "endangered species" list, that her life was not viewed as "useful" by materialists and secularists. Betsy Ehrbar, as I would tell my students without mentioning her name, was simply glorifying God with her life and giving true Catholic love to all of those who were privileged to know her. Her life of love for Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen does not count for much in the eyes of the utilitarians who are running ObamaCare. Her life of love for Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen, however, planted seeds for the conversion of the very people who scoff at the "value" of a life spent simply loving the true God of Divine Revelation and thus of loving her fellow man for love of Him.
We last visited with Betsy in 2002 about six months after Lucy's birth. I spoke with her again two years later on her birthday while we were on the road. It just happened that our travels in the motor home kept us out of the New York area most of the time. This was all in God's Holy Providence. Betsy, who doted on a wonderfully affectionate Siamese cat and a Shetland Sheep Dog she name "Charlie Brown," knows now that we have prayed for her daily and that I referenced her wonderful Catholic embrace of suffering in many of my lectures around the nation and, as noted just above, in my political science classes when discussing and condemning the devaluing of innocent human lives that seemingly "count for nothing" in the eyes of the world but count for everything in the eyes of God.
Indeed, each of us of us is called to bear our crosses with joy and gratitude as the means by which we can pay back at least part of the debt that we owe God for our forgiven Mortal Sins, our unforgiven Venial Sins, and our general attachment, if any, to our past sins, we are still flesh and blood human beings. Crosses may hurt sometimes. They may hurt a lot. Our Lord Himself suffered excruciating pains during His fearful Passion and Death that only a handful of genuine mystics or very holy spiritual writers have been able to comprehend and then to describe in words. Our Lord wants us to recognize that He wants us to show Him a greater degree of love by enduring the more difficult, the more painful crosses, recognizing, obviously, that we can show our love for Him by the patient endurance of even the smallest of crosses as love given unto Love Incarnate helps us to die to self as we cooperate with the graces He won for us on the wood of the Holy Cross by the shedding of every single drop of His Most Precious Blood and that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, she who is the Mediatrix of All Graces.
Showing us His ineffable mercy and forbearance with us erring sinners, God gives us length of years to learn how to love Him more fully as He has revealed Himself to us exclusively through His true Church. We come to despise our sins the more and more that we love God. We come to recognize the enormous price that we owe to God for our sins the more we meditate upon the love He showed us by becoming Incarnate in Our Lady's Virginal and Immaculate Womb by the power of God the Holy Ghost to suffer and to die to atone for our sins although He was free of the guilt of sin. We come to consider suffering as the path to victory as we see in our own personal "via dolorosas" nothing other than the royal road to the victory of eternal life. Yes, it may take us many years to come to accept and then to interiorize these truths. Well, that is why God, showing us that ineffable mercy of His, gives us length of years so that--maybe, just maybe--we might "get it" after forty or fifty of sixty or seventy years. Betsy Ehrbar was given exactly the length of years that God had intended her to have, no more and no less.
The example of joyful acceptance of suffering provided by the late Elizabeth Loretta Ehrbar reinforces the basic Catholic truth that we can't spend our lives thinking about what "might have been" or what "should have been" or "what could have been." There is nothing we can do about the things that have happened in the past other than to accept that they have occurred within the Holy Providence of God and to make reparation for our either refusing to accept those things that involved crosses with equanimity and resignation to the will of God and to make reparation for our sinful choices that have caused pain in the lives of others and for ourselves. And if we have been the victim of injustice from others, we must keep in mind these wise words written by Father Edward Leen, S.J., that I have quoted in several past articles on this site:
Under the reign of Satan men were hard and unfeeling, without pity or tenderness. The one thing they looked up to was the physical power to dominate, and the one thing they feared was the helplessness of poverty. Their life was divided between pleasure and cruelty. Pride and haughtiness instead of being regarded as defects were regarded as manly virtues. Weakness was almost synonymous with vice, and all this tended to fashion hearts imperverious to the grace of God and to every human feeling. Conversion of heart was for them extremely difficult. What God required on the part of man as a necessary condition of their friendship with Him was to them abhorrent, for the practice of the Christian virtues of submission, humility, and patience would be regarded by them as degrading. They had to learn that what was not degrading to God--since nothing could degrade Him in reality--could not be degrading to them. Turning to God postulated on their part not only a change of heart, but also a change of mentality. Their human values were almost all wrong. In the terse words of St. Ignatius describing the pagan world" "They smite, they slay and they go down to Hell". . .
