Led to Prayer and Believing His Promises
The following testimony was sent to us by Anita G. of Somers, Wis.:
I was raised Catholic, was baptized, and received First Holy Communion, but my parents, hard-working immigrants, weren't regular churchgoers. We pretty much went to church only for Easter and Christmas. I didn't receive the sacrament of Confirmation as a teenager because I guess it just slipped my parents' minds.
I married in the Church because my husband was a regular churchgoer. I then started to go to Mass more often. When our two daughters were born, my husband and I made the commitment to raise them in the faith.
We were very blessed. My husband had a thriving medical practice. We had two beautiful and healthy daughters, a nice home, and loving family and friends. But my faith was superficial. I didn't get much out of going to Mass, and looking back, I never thought about thanking God for all the many, many blessings He bestowed on us. I just took it all for granted.
I was happily going down that wide, smooth, party-filled road that could have ultimately ended at a cliff whereby I would fall forever away from God. But in His mercy, God put me on the tight, winding, rock-strewn path leading to the narrow gate that hopefully, one day will lead me to Him (see Diary, 153). My first step on that narrow road was taken when my husband's doctor phoned one evening informing him that the biopsy taken a few days before was malignant. Anyone who has received such a phone call or who has a spouse or child who received such a call, knows the feeling of having all the air sucked out of the room.
My husband, always so strong and healthy (he had never even taken a sick day), suddenly had cancer. Sadly, looking back on it now, I wasn't strong for him. He had to reassure me that everything would be fine. Throughout our marriage, he always was the optimistic one. If things were going badly, he would say, "I promise you it will be okay." When I heard that, I would be comforted, and I relied on his promise.
Going to bed that night, I shook from head to toe. He held me and again promised me that everything would turn out fine. But despite this promise, I spiraled down, down, down. Between the time of the diagnosis and the surgery to remove the cancer — a period of about six weeks — he had to undergo tests to see if the cancer had spread. Like I said, I spent the first couple of weeks crying and shaking, paralyzed with fear. Thankfully, I was able to put a fairly brave face on for the girls and take care of their day-to-day needs, but I'm sure they knew something wasn't right.
Then God's mercy finally broke through my self-pity. About two weeks after that fateful phone call, when I thought I couldn't take another sleepless night, I woke up on a beautiful spring morning with the hymn "There's a Wideness in God's Mercy" in my head.
There's a wideness in God's mercy,
like the wideness of the sea.
There's a kindness in God's justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth's sorrows
are more felt than up in heaven.
There is no place where earth's failings
have such kindly judgment given.
I don't know why it was there; it wasn't a hymn I had ever paid much attention to before, and it hadn't been sung in church recently. It stayed in my head all morning.
After lunch, I decided to take a walk in the large park near our home. During the walk, which goes through a forest, the hymn was still stuck in my head. I started crying again but stopped because, there on the path in front of me, was a beautiful deer. He looked at me for what seemed like a few minutes (but was probably only a few seconds), and then he walked back into the woods. I then had the urge to go home and watch television. On a beautiful day, why should I go home and watch television? I don't watch daytime TV. But home I went, and I turned it on.
Flipping through the channels, I thought to myself, "What the heck am I doing? I don't want to watch soap operas or talk shows." Clicking the remote, I landed on EWTN. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy was being chanted, and whose face was on the television? Father Anthony Gramlich, MIC, who had been at our parish as a deacon and participated in our daughter's First Communion Mass! I had never watched the Chaplet program before and had never prayed the Chaplet, although I recognized the Image of Divine Mercy from the prayercards my daughters brought home from school.
I prayed the rest of the Chaplet that day and every day thereafter. I read about how our Lord dictated this prayer to St. Faustina. When I couldn't sleep, I got up and prayed the Chaplet. During the three o'clock hour, I asked our Merciful Lord to heal my husband, if it was His will.
My husband's tests showed that the cancer had not spread and that the surgery was a success. He has been cancer-free for five-and-a-half years now, and we thank God every day for this blessing. During these past almost six years, my faith has grown stronger and stronger, and I know it's because of my devotion to the Divine Mercy. I've come to realize that I shouldn't have relied so much on my husband's promises that everything would be OK but instead should have relied on our Lord's promise that He will never leave me. And I did receive the Sacrament of Confirmation a year after my husband's surgery.
My Confirmation name? Faustina.