Monday, 19 April 2010
God in adversity.
Jack was a lovely man. Well loved by his wife, three children and four grand-children, as well as his wider family and friends.
When they all went to church together they filled the two front rows on the left of the Altar. But that wasn’t often, because they usually attended different Masses at St Vincent.
One day, out of the blue, Jack was taken severely ill and admitted to hospital. The whole family was devastated and it is fair to say that their Faith took quite a beating.
But not Jack. He remained calm and somehow, accepted the will of God. Of course, he was a little scared, but accepted what was happening to him willingly, trusting God that all would be well.
Father Ignatius visited him in the hospital often, and was greatly humbled by the man’s Faith and cheerfulness, despite the obvious pain he was in at times.
Jack remained in hospital for a while, receiving family visitors as well as his priest every now and then.
One day, whilst Father Ignatius was the only visitor Jack said to him:
“See that man over there Father, in the bed just opposite me?”
The priest nodded silently.
“He doesn’t believe in God Father …” continued Jack, “and he’s scared to death. He has the same symptoms and the same problems as me … and to be honest the doctors don’t hold much hope for either of us …”
Father Ignatius held Jack’s hand.
“Hey … I know what’s what Father. Both of us will have an operation soon and the chances are … well, I wouldn’t bet my shirt on it …”
Jack laughed weakly.
“You know what I did Father …”
The priest shook his head.
“Yesterday, I went over to that man. His name is Larry. And I said to Larry that Jesus will look after him. I told him that everything will be OK and he is not to worry about the operation.
“I don’t think he believed me, or in Jesus … but I think it calmed him down a bit.
“At least I’ve noticed that he’s stopped crying. He used to sit there and wipe his eyes and feel sorry for himself. He’s stopped that now. Maybe Jesus has started working on him … hein?”
Father Ignatius nodded weakly. He prayed silently for Jack and thanked the Lord for this man’s Faith in such adversity. Not only to believe in Christ’s healing power but to announce it boldly to someone who didn’t believe at all.
“Hey Father … you’d better give me Communion now; before the family turns up … you know how emotional they get … especially my wife ...” said Jack with a weak smile.
The priest prayed with Jack for a while after giving him Communion and waited until his family arrived before leaving the hospital.
A few days later Jack and Larry were operated on. Both operations were successful and after a period of recuperation in hospital and at home both fully recovered.
Jack and Larry became friends. Larry and his wife and daughter became Christian and attend church at St Vincent.
Jack’s severe illness and his stay in hospital were the channel for a family of un-believers to get to know and love Christ.
(Based on a true story).