At the medical center, my brother and his wife were told that Carolyn had a Wilm’s tumor, which is a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children. Unfortunately, Carolyn’s diagnosis was a stage four cancer, suggesting a very high mortality rate. Our whole family was devastated by the news.
The night before surgery, Carolyn’s parents told her that she would need to have surgery and after that she would have to be in the hospital for at least two more weeks. As you would expect, Carolyn was scared, but she finally said to her mom and dad: “God will take care of me.”
To this day, I am still amazed by Carolyn’s response and her level of faith. Now, one could suggest that Carolyn did not quite understand the gravity of her illness, but she certainly had the faith of a child! In today’s Gospel from John on the Feast of Saints Philip and James, Philip did not quite understand. Even though he had been with Jesus for some time he did not understand the link between Jesus and the Father. Jesus asserts in today’s Gospel, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Perhaps Philip, as well as you and I, need the child like faith similar to Carolyn’s faith.
The founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, encourages us to find God in all things. For Philip, the Son of God was right in front of him and he did not see that. We need to take the time to find, to see God in all things. First, we need to see God within ourselves. We have within us the divine presence. I have enjoyed and I hope that you have too, those delightfully quiet moments of peacefulness in our lives. Those are such great moments of interior consolation. For me, that is such a reminder of God within me. Or, in the midst of a chaotic day, with God’s grace, I can find an oasis of peacefulness within me by taking the time to pray, to be quiet, to listen.
We see God around us every day, all day! For example, the other day, a fellow Jesuit asked me how I was doing and acknowledged that as president of Creighton University I must be facing some challenges, like any university president today. He said to me: “I am praying for you and if I can do anything more for you beyond the prayers, let me know.” That was a God moment, a graced moment. Take time today, to recall those graced moments in your life and acknowledge that God is in our midst—right in front of our eyes.
By the way, my niece is alive and well today. In fact, she is getting married later this month. God is indeed taking care of her, and you, and me . . .
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