By Barb Arland Fye
When my mom called last weekend, I figured it was to comment about the silly Mother’s Day card I sent her. But she had something else on her mind; I could hear it in her voice. The oldest granddaughter of my mom’s brother Jim and his wife Angela became very ill shortly after giving birth to her first child. The new mom has a collapsed lung and has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. My mom asked me to pray for Katie, her husband Andrew and their newborn son Luke. Katie’s family is reeling from this drastic turn of events.
They’ve been placed on my parish’s prayer chain, which includes an intention for another young family whose infant has a major medical challenge. I’ve also been following the caring page for a prayer partner enduring aggressive cancer with an amazing faith and courage. All of these suffering people are in my thoughts and prayers. I wonder how God will respond.
While proofreading this week’s edition of The Catholic Messenger, I came across an answer. One of our stories from Catholic News Service reported on a homily Pope Francis gave May 5 in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The pope observed that believers need to entrust themselves and their problems to the Lord, reporter Cindy Wooden said. He acknowledged that many Christians do not do this very often, but they should. Prayers of entrustment, he said, are signs of “trusting in the power of the Lord and in the tenderness of the Lord, who is our Father.”
Twenty-eight years ago I was a first-time mom, just two years older than Katie, watching my newborn in an incubator with an intravenous tube attached to his head. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the Lord’s tenderness enveloped my husband and me and our son. Through the years, as our family grew and confronted challenges from time to time, the Lord’s tenderness continued to cradle us. Sometimes, we’ve been too preoccupied to be aware of it.
In my mind, Melissa, the prayer partner in the throes of a battle with cancer, senses the Lord’s tenderness beyond her physical pain and occasional fear. Pope Francis says we have to recognize that some things just must be endured. Melissa gets that! Her caring page brims with insight about her relationship with the Lord and her journey toward ultimate union with him.
A few weeks ago Melissa, a wife and mother with teenagers at home, had to be hospitalized temporarily. Her faith-filled attitude uplifted me during a visit I made one evening after work. The Lord provided me with a glimpse, in that hospital room, of what it means to trust in him, what it looks like when he cradles someone in tenderness.
My prayer for Katie and her family is to sense the Lord’s tenderness cradling them during this ordeal. Her journey will require trust in the Lord and great patience with the medical procedures ahead. I pray that Katie has the opportunity to live a full life and savor her motherhood as I savor mine.