The Body of Christ

The Body of Christ

My sister received an email forward today from her former roommate, Jenny, who lives in my hometown of Austin, Texas.  Jenny had received the email from her co-worker, Shenise, who had received it from her mother, Sherry:

Dear Lord,

My first thought is “hopefully, they found it early.”  This is what our pray is based on Lord, our hope in Jesus Christ!  We thank you for knowing already what the outcome will be and we pray for strength to keep trusting you and looking to you for all that Melanie, Don and their little one will need.

Thank you Lord for everything!!

I don’t know who Sherry is. My mom doesn’t recognize the name. I don’t know where she heard our story or how, but she’s praying for me and my family and asking everyone she knows to pray for us as well.

My mom went to Jenny’s wedding today and several people came up to her to ask how I’m doing and said they’d been praying for me.

My sister asked a classmate of hers, a sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth, to pray for us. She and her community have been doing so.

My sister-in-law asked the Carmelite nuns in neighboring Danvers to pray for me.

My husband’s former boss has a friend in Calcutta who asked the Missionaries of Charity at the mother house to pray for us.

My dad asked his community of secular Carmelites to pray for us. And when he showed up at his spiritual direction class, he found that everyone in the Spiritual Direction Institute was praying for us because one of the Carmelites had passed on the prayer intention to one of the priests.

I’ve been told that many priests have said masses for me. Many people have offered up their masses, holy hours, rosaries, novenas and other prayers for me.

Dom said that today at the men’s conference everyone came up to him and asked how I was and said they’d been praying for us.

My blog entry on my cancer diagnosis has been linked to by I don’t even know how many other bloggers. It has received 1951 hits and counting. More than 60 people have left a comment. Similar stats, I am sure on Dom’s blog. I’ve stumbled across requests for prayers for me on many sites. 

I’ve received numerous emails directly as well.

Regardless of the outcome of the tests on April 13, I have experienced a profound miracle. I have been touched by God’s grace in ways I cannot put into words. It is humbling. What’s more I have had direct personal experience of the reality of the Body of Christ present here on earth in the community of my brothers and sisters in faith. That body has reached out to me and hugged me in a warm embrace, listened to my sobs and cried along with me, dried my tears, sighed with my relief.

St Teresa said:

Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which He looks
compassion on this world
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

I’ve read that before, and was moved by it. But now I’ve lived it. I will never respond to a prayer request in the same way again because now I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end. I understand the work of praying for others in a profoundly new way because I now know how such prayers really do work in the lives of those prayed for.

Many people have said how their lives have been touched by my words and by my witness. All my words, my ability to write, are merely a gift from God. Any strength I have, any faith I have is a gift from him. I am grateful that he is using me, using my words and my trials to accomplish his work in the world. I am glad that this blog has done some good, but I want the praise and the glory to go to God for any good that I have accomplished is through him and with his help and accomplishing his purpose.

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