Thursday, February 05, 2009

I mourn the passing of Michael Dubruiel

I did not know Michael Dubruiel, except as the husband of Amy Welborn.

I do not know Amy Welborn, except as one of the most popular and prolific Catholic bloggers and writers. Her blog, Charlotte Was Both, is on my blog roll. Her book, Here. Now. A Catholic Guide to the Good Life, was a favorite of mine before I gave it away to a young woman who wandered into Outreach one night saying she was interested in becoming Catholic and did we know any good books that would help?

Two days ago her husband, Michael Dubruiel, also a blogger but better known for his books and his work as an editor and assistant to a bishop, collapsed suddenly at his gym and died shortly thereafter. The shock of this sudden death of this dedicated layman who was also a husband and father of two young sons has been reverberating through the Catholic blogosphere.

I've been feeling a little shell-shocked myself, even though I did not know Michael and don't know Amy. "Any man's death diminishes me," John Donne wrote in "Devotions upon Emergent Occasions" (1623), XVII" "because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

For some reason this passage from George Maloney's book The Cosmic Christ -- published in 1968 which accounts for the hip title although it's a wonderfully solid book -- struck a chord as I thought about and prayed for both Michael and Amy. I think it's because Irenaeus, who died in 202 AD, had such a great idea of the meaning of our life on earth. It's a remedy to the later medieval ideas, which still have currency, of our life on earth as merely a vale of tears (not that it isn't full of tears) and a testing for eternal life.

Irenaeus' idea of life one earth puts into context the work of Amy Welborn, Michael Dubruiel, and all of us who are lilies in the field as well as toilers in the vineyard:

Time is seen by Irenaeus, not as a measurement of a period of degradation through which man must pass in order, finally, to return to a lost perfection, but as the measurement of the unfolding of God's gifts in a constant act of creation. The fullness of God's creative action is tied intimately with the fulfillment of his purpose in creating man "according to God's image and likeness." Man's true growth and that also of the entire cosmos are dependent completely upon the power of God who bestows upon man inexhaustible gifts. Man is the "receptacle of God's goodness" and, through the reception and proper use of these gifts, man becomes the instrument whereby God's plan, his "glory", is achieved.

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