The stars have aligned for my next post to be today, the week following Divine Mercy Sunday and the canonization of Saint Pope John Paul II. Today also begins May, which is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month!
As some of you know, I was in the hospital for 8 days from April 9th-16th, with 5 of those days spent in the ICU. I am doing much better and I have a PICC line (my 8th one) giving me antibiotics straight to my blood stream.
Before being admitted to the hospital I felt probably the worst I have ever felt in my life physically. My body was a wreck. I had lost about 10 pounds and what was coming up from my lungs was appalling, even to me. All I could think about for a few days was just taking my next breath without it being too painful. It turns out I was battling an E. coli growth which was causing pneumonia and pleurisy, and the E. coli was not sensitive at all to the oral antibiotics I was on at the time.
I want to say THANK YOU to everyone for all of the prayers, especially when I was in the hospital. The whole time I was there I felt at peace. A few of my nurses even commented on how compliant and happy I seemed. I knew that God didn’t want me to be sick in the ICU, but that He was giving me the grace to handle it. My doctor was amazed at how quickly I healed and how well I have bounced back—your prayers were heard, and are still working!
In addition to all of my family and friend’s prayers, I am grateful for the intercession of a heavenly friend who knows exactly what I am going through. She struggled with tuberculosis while here on earth, which affects the body in a similar way to cystic fibrosis. That friend is Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, also known as Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, the Little Flower, and the greatest saint of modern times.
Her direct intercession happened on Thursday, April 3rd and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. It prepared me spiritually for my stay in the ICU and it was concrete proof that yes, God sees my cystic fibrosis as sixty-five roses, and yes, even though He could completely heal me in the blink of an eye, he has a different plan for me.
That Thursday I was in a bad place. I was getting sicker by the day, and it was affecting me spiritually. When you have an infection and you have shallow, fast breathing there is a natural anxiety that sets in. Your body is stressing out trying to heal itself and it makes it hard to be mentally calm or focused. I had been worrying about my future, and serious doubt started to creep in as to whether or not God “appreciated” my suffering—I knew that He did, but I didn’t feel like He did at all.
I knew that listening to Fulton Sheen is always a good thing for the soul, so I pulled up the Fulton Sheen app on my iPod as I lay in bed.
There was a section on Saint Thérèse and her simple spirituality so I started listening to a recording on her “little way” to holiness. About 10 minutes into it, my four year old niece comes in my room, walks directly to me on my bed and says, “Hey, do you want this flower?” and throws this rose on my chest:
After giving me the rose, she walked out of my room deliberately and shut the door, as if she were a messenger. It took me a while to process what had just happened.
Saint Thérèse wrote: “My mission – to make God loved – will begin after my death,” she said. “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses.”
To put a cherry on top, this past Saturday I went over to my sister’s house and her rose bushes were blooming like crazy. She said she didn’t use any Miracle Grow or even water them that much, but this is the most roses she has seen them produce.
The rose that Christiana gave me won’t wither—it’s made of nylon so I can keep it for the rest of my life as a sign that Saint Thérèse is smiling at me from heaven.
God in his Divine Mercy yet again proved Matthew 7:7 to be true: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Saint Pope John Paul II made Saint Thérèse a Doctor of the Church in 1997—when I would have been 5 years old—and said, “Through spiritual childhood one experiences that everything comes from God, returns to him and abides in him, for the salvation of all, in a mystery of merciful love. Such is the doctrinal message taught and lived by this Saint.”
Thank you again everyone for your prayers and thoughts. Thank you Saint Pope John Paul II for recognizing your fellow saint’s little way. Thank you Fulton Sheen for explaining that little way even further. Thank you Saint Thérèse for interceding for me in the way you know best, through a little child. Last but not least, thank you Jesus for my regained health, and for driving the dark of doubt away!
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee,
Opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!