The week of waiting before we knew the ultimate fate of our pregnancy and Tasha’s health was terribly hard. After she went to the emergency room, I stayed close to home in order to keep close tabs on her condition. The one exception I made was for my Friday morning men’s fellowship, for no other reason than I was so wrapped up in concern for my wife and unborn child that I neglected to arrange someone to cover me. After checking on Tasha’s condition and ensuring that she would have her phone nearby in case something happened, I headed off to Church for the two hours required to do the session.
I had my phone at the ready, and before the session began I informed the group that if I received a phone call from my wife it was urgent and I might have to leave immediately. Unsurprisingly, they pushed me for more details so I told them that Tasha had a very serious situation going on and if I got a call it could be life threatening. I wasn’t ready to share with them that we were pregnant let alone that the pregnancy was at risk, because we weren’t sure at that point if anything was wrong or if this was a big false alarm.
I was taken aback when one of the men in the group suggested that we start the session with a prayer for her, so I croaked out an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be before heading back to my chair. Before I was done with the last prayer, I noticed the man I was sitting next to fiddling with something around his neck.
As I sat down, he leaned over to me and pressed his chain of saint medallions into my hand, along with a laminated prayer card with a relic of Our Lady of Garabandal (a Marian apparition). He told me that he would be praying for my wife and for her to keep these things with her and pray with them until she was healed.
At this point I was holding back tears. For one, this man is a very traditional Catholic and very orthodox in his practice of the Faith. These items are very dear to him (as my own medallions that commemorate my favorite saints are to me) and for him to quickly give this holy items away in order to ease our pain was jarring to me.
Later in the day I got a phone call from that same man. He wanted to check on Tasha to see how she was doing, and wanted to know if it was possible to drop off a few things. He showed up around twenty minutes later with a bottle of water from Lourdes, citing the tradition that bathing in and drinking the water has presented miraculous cures. He also brought a card indicating that he had already had a Mass said for our intentions.
It was clear that my friend was pulling out all the stops to heap graces on my family, in hopes that our pain would be removed from us. His prayers, and the prayers of many of our other friends and parishioners helped us immensely through this challenging time. Never before has it been so evident that the human members of the Catholic Church truly do comprise the mystical Body of Christ. These people are not my family by blood, some of them aren’t even close friends. Tasha, Jude and I had a veritable army of people praying for us. At least two priests said Mass for us. The outpouring of support and love was astonishing, humbling, and truly made me thankful to God for our Faith.
Some of my skeptical friends might be asking the obvious question: “well, why didn’t those prayers work? Why weren’t you healed and your baby saved if these things were so holy?” Valid questions.
I honestly believe that through these prayers and the intercession of Mary and the Saints that our desires were presented to God. I am confident that he listened and that the way this situation played out was a result of his Divine Will. The exact reason for this is a mystery that I may never know the answer to, however it has shown me more clearly how supportive the Church can be in a time of need.
I thanked my friend profusely a few weeks ago when I returned his prayer card and medallions. Throughout this process, he was very supportive and mourned with us at the loss of our baby. He was distressed as he told me that he was sure that we would have had a happy ending and he wished it would have ended differently, and I told him that God’s Will was done and we can take some comfort in knowing that. He should take some comfort in that too, since his actions helped us further our understanding and relationship with God.