By Tom Quiner
Jack Sullivan was in agony.
Mr. Sullivan is a Massachusetts Deacon in the Catholic Church. While undergoing deaconate training, he battled severe back problems.
They required surgery.
The pain was unbearable.
He struggled to breathe.
The surgery revealed horrendous spinal damage with ruptures so severe, fluids had leaked out.
Mr. Sullivan prayed to the late Cardinal John Henry Newman for intercession.
The healing was immediate.
Mr. Sullivan gingerly inched his toe to the floor. Then he rested his foot on the ground. And then he walked.
He walked for the first time in months.
His doctor, Dr Robert Banco, chief of spinal surgery at the New England Baptist Hospital in Boston, was baffled:
“Because of this persisting and severe stenosis, I have no medical explanation for why he was pain-free and for so long a time. The objective data, CT, myelogram, and MRI demonstrated that his pathology did not at all change, but his symptoms [pain] improved drastically. With the tear in your dura mater, your condition should have been much worse. I have no medical or scientific answer for you. If you want an answer, ask God.”
The Catholic Church did an exhaustive investigation into the phenomenal healing of Deacon Sullivan. No natural explanation could be found. The healing was declared miraculous, attributed to the intercession of John Cardinal Newman.
Who is this Blessed John Henry Newman, as he is also known?
He was a leading intellectual religious figure in England in the 19th century. This Anglican priest became famous for converting to Catholicism in a land noted for its anti-Catholicism. He served as a priest, and then as a Cardinal.
Blessed John Henry Newman is clearly interested in your life and mine, as Deacon Sullivan learned. The Catholic Church believes in the intercession of the saints. Saints have interceded in miraculous ways countless times, each one carefully documented by the Church.
Perhaps, then, we should be attentive to the words of this great man who was born two centuries ago. Here’s what he tells us:
“God has created me to do him some definite service.”
In other words, we have a mission, you and I.
“He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.”
Each of our missions is different. Let’s face it, you have gifts I don’t have. I have gifts you may not have. God launches us on a unique mission accordingly.
“I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good: I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep his commandments.”
You’re part of a bigger puzzle, which involves the entire sweep of human civilization. In other words, your mission gives your life meaning.
“Therefore, I will trust him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away.”
Newman says God calls us to trust Him, in good times and in bad.
“If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what he is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, he knows what he is about.”
Do you know what you are about? You are about a mission God has launched you on. And you’re not alone. God helps you on your mission.
What’s your mission?