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CANCER

Suddenly I’m the patient. We all thought it was arthritis. Now we know its multiple myeloma, although it is still to be determined what sort and how advanced the disease has traveled. My wife Pat first mouthed the word “cancer” to the doctor. He immediately confirmed Pat’s diagnosis with visible relief. I felt nothing. Indeed I was very puzzled by my own reaction. It was as if I was having a discussion with a young, very bright doctor about a disease other people get. It was only later in the day, when talking to my priest son that I realized I was crying.

I am assured that while there is no cure, there are very effective treatments that will keep me alive and kicking for many years. I feel a little guilty about that. I’ve seen so many parishioners through cancer deaths. Now I get the taste, but in all probability, not the result.

I know that the Trinity has me in God’s love. That is an extraordinarily consoling and strengthening fact. It is nothing that I deserve at all. Quite the reverse. That’s the wonder. Even though I am physically as weak as a kitten, I’m strengthened by the out pouring of love from God, through my wife, children, friends and colleagues.

I am more deeply convinced than ever that we have been incorporated into the church by baptism, “for the forgiveness of sins” in order that we may be changed and grow into Christ’s stature together. Baptism and the covenant are not sentimental ways for us to discover ourselves, or rather they bring us to the discovery that without God’s forgiveness and extraordinary love, we are nothing much at all and have nothing much to say or give. The church isn’t merely a self-help organization for people with a Cause, liberal or conservative. It is the New Jerusalem which is and which is to come.

So I look forward now to what God has in store for me to do, strengthened immeasurably by the love and prayers of so many people. Ora pro nobis.

11 Responses

  1. May God bless you as you fight this.

  2. Tony – please know that people all over the world, who have been touched by your ministry and your writing are now holding you and your family in prayer. God be with you in the weeks ahead as you begin this new part of your journey.

  3. Fr. Tony,

    We’ve added you to our prayer list.

  4. We’ve never met but I keep in touch with your blog through bloglines cos I like your style. I wish you well in the Name of the Lord Jesus as you face this season in your life.

  5. Fr. Tony – you brought me to my Trinity home, to a new found belief and to the knowledge of how wonderous life is with God’s love. I have missed you since you left Trinity. I too, “love your style…”. My prayers are with you and Pat as you travel this new path.

  6. Holy angels surround you as you walk this path.

  7. Dear Fr Tony
    I will make sure that you are on the prayer list at Christ Our Savior in Alpine CA.
    And that our rector Fr Frank ( an old friend of yours) is informed today.
    God Bless and keep you in this struggle, but be assured of the many prayers on your behalf.

  8. Dear Tony,

    You are in my prayers.

    albion

  9. I want you to know about Larry in our parish (Christ the King, Lakeland, FL). He’s a miracle – stage 4 and still here and involved (Parish Administrator) after 4-5 years of stage 4 diagnosis. He is a witness to God’s grace to us, his doctors and many others. I’m sure, if you would like to contact him, he could tell you volumes.

    Times like this may seem like a “sentence” but my husband’s and my experience is you are being placed in (called to) a unique situation to minister to many who do not know God, who need to know God is in the midst of trials, and those who need to be reminded. You will be ministering to doctors, nurses, medical professionals (even when some don’t act like it), patients like you, and their families. Your commitment to God and your family will be a witness to many others.

    While this is not a easy road, it is one that will bless you and others as Christ leads.

    Our prayers are with you and your family,

    Brouck and Joanie

  10. Tony, you are in our prayers. May our good Lord give you strength as you fight this illness.

  11. I’m not an Anglican, and I stumbled upon your site, but I am lifting you up in prayer tonight. I wondered, have you read John Piper’s article entitled, “Don’t Waste Your Cancer?” I haven’t even read enough of your blog to guess whether or not you would ever read Piper, but I encourage you to read this, written soon after learning that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Here is the link: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/TasteAndSee/ByDate/2006/1776_Dont_Waste_Your_Cancer/
    God bless you.

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