My Peter Moment
A few weeks ago, I was discussing faith with a friend. He asked, “Do you think it is important to question our faith by studying other religions, to know for sure that the Catholic faith is the truth?”
“Well, I think God grants us the grace to question our faith during certain periods of our lives, but we shouldn’t seek out reasons to question or doubt,” I responded.
This conversation brought me back to a time in my life where I was searching for answers.
I’ve always been Catholic. I served as a Catholic missionary for three years. I attend Mass and hold true to the teachings of the Church. Jesus has always been real to me. I never had an intense ‘conversion moment’ where I just knew, without a doubt, that Jesus was who He says He is, where I chose Him over the nagging doubt, until March 30, 2015.
That day, my brother decided to stop treatment for his Stage IV colon cancer. I was on the phone with my best friend expressing my doubts and worries about what was to come. Hospice was coming to admit my brother to their care.
“I don’t know, Kels, I’m so worried my family’s faith isn’t strong enough to go through all of this. I don’t know what is coming or where God is taking us. All I know is that it’s going to be the most difficult thing we’ve been through yet. What if this faith isn’t what it’s really cracked up to be? What if, my siblings, nieces and nephews, my parents- what if they walk away? What if they start believing the lie that God isn’t good because he took Scott?”
“Well, Jenne, what about you? Would you walk away?”
Through my tears, I answered, “Where would I go? I know I am too weak to walk away now. If I did, I would have nothing.”
My answer surprised me and continues to today. 11 days later, our Lord called my brother home at the age of 36. He would be turning 39 on September 17. September is a bittersweet month for my family.
Shortly before Scott passed away, he told me that his cancer was a grace from God. Scott never really practiced his faith until after his diagnosis. He said, “All this time, I thought you were wrong and that I was right. It turns out, you were right. Jesus is real.”
Over the last two years, I have learned it takes courage to live your faith well, especially during times of sadness and grief. In our culture of independence and ‘I’ve got this’ mentalities, it takes courage to learn to lean on God in these moments, to admit to yourself and others that you need help. I am grateful to my friends and community that have been there for my family and me. Thank you.
I tell you this because it is in these moments of doubt and questioning that God desires to enter deeply into our lives. These are the moments that God is closest to us. He wants our whole hearts, minds, and lives. . . not just an hour on Sunday. These moments aren’t comfortable at all, and my pride wants me to avoid them like the plague, but as Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) once stated, “The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness!”
It is through leaning on Him that He has opened an area of my heart to allow others to lean on me. One of my many roles for my job is to educate parents on how to maintain a central line. A central line is a long term IV catheter that is pretty intimidating for parents to learn to care for. Most kids who get a central line placed have been newly diagnosed with cancer. I know all too well the look of confusion and doubt on their faces when I walk into their hospital room. Some days, I get to share my brother’s story and faith journey through all the uncertainties that cancer brings. The bonds that have been formed with these families have helped heal my heart as well. This is a great opportunity to be able to witness to my faith.
Every day, there is a struggle for our hearts. Jesus desires all of ours. Are we willing to say ‘yes’ to Him? It takes courage to live our faith well, to stand behind a Church that speaks the Truth to a world unwilling to listen. This is nothing new. Many disciples walked away after hearing a difficult teaching in John 6:60-71.
Jesus turned to his Apostles, “Do you also wish to go away?”
Peter responded, “Lord, where would we go? For you have the words of everlasting life!”
As for my family, we miss Scott. We always will. Yet we know now, more than ever, who God is and where Scott is. God is merciful. He gave my brother 18 months to grow in his relationship with Jesus before Scott was given the grace to see Him face to face.
Start today to grow in your relationship with God.
My challenge for you today is to ask Jesus who He really is and who He says you are.
Take five minutes to sit in His presence silently, ask Him to show you who He is throughout your workday. He loves surprising us! He is faithful.
Be courageous, my friends.
Be His Light.
Written by: Jenne Forman, YCP Omaha Director of Evangelization