I’ll never forget November 1, 2006. I had flown home the night before from Washington, D.C. I remember getting the phone call at work on Halloween that my mom was in the hospital, and the back pain that had afflicted her for the last few months was more serious than we initially thought.
The herniated disc that showed itself on the MRI was not getting better with treatment, and new tests were ordered-this time with iodine contrast. Mom was in excruciating pain and finally admitted to the hospital. I left work immediately, threw clothes in a bag, and went straight to the airport. I have no idea how I purchased my flight home, and I’m not exactly sure how I got from the airport in Little Rock to my parent’s house in El Dorado…but I did.
The next morning, All Saint’s Day, we learned that her pain was indeed caused by cancer.
Cancer of unknown primary to be exact. It had spread and was so mutated that we never knew from whence it began.
All Saint’s Day is a holy day of obligation for Catholics.
It is the one time each year that we attend mass in thanksgiving and honor of those individuals who have run the race, fought the good fight, and won the crown. In the Catholic Church, we have the individuals whom the Church has declared saints. This means that we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that these individuals lived such a heroic life of virtue that they are in heaven. This does not exclude our ordinary family members who we believe are in heaven, but it pays a special tribute to those declared saints.
This would be the day that I would turn to the communion of saints for assistance.
I always believed in the communion of saints, and I definitely prayed to them on occasion, but I began real, serious, and sincere relationships on this day with many many saints. I asked for their intercessory prayers for healing, hope, peace, God’s will, strength and pain management. You name it, I asked for it.
I believe that in a tangible way my prayers were answered.
My mom looked beautiful and felt good at my wedding a little over two months later. She was able to see friends from all over the country who came for the wedding. I know they mainly came to see her, and that made me extremely happy. We were able to get her pain mostly under control. Strength came from the heavens for our family. Friends and family showed up in droves.
God’s will was done, and He called her home six months to the date of her diagnosis.
A few years later, our God daughter was born on the Solemnity of All Saints. What a happy day! I love how the Lord can use dates and feasts to pour out his goodness and remind us of the cycles of life and of his supreme love and providence.
All Saints will forever be an extra special celebration for me.
Not only do I have the powerful communion of saints declared by the Church, but I have my beautiful mother who I have no doubt is worshiping her Lord and Savior and whispering intercessory prayers for me and my family right into His ear!