Lived Faith
Off The Wall, December 18 2009

A number of months ago, my wife received a letter in the mail from her sister who resides in Kansas. With it was the copy of a homily a priest had given surrounding the death of a teenager. As I read over each sentence, I was taken aback by what was stated, and decided since we are very close to celebrating the birth of Christ Jesus, this would be a good time to share some of what I read.

The following are excerpts given by the Reverend Edmond Kline, member of the Wichita (KS) Diocese, concerning Amy Sigle who died of cancer. Instead of quoting the whole letter as it was given to me, I will share some thoughts as well. Let me begin.

“When Amy heard that her cancer was terminal, she never shed a tear. She always accepted God’s will such that she told people not to pray for a miracle, because she wanted to go to heaven.”

How many times upon being told by a doctor, do we hear about people who literally “freak out” when the expert announces to one, “I’m sorry to inform you, but you have cancer? Often, right? I can just hear someone saying, “This girl must have been nuts or something. She must have been a “wacko” refusing to ask for a miracle.” Onward.

“Throughout her life, she was constantly concerned about the needs of others before her own needs. How many of us complain about the most mundane things. It’s too hot or it’s too cold, or complain to others that we have a headache or that we are suffering from this or that. Not Amy. The entire time she endured her cancer, she never – not even once – told others. But if you ask her if she was in pain, she would tell you that she was,” he told the congregation. How easy it is for us to make a big deal over nothing, really…

“Many times,” the priest commented, “I went to room 33 in the hospital and would have a conversation like this with Amy. I would say, ‘Amy are you in pain?’ and she would say, ‘Yes’, lots of pain. I would say, ‘Do you want me to push your morphine button?’ and she would say, ‘No’. She said she wanted to offer up her pain to Jesus to save souls,” he explained.

By admitting I’m a very selfish person, I’m sorry, but I’ve been through the morphine trip when I had two herniated discs, and I’m ashamed to say, I’d do it again. I can’t handle pain. When Amy says she doesn’t want relief, I cringe. I wish my faith was stronger to do as she did. I almost break down and cry every time I read that because after three years I still feel that pain – mentally. Continuing on…

“On another occasion, I asked Amy what caused her the most pain. Here, I was speaking about her physical pain. But do you know what she said? She replied, ‘When people take the name of Jesus in vain…this causes me the most pain.”

Is that speaking to anyone reading this column? Maybe you know someone who does this, and you can relate this powerful story. From the pulpit, he explained, “Even though her tumors literally broke through the skin in her side of her back, Amy wanted to suffer for Jesus to save souls and she never complained about it.”

How many souls have each of us tried to save suffering some kind of pain? I’ll let you answer that.

One day, Father Kline intended to bring a relic of Mother Teresa to Amy’s room to have her venerate it. “After I got to Amy’s room,” he noted, “I happened to forget the relic and went back to my car to get it. In the meantime, Amy said she felt someone touch her arm and wondered who it was, but didn’t see anyone.” The priest then brought it to the congregation’s attention that he asked Mother Teresa to console Amy when he went to the car to get the relic. “While in the hospital, patients and nurses reported seeing a woman dressed in white walk down the hall near Amy’s room. Could it have been Mother Theresa? Many believe it was.”

I’m sure, right now, all kinds of thoughts are running through your mind. Chances are we all may have various opinions. I know, for one, after reading these excerpts, I know I can better as a Christian. A matter of fact, I am trying to eliminate the complaining and working on strengthening my faith level. If I work toward a stronger relationship with Jesus, I am hoping the little things that bother me become non-existent.

Amy left a mark on my heart. I hope you, too, were touched by her faith. Jesus said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall move mountains.” Let’s work on doing that.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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