Over at weeklystandard.com I’ve written a brief reflection on my friend Alvaro Ribeiro, S.J., who died on April 14 at the age of 64. He was funny and excitable and brilliant. And at the same time he suffered from panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. Then followed a series of ministrokes. Excerpted here is a passage from the homily of Father Jeffrey von Arx from the funeral:
But in all the years of our friendship, I never knew Alvaro to feel sorry for himself, to blame anyone, or to think of his depression as anything more than his own share in the human condition and—more to the point—as his own share in the cross of Christ. And this was not just pious rhetoric. There are few people in my experience who understood and accepted their own suffering as their participation in Christ’s suffering as clearly as Alvaro did. And suffer he did, especially in these last few years. That suffering was partly physical: the slow diminishment of physical and mental powers through what Alvaro himself assumed to be a series of small strokes. But his suffering was also situational: the fact that he could not remain at Georgetown; that he could no longer teach. But in all honesty, I have to say that I never knew Alvaro to be embittered by this suffering. He continued to find joy in his life, even amidst the constraints of his situation: in friendship, in beauty, but most of all in his faith, which he never doubted, which never seems to have failed him.