by Rita A. Simmonds, from Magnificat

In August 2012, my husband, Frank, the father of our two children, was hospitalized for severe pain in his right side. The doctors suspected he had gall stones, so he was denied food and drink for three days while they performed tests o him. The results revealed that he had large tumors on his liver and a small one on his pancreas. He then had to have another, more detailed test, still hungry and thirsty, and in a lot of pain.

That morning we waited for the scan in a very air conditioned hallway for what seemed hours. Frank was lying on a hospital bed in a gown with just a sheet covering him. I was standing beside him, holding his hand. At a certain point, he looked at me with bright eyes and said, “I have everything I need right here, right now.” These words would have been strange and implausible, if not for the overwhelming evidence of a Presence full of certainty and peace that emanated from his face. That hospital bed became a throne where Christ was proclaiming himself King.

We learned from that test that Frank had advanced stage neuroendocrine cancer, but this diagnosis did not defeat us. Why? Because each moment is a gift and the Giver is always there, handing it to us.  Christ’s presence is always present, and is more imposing than any illness. When Frank drew his last breath on January 19, 1015, the instant exploded into eternity.


A reading from the first Letter of Saint John, 3:1-3

BELOVED: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure. (The word of the Lord)

This is from the Catholic Mass reading, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2016.