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For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an

eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison..." (2 Cor. 4:17).

Recently, I had a great conversation with a long-time friend, Melody Atkinson, who attends St. Joseph Catholic Church, Largo, Md. Melody, diagnosed with breast cancer early in 2023, shared a remarkable story with me on how she felt the hand of God guiding her in the healing of her breast cancer. Melody's story reminded me of a passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, “…this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17). When I reminded Melody of this passage, she shared the following with me:

I had breast cancer, but it wasn't there long. As far as I'm concerned, God gave me a test. … I was diagnosed in March. I had my surgery in June, and then it was gone. When I went back to my doctor, I asked, "Do if I still had cancer?" The doctor said it was gone. It was a momentary affliction!

When Melody shared these thoughts, I was amazed. There is hope for many of us who may be facing major surgery in the future or a doctor’s medical report that appears negative. For this reason, stories like Melody inspire us. We look towards the mountain where our healing comes from. Although we may be encountering a harsh illness or carrying a heavy load, the affliction can be momentary with God, “With the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8). Our situation can be light if we trust in God. These are some of the spiritual practices that helped Melody to trust God before she had her procedure.

1. Melody trusted in God when telling her friends. Throughout our conversation, she repeatedly said to her spouse, children, and church community, “I am Okay.”

2. Melody called her prayer warriors.

3. Melody celebrated the sacraments of confession and communion.

4. Melody had her prayer warriors surround her while the Auxillary Bishop from Washington and her pastor anointed her with healing oil on the Feast of the Visitation and...

5. Melody then wore her favorite tee shirt with the names of Jesus to the hospital on the day of her surgery.

Here, one must wonder if other individuals were to replicate these five steps, would cancer leave their bodies? Or is this the answer or cure for battling the deadly illness of cancer or any other disease? Of course not. However, I am sure these spiritual steps will bring you comfort. Better yet, the heaviness in your heart will feel light during a traumatic moment in your life because you placed God before you; God's goodness will run after you.

I have learned to speak life in all my surgeries. After all, Jesus came so that we can have life. Having prayer warriors to pray with you is also a good practice because we sometimes don’t know what to pray for, but our warriors do. Celebrating the sacraments can also remind us that Jesus is fulfilling his promise never to leave us. And you can’t go wrong with having your mind renewed by seeing and reciting the names of Jesus, for in the name of Jesus, everyone must bow.

In ending our conversation, I asked Melody to give me a checklist to share with other women who may have been diagnosed with breast cancer or are about to have surgery to address breast cancer. Melody said:

1. See your doctor; early prevention is key.

2. Check your breasts monthly.

3. Get a second opinion and follow the doctor’s advice.

4. Join a group therapy program.

5. Pray. And pray more with your faith community.

Melody is so thankful for so many people who walked with her on this journey. She prays daily for her prayer warriors, medical team, and support groups!

Thank you, Melody, for this time together.

“… the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will” (Rom. 8:26-27).

We thank God that through mercy and grace, we are here to see another THANKSGIVING!

Author: Evang./Prof. Michael Howard, MACS

Facilitator, University of Dayton, VLCFF,

University of Notre Dame, McGrath Institute, STEP Online,

Lead Faculty and Course Designer "The Presence of Black Catholics in the Church Today and Tomorrow" Loyola Marymount University,

Founder of Eat the Scroll Ministry

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1 Comment

Darlene Howard
Darlene Howard
Nov 22, 2023

I thank God for you Melody!

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