As you may recall late last year I asked you to remember a young girl named Joanie in your prayers, and many of you responded. I received several hundred emails about this, and have discussed other situations that people responding have themselves.
Joan has a childhood osteosarcoma cancer. I do not know her or her family personally, except that her father is a visitor at Le Café and we had conversed on and off over the years. He was very kind in remembering my wife in her own continuing struggle with cancer. I have never met them.
If you can do it, please try to remember Joan, and others like her and their families, many of whom suffer in silence, who struggle each day with burdens that we might find to be almost unimaginable.
Someone said to me, 'we all have our Joanies.' And yes unfortunately I think we do, at one time or another, some more than others. But as the saying of Louis de Montfort goes, De Maria Nunquam Satis, 'Of Mary, there is never enough.'
And of love, there is never enough, for one who has accepted God's will. Do not wait for God to send misfortune to your family personally, because there is much of it out there already. For all its absurdities, life is no joke. It takes a special love to care for the troubles of another.
All in all, a faithful life is a cross, and not a featherbed. And the more we do, the more it seems how little we have done. But when you occasionally reach the clear air of a summit, amid the daily routine of life, a life of dying to yourself in part through caring for others in love, you can see a glimpse of the brightness of the day.
"For whosoever will save their life shall lose it; but whosoever shall give over their life for my sake, and the good news, shall save it."Here is a brief message from Joan's eldest sister Leigh, who helps their good father and cares for her in the absence of their mother who has lately gone to God.
So if you wish to do something that is possible for anyone to do, that costs you little or nothing, read these words below, and then pray for someone in need. Yes, we all want to be rich, to lead carefree lives, to be untroubled, to live la dolce vita. And that is not possible, not in this world, except in our vain imaginings, and the distractions of transient pleasures that leave us unfulfilled, and wanting more. But it is possible to respond to God's will, and pray, and thereby to discover a lasting joy, of which there is no equal.
And so include yourself in that prayer, if you would be wise. For none of us is good, except as we are made so by that which we love, and that to which we aspire. It is what makes us fully human, if our minds be so inclined to it.
"St. Jude's just recently performed scans that showed her disease has stabilized - no growth since the last scans on any of the tumors that have spread throughout her body (her bones, lungs and brain). This is wonderful to hear - it means we get more time with our sweet Joan.
At this point, she is pain free and only suffers minor symptoms of the chemo treatment (nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, fatigue etc.). She is an extremely happy and joyful girl who loves to read and play with toy horses - she could do this non-stop if you let her!
We are also delighted that her energy level is good and has stayed stable throughout the past month and a half, she is in no way bed bound, and loves to walk around the house and play with her new dog, Dixie!
We are humbled daily that Our Lord has given us such a marvelous gift of Joan in our lives.
St. Jude Children's' Research Hospital has been wonderful throughout this entire journey. We could not recommend it enough as a worthy cause to donate to. They have not asked for a penny throughout this past year and a half. We cannot express our thankfulness enough to the doctors and nurses who care for Joan daily.
Please, if we could humbly ask, keep praying for us and ask your readers to do this same. The only way to continue on this journey is with steady steps, embracing our crosses each day. Please pray that God will give us plentiful graces to continue on this slow journey to our heavenly home."
Related: Our Roman Adventure