Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Prayer Request For My Father, Graham Armstrong (Gravely Ill)
My dad Graham, 84, is suffering from not only lung cancer (which was actually remarkably under control after radiation and chemotherapy), but now also multiple respiratory ailments and weak circulation, and kidney and liver malfunction. He is extremely weak and can hardly move his legs or even arms. Things seem to be deteriorating rapidly, and the likelihood is that he may not have long to live at all.
I am asking for your prayers, for supernatural or natural healing (if that be God's will at this late stage), or, if the end is near, for a painless transition, but above all for his spiritual state. He has been only nominally religious for many years now (though he used to teach Sunday School at the Methodist church). I'm hoping that facing death in the not-so-distant future will focus his heart and make him realize what the highest priority for him is now.
I believe there is faith down deep in my father. Last night, after my wife Judy and I were with him, helping him a bit, he said something about "are there Catholic angels?" -- referring somewhat wittily, to us. I made the wisecrack, "I thought angels were Protestant."
My dad has always shown respect towards our decision to become Catholic (in some ways he was more open to it than my mother was). I know he respects my books, and he thought very highly of the late Fr. John A. Hardon, S. J., whom he met at the baptisms of my first two sons. I'm sure Fr. Hardon prayed for him too (and those are some powerful prayers, as he may eventually be declared a saint; his cause is proceeding). He has told me how his parents used to have Catholic neighbors, and would sometimes go to midnight Mass at Christmas.
His brother Joe was also an Anglican priest (most of the family was Methodist) and he respected him a great deal. But Joe was murdered by an intruder in his car in 1964. I believe that event caused a severe crisis of faith in my father (he has never said that to me but I strongly suspect it). He probably started to question God about how such a senseless thing could have happened. I know he stopped going to church around that time, and I did myself three years later because our family stopped attending. He has said several times that "our hell is on this earth."
Please pray. He's about to enter the afterlife, to be (let's hope and pray) with God. This is the time to pray for his spiritual awareness and willingness to repent of all his sins once and for all, so that he can be saved. I believe in the power of prayer to change hearts, and in the corporate sense of the Body of Christ working together for the good of all. God's grace can triumph in all circumstances, and He chooses to include us in the workings of grace, by our prayer and penance and redemptive suffering on behalf of others.
Many heartfelt thanks beforehand, on his behalf, for all of you who pray or do penance.