I was awake early this morning....my hands are a bit shaky as I type. It is a cool, cloudy day...when I put up the shade in our bathroom this morning and I looked out, I asked the dear Lord if I could see one little glimpse of blue sky. Just then some clouds moved and I got a glimpse of a tiny patch of blue; very quickly it disappeared again. God is good, indeed.
"O God beyond all praising,
We worship you today
And sing the love amazing
That songs cannot repay;
For we can only wonder
At every gift you send,
At blessings without number
And mercies without end;
We lift our hearts before you
And wait upon your word,
We honor and adore you,
Our great and mighty Lord."
Friday evening, Mark and I went to the archbishop's dinner at the seminary here in Cincinnati. We donate to the seminary every year and so we are invited to this dinner. It begins with Mass at 5:30. This was the first verse of the closing hymn.
After Mass, they have a social hour where everyone stands around, having a glass of wine and eating appetizers. Mark and I don't actually know many people at this, but every year we meet someone new. We were standing alone talking for a few minutes when a man in his early 40's came up to us and introduced himself as one of the seminarians from the diocese of Toledo, Ohio. We started talking and he told us about his life in the Coast Guard for twenty years before deciding to enter the seminary. He then proceeded to tell us that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, stage 4, last fall. I had thought earlier that he didn't look very healthy....I ended up telling him about my diagnosis. We talked about how he had managed to get through the school year undergoing treatment.
"The flower of earthly splendor in time must surely die,
It's fragile bloom surrender to you, the Lord most high;
But hidden from all nature the eternal seed is sown
Though small in mortal stature, to heaven's garden grown;
For Christ the man from heaven and death has set us free,
And we through him are given the final victory."
I didn't tell him about my brother, David, dying from pancreatic cancer three years ago...I'm sure he is already well aware of his odds. I was in awe at the peace in him. A few minutes later, a couple from our parish, who have a son who is a priest, came up to us and interrupted our conversation but we promised to pray for one another.
Shortly before 7:30, they called us in for dinner. Table seating is assigned and we ended up being at a table with that seminarian, two other seminarians, a retired priest, and a deacon and his wife. I was seated next to a seminarian named Andrew, who went to the Josephinum with Will and Johnny, and we struck up a conversation. He told me how amazing the seminarian with cancer has been all year; how he has persevered despite difficult treatments and illness. What a blessing it was to me to hear this...
"Then hear, O gracious Savior,
Accept the love we bring,
That we who know your favor
May serve you as our King;
And whether our tomorrows,
Be filled with good or ill,
We'll triumph through our sorrows
And rise to bless you still;
To marvel at your beauty
And glory in your ways,
And make a joyful duty
Our sacrifice of praise."
All night long, every time I awakened, this hymn was running through my mind. It is on my lips this morning; especially this last verse. I wish I could say that my fears are completely gone, however I am comforted in knowing that He is with me through it all.
I am thankful indeed for that, and for all of the prayers of my dear friends, near and far.
A blessed, peaceful day to all.....