Suffering

Not long ago an older person was telling me that their children, whom they had brought up Catholic, no longer attended church. He was probably wondering why I had come back to church after many years of non-attendance. If I could have put the reason into one word, it would be suffering. A painful, apparently unresolvable situation pushed me into seeking out the church. However, one word only tells half of the story. The joy I found in the church and in a renewed relationship with God is what has kept me coming back.
A few years ago, a close family member became seriously ill. Long before that I had kicked against the traces and left the traditional church in which I was brought up. However, I still remembered many of the Bible verses I had learnt as a child, and I decided to cling onto the promise that if we have faith as big as a mustard seed then we can move mountains.
Although I believed in God, I couldn’t honestly have said that I was comfortable with anything more specific than that. I decided to be ecumenical and asked an Episcopalian priest, a Salvation Army cadet and our parish priest for prayers. I wasn’t just hoping. I decided that however bleak things looked, I was going to hold God to his promise and believe that He could change an apparently hopeless situation. A word of warning for agnostics: if you ask people to pray for a loved one, watch out. You will probably be included in their prayers, and you don’t quite know where that will take you.
I asked our local priest for prayers, and wrote in an email, ‘I am not a very religious person …. I don’t feel I am very good at praying. However, I have a strong belief in God and his goodness and that in him we live and move and have our being. I feel that there is very little I can do in this situation but I still have faith that there will be a way through.’
The reply I received, helped me to keep on hoping. He wrote, ‘But you watch, your faith and hope and, above all, your love, will have startling results.’
He was right. I couldn’t have foreseen what would happen. Over the last two years, my loved one has made a long slow journey back to life, and, even more unexpectedly, I have experienced the great joy of becoming Catholic. The prayers of others sustained me through a dark period and it meant a great deal to me that my friends in the Episcopalian church and the Salvation Army expressed their support and happiness that I have finally found a spiritual home.

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5 thoughts on “Suffering

  1. carpetlessleprechaun February 13, 2015 / 10:06 pm

    Canach, found it to be a thought provoking and straight talking blog. One thing struck me was that you say your not a very religious person but you have a strong belief in God. Today we sometimes use the word belief to indicate we agree with something but from your blog it is obvious you have trust in God. Glad also to see others are happy for you to find God and not just be in their club!

    Like

    • canach February 13, 2015 / 10:29 pm

      Thank you Carpetless Leprauchan (why carpetless?). I wouldn’t say I am a non-religious person now but just over two years ago, at the time I am writing about, I felt very ambivalent about formal religion. I find that my faith is like the state of my health, some days it’s stronger and some days it seems quite weak, but, hey, it wouldn’t be faith if we were sure.

      Liked by 1 person

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