Do not be afraid; have Faith (Mark 5:36)Reflections from the Shrine
Many devotees of St. Jude who visit the Shrine have had very serious health scares in their lives. Jenna, a devotee of St. Jude, was breast cancer free for close to five years until a lump in her breast sent her back for a biopsy. She came to the Shrine to pray for healing and strength as the memories of her first battle with breast cancer caused her much anxiety as she awaited the result of her biopsy. She is afraid of having to go down this painful road again. I told her to have faith and trust in God. She said to me that even though God has been a source of strength and healing for her, the fear of another battle with breast cancer is such a strong and overwhelming feeling and also a challenge to her faith in God. However, in spite the magnitude of our challenges, our faith in God is capable of carrying us through the rough patches of life.
The experience of the woman in Mark’s Gospel with hemorrhages teaches us that faith in God does not disappoint (Mark 5:25-34). Faith in God will bring the healing and comfort that we earnestly yearn for. The woman in the Gospel of Mark had a deadly blood disease (Mark 5:25). For twelve years she had visited many specialists, she had been to many hospitals, and she had undergone numerous blood tests, yet she was never cured. Her illness took life away from her; she lost her job and her health insurance (if she ever had any). This illness restricted her to a life filled with uncertainty and inactivity. Although the illness took away her physical life, the disease could not destroy her spiritual life. She kept the battle for twelve years and beyond with a life filled with faith and hope that God will grant her the healing she desired. She fought the illness with her faith by the simple gesture of touching the cloth of Jesus (Mark 5:28). It was her faith that cured her. Her faith in God restored her to normal life. Jesus confirms her faith and sends her home in peace (Mark 5:34).
Fear is an overwhelming force that is capable of stopping us on our tracks towards prevailing over the source of our fear. The gripping power of fear extinguishes our will-power to try overcoming the challenges of life, but faith in God fills us with courage to stay on the tracks of hope that leads to divine help. Whatever is causing you pain and discomfort; leading to fear of what its outcome would be, talk to God about it in prayer. Join us at the National Shrine of St. Jude, a place of prayer and thanksgiving to God through the intercession of St. Jude. In spite of the challenges of your life, have faith in God, be brave, take heart and put your hope in God (Psalm 31:24). Our God is able to grant you the peace you seek. Trust in God at all times.
Fr. Ferdinand Okorie, CMF
National Shrine of St. Jude