Cancer is an invader that kills the body. It destroys the flesh without regard to its human host. It is cruel. It wounds the heart, torments the mind and weakens the spirit. Cancer cannot kill the spirit but it only destroys the flesh and causes the body to suffer and die.
Only through faith, hope and charity can we survive this dreadful disease.
I have had cancer twice before and now have it again. It is terminal and I will suffer much.
The first time I had cancer of the left kidney was a total surprise but it did not deter me. I did not despair for my faith sustained me. No matter what I would have to undergo in removing the kidney I knew God would not give me more than I could endure. Our Lord promised that He would not leave us orphans. He would be with us always.
Two years, nearly to the day, I got cancer of the right adrenal gland. The opposite kidney is attached to the adrenal gland by blood vessels. Again, the cancer was removed by removing the adrenal gland and scraping the surrounding area. It did not remove my hope. The hope of eternal life if I died not surviving the surgery which is always a threat. I did not want to have this surgery because of the difficult pain I experienced the first time.
In this second surgery I slipped into a temporary coma in the hospital for about 17 hours. During the coma I could not speak but saw myself standing looking at the floor beside my bed. I tried hard to speak, as I heard my wife talking to me, but could not. Finally, I heard myself speaking what I wanted to say. Only then did I come out of the coma.
I recovered only through the grace of God. Since that surgery I have a permanent short-term memory loss. No matter how difficult and painful the recovery time was I never lost faith or hope for God was always with me to give me strength.
Eight years later and having been cancer free I underwent a CT scan for diverticulitis. It revealed that I had kidney cancer once again. It was in the other kidney. Did I despair? No! This is what cancer does to people who do not have a strong faith. It torments the body and mind and weakens the spirit.
How did this new cancer affect me? Fortunately I grew stronger in the trust of God. I saw this as a last great test of my faith of loving and serving God.
I felt God asking me “do you love me”? Yes Lord, I said, “I love you”. “Then trust in me” was His reply. For most people these days they would trust in their doctors and technology to spare their lives. They would even blame technology if it did not heal them or make them perfect once again. They would despair if left to die with this cancer.
God was telling me to love Him, serve Him, praise and adore Him more then I had ever done. I said, “Lord, I am all yours, do with me as you will. I am nothing but a small insignificant worm.” Our Lord then blessed me with strength, courage, patience and trust that I could endure all the suffering the cancer might bring me. Thanks be to God my pain has been minimal. Discomforting at times but with the grace God was blessing me with I endured the difficulties.
Now, having passed the last three years with cancer my faith and hope is still strong. I know now God blessed me with another virtue which I have always performed. But the virtue of charity now was with my whole heart and soul not just in words and deeds.
I longed to give my life for those suffering from illness, for those who lack food, clothing, shelter or medicine and especially for the homeless. Knowing, “For the grace of God go I,” I could be that person. God has blessed me with this special gift to long to help those less fortunate than myself. For my cancer was nothing compared to the suffering of others.
I would like to remedy all their sufferings and give them the comfort that surrounds me; a nice house, car, money, a peaceful community and country in which to live. But I cannot even do so even if I had a billion of dollars. That would only be a drop in the bucket to help them. Then what could I do for them? I could pray, offer simple daily sacrifices to God and offer my suffering united with the sufferings of Christ on the cross for all those in the world still suffering. Also, for those suffering from poverty, war, famine and tyrannical governments and for the precious life of the unborn babies aborted each second of each day. I offer also my suffering for the suffering the young girls or women who choose to abort their babies through ignorance or selfishness. I ask God to give them the grace of reconciliation and forgiveness and to open their minds about such horrible injustice to the unborn.
This charity for others is what our Lord calls love; true love of neighbor. Jesus said, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers you do to me.” Christ is telling me through this charity from my heart, and not seeking recognition or reward from it, that true love is given to others and to Him. God will not be out done. For the love given and shared with others God will return to us a thousand-fold. We cannot see it but that charity and that love are passed on to others.
Jesus tells me through prayer, conversational prayer, that no suffering great or small escapes His attention. The least suffering offered to Him is well received for we overlook the least sufferings that could be offered to God for the remission of our sins be they venial (small) or mortal (deadly).
Jesus also tells me, “See how I, your redeemer and savior suffered all for the love of you.” He says, “Did you not see the insults, the beatings I took and uttered not a word, the spittle I received on my body and face, the excrement they threw at me, the many times they plucked my beard and pulled my hair, the scourging I underwent all for the love of you, how my flesh was torn to pieces, the crowning of thorns that pierced my head, the abandonment that pierced my soul, the mockery of the soldiers saying ‘play the prophet for us who is striking you on the head with the reeds,’ the ridicule I endured, the crucifixion on the cross, the pain that ravaged me entire body from the spikes driven into my hands and feet, the pulling of my arms and legs so that they would fit into the place where the spikes could be nailed.” All this I saw from the garden when I was grieved and no one was there to comfort me. Three times I sought my companions to stay with me while I prayed but they were too tired to stay awake. Out of human desperation I prayed, “Father, take this cup from me, but not my will, but your will be done.” My Father sent me not one angel to comfort me but thousands upon thousands. One angel came down to comforted me and gave me strength to endure all for it was my desire and mission to save and redeem all people. This redemption was to re-unite all people burdened with original sin and actual sin back to their creator; the Almighty, the Omnipotent God and Father.
This was the divine charity, the great love of God, that restored our friendship. Through this charity, we too can and should offer others this precious gift, the grace and blessings God gives us each day. It is not to be kept but to be given as a free gift to others. We do not deserve this grace but God loves us so much and desires our love that He continually gives us this grace. We should thank God each minute, each hour and each day for the graces and blessings He pours forth upon us. These include our health and well being, house, home, family, friends, clothing, shelter, food, medicine, and our healthcare. We truly are blessed to live in a rich country as ours, the United States of America.
The cancer I first talked about is not only that of our bodies but the cancer of distraction of worldly events surrounding our very lives. It is difficult, if not impossible, to escape from it unless we are strong in faith.
This cancer invades our daily lives and corrupts and destroys our morals, our virtues and does great damage to our soul with the stain of sin. It is seductive and cruel in its attacks upon us. It wounds the heart and torments the mind. It weakens the spirit to loneliness and despair. It s the mind to such a degree that it thinks God has abandoned us and will not help us. We are left on our own and have become too weak to fight. We give in to all the lust and desires of the world. We forget God and worship the false gods of the world and what they can do for us.
We have the god of economics, marketing, computers, technology and the great god of entertainment. This is the universal god of television, movies, theater, sports and all the activities that distract and please our senses that takes our thoughts and love from the true God from us. We are to trust our Lord Jesus as He loved us and died for us so that He can intercede for us before Almighty God. “No greater love than this than to lay down your life for a friend,” Jesus said.
As you can see, we have a choice, whether to follow Christ’s example or the worlds. The world knows not its own nor cares about them. Christ, on the other hand, knows His sheep, His followers. They perform great acts of kindness toward their fellow man, be it friend or foe. For they see Christ in everyone. Our gift of faith, hope, charity and love embraces our very soul so that the world cannot penetrate it and disturb it. We are at peace.
The physical cancer that threatens to ravish my body does not disturb my mind, heart or soul. Why, you may ask? Technology may save you? No, I reply! Only Christ can save me through His mercy and love. When you have true love of God nothing can disturb you nothing can frighten you. Jesus said, “Fear is useless what is needed is trust.” You have a great inner peace and know that God is always at your side. Dying is not the end but an eternal beginning. There is no need to fear.
Be assured our Lord had prepared a place for us, those that believe in Him. This gives me peace of mind and comfort of soul that my passing from this life to the next, no matter how difficult it may be, will be so rewarding if I persevere to the end with love of God in my heart, mind and soul. Trusting in God’s infinite Divine Mercy, forgiveness and love I know I will persevere.
Deo Gratias – “Thanks be to God.”
Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus