“Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor… Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”
–Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
You know my friend Eva is battling pancreatic cancer. Probably what you don’t know is that a little over a year ago Eva and her husband adopted a little boy who desperately needs his mother. By the grace of God she found him and rescued him. She wants to live for his sake. He finally has a mother who loves him, and then this diagnosis…. It is always in these moments, in the stark suffering, I question God. Because what I want more than anything is for her to be cured. But I know His ways are not my ways, and in the end I always ask that His will be done.
On Sunday, Eva asked openly for help, and for prayers. She asked me if I could put together a prayer service for her and ask people to come over since she was going to have Whipple on Monday for her cancer. Since it was fall break I wasn’t sure if people would come. I put the word out. And people came. We read the Gospel of Luke 8:40-56. The healing of the hemorrhaging woman who touched his cloak, and the raising of the dead girl. We prayed over her. We sang. After it was done her husband said when this all started that he wasn’t a believer. But that the one thing that all the people who came to help had in common was a belief in Jesus Christ who went to church, and that the love we had poured out for his wife, well he wanted that, and we made him want to believe. And he thanked us. My Priest did try to come but was unfortunately stuck in a traffic jam that didn’t move. But the Body of Christ was there present. There were Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics, and others. All of us praying over her together. Each bringing something different to the table in support.
I looked around the room and felt the Holy Spirit. Eva said, there has been blessing in the cancer because her family is now closer than ever, and because we were all there. She said some things in their lives had changed for the better. Coming from a woman who vomits daily. The thankfulness was amazing. I thought, this is how it’s supposed to be. Neighbor coming together with neighbor to support one another. In that moment we’re all just human, all with the same hope. That Eva live. We prayed for the surgeons hands to guided. We also prayed for supernatural healing. We prayed the Our Father at the end, asking “Thy will be done.” When I left, I didn’t have anxiety, because all of us, we took the next right step, and spread hope to others. Jesus I trust in you. This experience has really taught me to live in the present moment and face what’s right in front of me. Knowing all the time God is holding us in the palm of His hand.
The surgery didn’t work. They couldn’t get the cancer. She is faced with the reality of death. I cried and cried. Another blogger, Charlie Johnston, reminded me that we on earth are the Church Militant. Heaven is the Church Triumphant. What an adept image. We are the Church Militant. Father Z wrote on his blog;
As a Catholic who is militans, “militant”, that means that we dedicate ourselves with obedience and zeal to the role we are given in life through our calling and through our talents and good inclinations, our vocations in life. It means that we are also prepared to fight the enemy wherever and whenever threats to the salvation of our own souls and our neighbor’s souls present themselves. It means working together as units and not as individuals merely. It means good conditioning and through drills in knowing well our Catholic Faith and practicing virtues and discipline in the use of the Sacraments. It means submission to the Church’s teaching authority and her duly ordaining pastors. It means fidelity, loyalty and even a willingness to die.
We are battling all kinds of evils here in this world. Some caused by sickness, and others by evil hands. Eva had the Church Militant present working together to pray for her. We pray for her body and her soul.
For now, I will pray with zeal for a supernatural cure for her. If in the end, God chooses that it is her time to go home, it is with hope that I look to the Church Triumphant. That she will go to the place where there is no more suffering. There is only perfect love. It is in joy that I walk knowing that there is a place of perfect love. It is in joy that I go forward to spread the love here wherever I go.
I’m not sure if by now you realize how music often touched my soul. I leave you with a song that made me feel comforted; You make me brave by Bethel Music and Amanda Cook.