Get your tissues out

Ashley campbell proposal

The following is from the sister of the man in the picture:


I was honored today to witness one of the most beautiful moments I will ever see in my lifetime. My baby brother got engaged to one of my best friends, Ashley!!!

For those of you who do not know Ashley Campbell she suffers from cystic fibrosis. She has been awaiting a double lung transplant for over 3 years. About 2 weeks ago Ashley took a serious turn for the worse, because her lungs were allowing too much CO2 to build up in her body. After a trip to UHC she was life flighted to the Cleveland Transplant Clinic and put on a ventilator to await her lung transplant. This time there would be no getting better and going home. It was then for the first time Ryan realized Ashley could really die. He could not imagine his life without her, so the planning began.

Ashley spent several days unconscious, and Ryan did not and has not left her bedside. Ashley has improved, and received the news a few days ago that her lung transplant would take place any day now. He called me on Tuesday morning and told me today would be the big day. Her surgery is very risky with a long recovery, and Ryan wanted to show her he is with her for the long haul.

With shaky hands, a racing heart, and sweat pouring from his body today Ryan asked Ashley to marry him. He promised to remain by her side no matter what they may face and love her unconditionally for the rest of their lives; She said yes.

I have never seen a love more true, and words can not express how proud I am. Welcome to the family Ashley, the best is yet to come!


Wow. Just wow.

I really don’t have anything to add to this…Her expression says it all. If you can’t tell, the device wrapped around her face is a ventilator. It is doing her breathing for her. To be proposed to while on the brink of death and in need of a double lung transplant ASAP—I don’t think even Hollywood could come up with something that touching.

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What’s in a name?

With about 10 minutes of research, you could have a new appreciation for your name. In about that time I’ve found a lot of meaning in my own name, and I’d encourage looking into the significance of your own. What you find might surprise you!

All throughout history we see the power that names have.

Obviously the best example is the name that God chose when He came to earth: Jesus, or “God saves” and Christ, or “the Anointed One, the Messiah”.

Every time we cross ourselves, we do it “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”—Philippians 2:9-11

William Shakespeare knew the power of names as we see in Romeo and Juliet:

Juliet: ” ’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O! be some other name:
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet…” (Act II, Scene 2)

Juliet asks Romeo to give up his Montague name so that they can be married. She insists that their names don’t matter, but as we all know, that story ends up in tragedy. Names do matter, and they can shape a person’s character.

Most names can be traced back to a figure or person who embodied the meaning of the name—so, the idea and intention behind a name connect a person to a deep reality that transcends the present time.

Look for example at the name Michael and its female version, Michelle. Michael comes from a Hebrew word that means “Who is like God?” and is the name of the most powerful angel in heaven, St. Michael the Archangel. The rhetorical question “Who is like God?” is thought to be his war cry as he casts Satan into hell.

St. Michael the Archangel 001

If the name’s origin, St. Michael, is taken out of the picture, then Michelle will become Mychella, or Mikaela, or Mykayla, and eventually something crazy like M’quayluh.

Cash, Brooklyn, Jayden, Grayson, Bryce, Kaylee, Colton, and other trendy names—what do they all have in common? They all sound really cool, but none of them point to a transcendent meaning or tradition. There’s no real connection to a great Christian figure or biblical hero—in other words, the names have little power or character.

Actual Christian names carry a power that secular names just don’t. All of my siblings were given biblical names on purpose, because as Pope Benedict XVI says, “Not by chance, in fact, does every baptized person acquire the character of son, based on the Christian name, an unmistakable sign that the Holy Spirit gives birth to man “anew” from the womb of the Church.”

So, in a mysterious way your name and your character are fused into one at baptism. Your name is a part of your spiritual mission and destiny as a person.

I’ve found this to ring true in my own life. I am named after the Old Testament Daniel and I’m the sixth out of seven children. So, just for kicks I looked up the Book of Daniel, chapter 6 and it’s “Daniel in the Den of Lions”.

While the historical Daniel was up against a den of lions, I am up against a terminal illness.

He was put there against his will, and I was born with CF whether I like it or not.