In other words, it is the law of things as they actually are that we must continually suffer from others; it is the condition of our being that we shall be the victims of others' abuse of their free wills; it belongs to our position that our desires and inclinations should be continually thwarted and that we should be at the mercy of circumstances. And it is our duty to bear that without resentment and without rebellion. To rebel is to assert practically that such things are not our due, that they do not belong to our position. It is to refuse to recognize that we are fallen members of a fallen race. The moment we feel resentment at anything painful that happens to us through the activity of men or things, at that moment we are resentful against God's Providence.
We are in this really protesting against His eternal determination to create free beings; for these sufferings which we endure are a consequence of the carrying into effect of that free determination. If we expect or look for a mode of existence in which we shall not endure harshness, unkindness, misunderstanding, and injustice, we are actually rebelling against God's Providence, we are claiming a position that does not belong to us as creatures. This is to sin against humility. It is pride. (Father Edward Leen, In The Likeness of Christ, Sheed and Ward, 1936, pp, 17-18; 182-183..)
Slacker that I am, I have had to learn over the course of many decades now that it belongs to my position that my own desires and inclinations should be continually thwarted. One of the major disappointments, humanly speaking, occurred just about ten years ago now after I was recommended unanimously by the faculty of the Department of Political Science and International Studies of the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University for a full-time faculty position after nearly a decade of teaching in the department as an adjunct professor (getting paid per course without a full-time salary) and one year serving as a visiting professor on a full-time basis. I thought that my years of "exile" from having a full-time faculty position were over, that I could finally "relax" and "breathe" a bit back home on Long Island with a full-time salary and benefits. Such was not the will of God for me as senior administrators rejected the unanimous recommendation made by the faculty.
This was a disappointment. It was, however, one that I had to accept as coming from the hand of God, Who had other things for me to do apart from what I wanted to do, that is, to continue my career as a college professor of political science. Although I did adjunct again at C. W. Post in the Fall of 2001 and throughout the entirety of the 2002-2003 academic year before singing my "swan song" in the winter intersession at Post between December 28, 2006, and January 11, 2007, any real hope of securing a full-time teaching position effectively ended twelve years ago, at which point I began my "Living in the Shadow of the Cross" lecture program across the nation that brought me in contact on March 11, 2001, with one Sharon Collins, who was in attendance at my first lecture at Saint Mary by the Sea Church in Huntington Beach, California. I wouldn't have met Sharon if what I wanted had come to pass, namely, to teach full-time at the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University. We must accept everything as happening within the Providence of God and live in peace.
This is the sort of simple "meat and potatoes" Catholicism that was taught to Betsy Ehrbar as a girl in Kensington, New York, on the Great Neck peninsula. It is the sort of "meat and potatoes" Catholicism that my dear, dear wife, Sharon, who, along with Lucy, are the greatest gifts and consolations I have ever received apart from the Faith itself, has embraced even before she formally converted to the Faith on July 31, 1999, about nineteen and one-half months before I met her. Her own joyful acceptance of her daily crosses, starting with the cross who is her husband (!), provides inspiration in its own right to me at every moment. It's just Catholicism. Nothing else.
Betsy Ehrbar was very devoted to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. She knew that we do not presume the Particular Judgment of God upon any soul. She had a long list of the dead for whom she prayed faithfully every day. I ask the readers of this site, therefore, to pray and to have true Masses offered for the repose of the soul of Miss Elizabeth Loretta Ehrbar, who I am sure is praying for us from eternity.
May we beg Our Lady's help, especially through her Most Holy Rosary, to accept the will of God with joy, giving everything that we suffer back to Him through her own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
An eternal tenure in Heaven awaits those who persevere until the end by carrying their cross in this life as they keep close to the Mother of God Who is as close to us in our own sufferings as she was on Mount Calvary as she witnessed her Divine Son suffer as a result of our own sins.
Eternal rest grant unto Betsy Ehrbar, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and all of the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Our Lady of the Snows, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints