Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Story of Faith: from Vacation Bible School...

Bible School Week: Day Three

This week a small army of us are teaching the children of our parish to SHINE for Jesus:

S = Receive the Sacraments
H = Help Other People
I = Imitate the Saints
N = We Need Each Other, Together in Christ
E = Evangelize: Invite a Friend to Church!

As I was talking to one of the parents today, she told me that she related to my story about Mary and how she reached out to me at a dark time in my life. She told me that after she became Catholic, she prayed very hard for her husband to become Catholic -- but he never saw the point. He had been raised without going to church, and didn't see any reason to change that.

Then, inexplicably, their eight-year-old daughter's eyes began to cross. She was scheduled for an MRI, and the parents were terrified that it was a brain tumor. For the first time since she had known him, her husband began to pray. "Lord, if it's a tumor, give it to me instead."

Just as suddenly as they had come, the symptoms subsided. A year later, the husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The husband had two options: get a simple biopsy, or elect to have immediate surgery to remove the mass.

That week, for the first time since they were married, the husband went to Mass with his family. "Give us a sign, God, of what to do," the couple prayed.

When our young priest gave his homily, he spoke of the sacrament of reconciliation and why it is so important to the spiritual life. "When you have cancer, you don't mess around. You go in, have surgery, and get it all removed as quickly as possible ..."

They got their sign. Shortly thereafter, the husband signed up for RCIA. Three years later, he is a cancer-free Catholic.

There are times in every life when we go through dark patches, when we don't understand the reasons for the struggle. Don't understand why we have to endure so much pain, such injustice ... such excruciating and seemingly unending periods of waiting.

But in the grand economy of eternity, nothing is wasted. Nothing takes God by surprise. Heaven's tears water the earth, bringing new life wherever they fall. If we permit ourselves to rest in that Mercy, hold on to that Hope, secure in that Love ... We will discover (if only from the perspective of Heaven) the unfathomable riches of God's Grace.

A school of another kind... God bless you!