Our name means “God is my judge”.

In the eyes of the world, I may not amount to much—but the world is not my judge. God is. He blesses my weakness and sickness, and turns it into a treasure that I can only see with the eyes of faith right now.

My faith in God helps me see my cystic fibrosis as a good thing, as sixty-five roses. Daniel 6:5 reads, “Then these men said, ‘We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”‘

Daniel’s enemies were so frustrated that they resorted to attacking his faith in God. When life puts you in a corner and your faith in God is the only thing you have to rely on, that’s an amazing sign, because it means the devil sees your faith as a threat and is trying with everything in his power to crush it.

As for my family name Pruit, it is a combination of the Anglo-Saxon “prut” meaning “confident, proud” and the French endings “-ett, -itt” meaning “little one”.

The original name, Pruett, has its roots in the Norman conquest of England. It was a character description given to “a brave little man; one who carries himself with pride” that eventually turned into a surname.

I have always been a small guy. I’ve never weighed above 130 lbs, because my body has to use most of my calories to fight CF. This puts the struggle perfectly:

calories meme

It’s a battle that I never win, but I gladly fight to stay alive—and that seems to be my destiny, to be a small, happy warrior in an uphill battle.

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet…”

Shakespeare showed that Juliet clearly had it wrong, that names do mean something. According to my name, I am a courageous little dude who is too proud to give up in a fight, and like Daniel the prophet I am able to see past my current predicament because of my faith in God—a God who uses my cystic fibrosis for the redemption of the world and turns it into a sweet-smelling bouquet of sixty-five roses.

He’s the Man

The following is proof that the Gospel can be found anywhere and everywhere, even in hip-hop. As the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen says, the Gospel and especially the Passion narrative contain the greatest drama in human history, and so they are impossible to get away from.

“…the Sacrifice of the Cross is not something which happened nineteen hundred years ago. It is still happening. It is not something past like the signing of the Declaration of Independence; it is an abiding drama on which the curtain has not yet rung down…

We were not conscious of being present there on Calvary that day, but He was conscious of our presence. Today we know the role we played in the theater of Calvary, by the way we live and act now in the theater of the twentieth century.” —Ven. Fulton J. Sheen, Calvary and the Mass

All people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, participate in this ongoing drama. It’s up to Catholics to recognize the truth in the theater of our culture today, and redirect it to the source of Truth who is Jesus Christ.

I found some of the Gospel in “The Man” by Aloe Blacc on the radio this morning. It’s a catchy song that’s on the border of soul and hip-hop, and some of the lyrics could be applied to Jesus, because He really is THE MAN.

[Chorus:]

Well you can tell everybody
Yeah you can tell everybody
(1) Go ahead and tell everybody
(2) I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man
(3)
Yes I am, yes I am, yes I am
I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man

[Verse 1:]
I believe every lie that I ever told
Paid for every heart that I ever stole
I played my cards and I didn’t fold
Well it ain’t that hard when you got soul (this is my world)
Somewhere I heard that life is a test
I been though the worst but I still give my best
(4) God made my mold different from the rest
Then he broke that mold so I know I’m blessed (this is my world)

[Bridge:]
Stand up now and face the sun
Won’t hide my tail or turn and run
(5) It’s time to do what must be done
(6) Be a king when kingdom comes

[Verse 2:]

(7) I got all the answers to your questions
I’ll be the (8) teacher you could be the lesson
I’ll be the (8) preacher you be the confession
I’ll be the quick relief to all your stressin’ (this is my world)
(9) It’s a thin line between love and hate
(10) Is you really real or is you really fake
I’m a solider standing on my feet
No surrender and I won’t retreat (this is my world)

(1) And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”Matthew 28: 18-20

(2) So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” —John 19: 5-6

(3) God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” —Exodus 3:14

(4) “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” —John 6:51

And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. —Luke 24: 34-35

(5) “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.” —Luke 9:22

(6) Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” —John 18: 36-37

(7) And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” —Mark 12: 28-31

(8) When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. —Matthew 11:1

(9) Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.” —John 14: 23-24

(10) And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” — Mark 7: 6-8