Sunday, January 24, 2016

As they enter the Kingdom - Faith and #Cancer how #Prayer can help...SHARE

It's been a rough first half of the school year. We've lost not one, but two parents to cancer (and had another just recently diagnosed and several others who are living with cancer). In a school population made up of about 200 families, that's a remarkable statistic. And, because we are such a small school, mainly made up of siblings and cousins -- with a real small town America feel -- it strikes at every raw emotion. These weren't people who were acquaintances. Our children didn't simply pass them their children in the hallway; they grew up with them. They watched their families grow. We frequented their businesses, we smiled at their children's talents. We were part of their existence and they were part of ours. We may not have been close, but they knew us and we knew them. They prayed for us, and we prayed for them.

It's hard to witness these families experience the news of cancer. It's hard to watch them wage their war against the enemy disease. One friend today put it beautifully -- these people didn't lose their battle with cancer, they won it. They fought the fight for as long as God asked them to endure; and believe me they endured with the example of holiness that each of us can draw upon when it is our time to struggle. They were true witnesses to redemptive suffering, to surrendering to the will of God -- not giving up, but doing His will in each moment. And all of those moments required the virtues of strength, perseverance and trust to continue on, to look for the hope of a cure, to leave no stone unturned.

I know that in the grand scheme of things, death is unavoidable. Sadly, when you love someone, the reality is that one of you will have to leave before the other. There are very few who get to make that journey into eternity together. When you are a Christian, however, death is the entrance into a new way of living. While we will surely feel the pain of that loss here in what we have left of our own existence on this side of heaven, we know that the ones we have loved have entered into eternity. We will pray for them as they make their way to heaven, and they, when they arrive in the Beatific Vision, will pray for us through the remainder of our sojourn here on earth.

Does this knowledge make it easier to bear the loss?

Not even remotely.

But, the comfort and grace that descends on us from the Heavenly choirs of angels and saints, the warmth of compassion that is showered down by the Blessed Mother, and the strength and love given by the Trinity in these times is a remarkable balm to the heart wounded by the loss of a loved one.

Faith -- Hope -- Love.

Faith -- that God's promises are true and we will ardently trust in Him.

Hope -- that we will be made worthy through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Love -- the greatest of these is love -- that God, Who is Love, will remain ever present in our lives. And, like our friends and family who have gone before us bearing in their flesh the witness of Love, we too will be an inspiration to others in emulating their love through joyful sacrifice.

Requiescat in pace, dear friends. Pray for us as you enter the Kingdom. Help us along our way as we journey toward that same reward. 
By: Kathy Vestermark, Professor at CDU

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