For Eva Vaughan who is suffering from Pancreatic Cancer.
Jesus says; ‘My daughter, I want to instruct you on how you are to rescue souls through sacrifice and prayer. You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone. I want to see you as a sacrifice of living love, which only then carries weight before Me… And great will be your power for whomever you intercede. – Diary of St. Faustina
On Saturday I received a package in the mail from my cousin. She sent her two latest paintings to me to give to Eva. She wrote a note saying she hoped the beauty in them helped her in the hospital room and that Our Lord and Our Lady knew and shared her suffering. I took the pictures up as soon as I was able and gave them to Eva. I read the letter my cousin wrote. She told me how beautiful they were. Her Catholic cousin had come into town to help love and care for Eva. Her cousin seemed touched by the paintings too.
On Sunday morning, October 25, 2015, I received a call from Eva. She told me she was looking at the pictures and they were beautiful. She told me she wanted to become Catholic. She was baptized Catholic but had not received the other initiation sacraments. She wanted to receive them. She told me she did not know if she had 3 months, 6 months, or longer left to live, but that whatever time she did have left, she wanted it to be beautiful. She said she had never felt so close to Christ. She wants her husband and son to know that love. She wants them to know the love of Christ. Would I please bring a Priest?
I spoke with Father Bala, and indeed because it was considered an emergency, and Eva was in danger of death, he could administer these Sacraments to her. It’s funny, Father was supposed to be on a trip to the Holy Land, but due to last minute complications was unable to go. I now know why. We decided to go see her on Monday.
As I rode in the car on Monday up to the hospital with Father, I realized I did not need to tell him where to go. As we drove, he pointed out every hospital, nursing home, veteran’s home, and children’s home along the way. This quiet Priest knew where all these places were because he visits the sick, the elderly, the lonely, the poor, and the dying. I never knew. I mean, I knew, but I didn’t know, not to that extent. “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
When we arrived, Eva was groggy and tired, but she knew exactly what we were there for. She asked for my cousin’s pictures and she placed the one of Mary against her body and wrapped her tiny tired arms around the one of Jesus. I couldn’t help but think, Mary always points to her son, Jesus, and the way she placed the pictures depicted this. Mary watched Jesus suffer on the cross, just as we were watching Eva suffer now.
We left the room for awhile so Eva could make her confession to Fr. Bala. We came back in and we started the rest. She was tired, so we held her. It was her mother, me, a good friend, and her husband. She responded to each thing Father asked. When it came time for communion, Fr. said, “Body of Christ.” Eva, said, “Amen,” and then she repeated “Body of Christ,” as if knowing for sure, yes, this is the Body of Christ. She was so tired. She was Confirmed “sealed by the Holy Spirit.” She fell into sleep. As we left, we all had tears in our eyes.
I was overwhelmed by the love in the room. The husband, mother and friend who love her so dearly, who cried watching her suffer. The love she has for her husband and her son that makes her fight so hard to stay alive. She has changed me. She has brought into perspective living in the present moment. She lives love and lives thankfully for every moment she has. I think her suffering has brought more people closer to Christ. That is redemptive suffering. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Mathew 16:24-25. Our goal is heaven and not the riches of this world. Her suffering has made that clear to me. Heaven is total love, and she is sacrificing here for the sake of love. Her suffering is not in vain. I know Eva is not perfect, but the light in her eyes and of her life bring a brightness that is rare. If everyone loved like that, the world would be a whole lot better. It is a stark contrast to the news on TV these days.
I am so blessed to be a part of her life. I am ashamed that she has lived in my neighborhood for years and I did not know her until recently. I have had people contact me that are praying for her. I know of 3 pilgrimages in 3 countries where people are praying for her. People are pouring out their love for her. I know our God is a God of miracles and my hope is that He will give one to her. Please continue to pray for her.