Mar 27, 2011

Lead me on Kindly, Light of Truth

Deacon Jack Sullivan spoke at the Worcester Diocese 11th annual Men's Conference yesterday, Sat. March 26, 2011, about the "divine favor" he received which was counted as the miracle needed for John Henry Cardinal Newman's beatification last September by Pope Benedict XVI.

Deacon awake 6 June 2000 with horrific pain in his legs, and barely able to walk. CAT scans revealed all lumbar vertebrae and disks had turned inward, pinching his spine, squeezing it from a normal diameter of about the size of a Quarter down to the diameter of a piece of string. He was told he would need surgery ASAP, and that he would have to quit his studies for the Permanent Diaconate. He went home, surfed TV, and stopped on EWTN, watching a show on Cardinal Newman and his difficulties and sufferings he endured as a result of converting from Anglicanism to Catholicism. At the end of the show, a banner displayed saying "If you receive any divine favors as a result of praying to Cardinal Newman for his Intercession, please contact ..."

Deacon Jack prayed of Cardinal Newman, "Please Cardinal Newman, help me to walk so that I can return to my Diaconate Studies." He went to bed, and woke up the next morning pain free.

MRIs still showed the disfigurement of his backbone and spinal cord, but since Deacon was asymptomatic, his surgeon took a wait and see approach to surgery. Deacon Jack finished the next two semesters of his third year of Diaconate studies, about 9 months, and prepared for some time off in the summer of 2001. The pain returned in all its fury.

Surgury revealed that his duromata, the protective sheath that holds the spinal fluid, was shredded. He could not walk without being hunched over and without assistance. He prayed the same prayer again. "Please Cardinal Newman, help me to walk so that I can return to my Diaconate Studies."

Deacon Jack suddenly felt intense heat, then joy that he could only describe as if he were in the presence of the Lord, which he just wanted to experiece, being unaware of any others in his hospital room. The Nurses said he spent about 10-15 minutes like this, after which he could walk upright and without pain. A team of physicians documented that there was no medical or scientific explanation for this.

The Pillar and the Cloud
Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th' encircling gloom
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home --
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene -- one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

1 comment :

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

I have always enjoyed that poem. Thanks for posting it Jay. By the way, remember the call for civility in public discourse after Re. Giffords and others were so brutally attacked?

Apparently this doesn't extend to Catholics: