Monday, February 28, 2011


I've been thinking a lot lately about miracles and how they pertain to Tommy. Recently the Lord has opened my eyes to a particular passage, one I had heard countless times and never applied to Tommy's situation. John 9: 2-5 tells the story of the man born blind. Jesus' disciples ask him whose sin caused his blindness, the man's or his parents. Jesus, of course, tells them it happened so that people might see the glory of God.

As I said I have heard this scripture many times before but never attempted to view it concerning Tommy.

While in the fog of trying to accept and adjust to the reality of Tommy, I sometimes felt as if my in-laws thought Tommy wasn't acceptable or good enough without a miraculous healing. I know they didn't feel that way, but almost immediately they started praying for and talking about how he was going to have a miracle. I'm all for miracles and as a card-carrying Catholic, fully believe in many from the Dancing Sun at Fatima; to the waters of Lourdes; to Padre Pio's many miraculous doings.  Not to mention the one I most often referenced to assure people I believed in miracles, transubstantiation of bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.

But in that fog I couldn't quite voice my feeling that perhaps God had a greater purpose in Tommy's having been born the way he was. I felt like my in-laws and I were talking past each other and my tongue kept betraying my argument in its inability to voice accurately what I felt in my head and heart.

I realize that in the very story I mentioned Jesus cures the blind man via a miracle, so perhaps it doesn't best describe how I felt then, but I think it does. I also heard that I was limiting God, which aggravated me because God created everything "Seen and unseen," so how was me saying maybe he doesn't want to heal Tommy limiting him. He called a universe into being merely by thinking it. He has no limits, again it was as if my tongue couldn't articulate the argument I had, which I felt and still feel was theologically sound. Which is to say my argument was at the time, if God chooses to heal him I am just fine and dandy with that, but if he doesn't I am ok with that too.

In the last several months as I get Tommy ready for bed it has become part of our ritual to say a handful of prayers: the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be start us off. We follow those with prayers to St. Michael, Tommy's guardian angels, and our big finish is a prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes and one to St. Rita.

If you don't know St. Rita, she is the patroness of the impossible. Tommy and I ask her to pray for Tommy's miracle as fervently as she can. Sometimes I even include a prayer to John Paul the Great, since I figure he probably understood a lot of what Tommy goes through, being trapped inside your own body.

In Hebrews 11:1 we are told that "Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen." I believe Tommy has that faith. I know I do. I believe God can heal Tommy, I just wonder if it is to His purposes to do so. In my own prayers at night I routinely ask God to see Tommy even if just once, even if it's only a dream, through His perfect eyes.

During a trip to our local healing room, one of the guys had a bit of a vision or prophecy for me. He told me that he saw Tommy as my ministry in a way that he could see me talking to a room full of folks and saying you think your kids are hard cases let me tell you about mine. I often wonder if that was God's way of saying "be ready when I do my work so you can carry the message." Or is it the other way, insofar as Tommy's story is a story of survival all it's own with or without miraculous trappings.

Knowing the odds Tommy has already overcome and that he continues to overcome, make me so proud of him. Sometimes I see Matty moving and doing things so effortlessly that his big brother still struggles with after three and a half years and I almost get mad at him. Sometimes I look at Tommy and wonder what I ever did to deserve him, because I am unworthy. I know that God has entrusted Traci and I with one of the best pieces of his work and I have yet to understand why. I just pray for the strength to be what he needs me to be. And I pray for the understanding of what God needs me to be, for my family. 

Over the winter we prayed at Mass for a local nun to be healed. There was a note from her convent in the bulletin this weekend, saying she didn't get the miracle healing. The nuns noted sometimes when we pray we don't get the miracle we want, but we always get the miracle we need.

That's the thing we don't always understand, God but he knows better than we do. Hard knowledge to swallow sometimes. Almost as hard, if not harder, is that just because we get told "No" doesn't mean God didn't answer our prayer.


Dorothy Hjermstad said...

I agree fully with you about whether Tommy receives a miracle or not, your faith in God will remain. However, I don't understand why you would pray to others instead of just to Jesus, the Son of God. He is God incarnate. He is our intermediary.

Michael said...

The prayers of a righteous man avail much. Saints in Heaven are exceedingly righteous, so we ask them to join in our prayers. Sort of the more voices in the chorus the better approach.