A personal word

Return of the prodigal son

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I love fallen away Catholics. You know, the ones who haven´t been to Mass or confession in years. I mean it, I love them. Thats because I used to be one. I drifted away, and drifted along, peacefully until …


I went to work one day and one of the guys I worked with said, ¨You look jaundiced.¨ I went directly to the boss and told him I needed to leave, I needed to go to the local ER. You see, the guy who made the comment wasn´t known for his observational abilities. If he said I looked sick, well, I was sick. They drew blood at the hospital and I relaxed in a chair while waiting for the results. I was tired so I leaned back and closed my eyes. In a few minutes I heard footsteps, the ER doctor coming to tell me what they´ed found. I waited until I knew he was there with me before I bothered opening my eyes. He was standing over me, a young doctor with a look of horror on his face. I realized in an instant that when he saw me laid back with my eyes closed, well, he thought I was dead. I said, ¨It isn´t good, is it?¨ Even dead I have humor. It turned out that I had one forth the normal amount of blood left in my body. I ought not have been conscious at that point. At the rate my stomach ulcers were bleeding I´d have died within the next day or so. Blood transfusions and 6 days in hospital. No big deal.


Two weeks later I´m back for a week and more blood. But the ulcers aren´t bleeding anymore. What gives? Well, the bone marrow has shut down and my body isn´t making blood any more. So it wasn´t just ulcers. Great. Now what? Go to a specialist, more tests, more results, and I have … terminal cancer. OK. I call friends and give everything I own away, keeping just enough to be able to die in comfort. I have a friend who´ll come get the cat when I die. I start doing chemo. Boy, that´ll make you wish you were dead. I was so sick, and fully expected to die in a few weeks. I was so weak, both in body and spirit, that I couldn´t tolerate anything negative. I couldn´t fight things like that off. I couldn´t even watch TV, it all seemed so hurtful. Then one night, in desperation, I channel surfed. Ahh, a Catholic priest teaching catechism on EWTN. Oh, I can watch this. I mean, I know all this already. Its benign enough. Simple entertainment to take my mind off my illness. And I listened. And I started to cry. And I made up my mind. A few days later I´d made an appointment …


¨Father, I need to make a confession.¨ ¨After Mass on Monday morning. Its at 8:30. We´ll go to the rectory at 9, OK?¨ ¨Yes Father, I´ll be there.¨ Monday morning, its about 8:15. I wait. Its raining and ice is forming. Its not safe to drive. I continue to wait. The walk down to the church was slippery. I told myself I´d get down on my rear end and slide if thats what I had to do to get there. The church door was locked. I wait. Mass has been canceled. I call Father. He´s in the rectory in the back. I don´t think he could believe any one would come out in that weather. I make my way around the back and … Two hours later, I was back. Back in the grace of God. I didn´t care how sick I was or how cold it was or anything else. I was back.


Now I have to tell you, as dramatic as all this may sound, I do NOT recommend it. Better to never leave. There is no way of knowing for sure that a person will make it back. Better to stay. But I write this in the hopes that some one will read it and either come home or, better yet, stay home. I know that it was by God´s grace I made it back. And I know that it was via the prayers and intercession of my patron saint, St. Jude, that God´s grace touched me. I know this now even though I didn´t realize it when I first went to hospital. The day I walked into the ER? It was the feast day of St. Jude. Impossible causes? Not in God´s economy. The cancer? I´m in remission currently. All of the tests, and they´re on going, well, I´m one of the healthiest dead guys my doctors have ever seen. I could live for days, months, or years. The length of life isn´t the point of life. The point of life is to love and serve God here, now. From that point on He takes care of eternity.

Published on August 22, 2010 at 10:12 am  Comments (9)  

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What an amazing testimony to the grace of Our Lord!

    • God is good, and just by living daily we can both attest to that. 🙂 God bless.

  2. I’ve been following your blog for a while now but never read this page before. I apologize for that but am so glad I’m here. God is good indeed. Grace and peace to you, Jude-Marian, and thank you for enriching our lives every day.

    • Thank you, you’re very kind. Blessed holidays and holy days to you and all of yours. Or, like I keep saying, Mary Christ Mass. 🙂

  3. Beautiful! Thank you.

  4. I do not know what to say here. Battling cancer with one of my family members, I know how scarey at times the very word is, much less the disease itself. I am so thankful you are in remission. My family member, no longer has it. There is no trace of it anywhere. God is good! Thanks for sharing and God Bless, SR

    • I’m glad you’re family member got better. I know it can be scary. Its funny how different people respond to the disease. After my oncologist had been dealing with me for a while and knew me as an individual he asked me one day how it felt to know I was going to die. I understood why he would ask. He deals with death daily, but its always another persons death. When he asked me the nurses looked like they’ed go into shock that he would ever ask a patient such a question. I was flattered because I knew he trusted me enough to ask and knew it would be OK if he did. I told him I was relieved, and I was. He looked at me with this odd expression. I understood his confusion at such an answer. I explained. My grandparents raised me. They both went into a nursing home and died. When I knew I’d die of cancer I was so relieved. It meant I wouldn’t die in a nursing home and I’d always had a fear of that. Anything can be a blessing, even terminal cancer. It just depends on our outlook and attitude. 😉

  5. Hi Jude,
    thanks for your testimony, God’s grace is amazing; gives me hope for someone I know in need of re-conversion.
    God Bless G.

    • Thank you. I hope the one you’re thinking of, the one in need of re-conversion, comes home. God bless.

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