Our former Director of Spiritual Formation at the NAC, Fr. Richard Tomasek, recently received news he had cancer on his heart that does not allow for surgery, radiation, chemo, or any other kind of treatment. The news was shocking. He just updated us on his status and I have posted part of that letter below. It was really striking for me. A wakeup call really. This priest is a holy man and a faithful servant of God. He is a great model of a priest, pastor, friend. He has so much left to do. Why would God take him now? I do not have an answer to that question.
I often get the idea that I will be a priest till I am 75 and then God will take me right after I celebrate Mass one day. But we never know when God may perhaps be calling us home. We do not know the work He wants us to do. 50 years of priesthood or just 5. It is all His.
I have been praying for his healing through the intercession of Servant of God John Paul II. Feel free to join me.
"You are probably interested in how I've been handling this whole thing spiritually. Well, as many of you know, I'm a follower of deCaussade's Abandonment to Divine Providence. I know that "not a single sparrow falls from the sky without our Father permitting it" and that "every hair on our head is numbered." Of course, there is nothing to drive home such faith convictions like actually facing death. One has fears, feels isolation, questions faith (like, Is God and the resurrection all true or just a palliative or poetry?) I found myself at the edge of the busy world looking in at all the people going about their daily lives, planning for a future, etc. I felt alone there, detaching now from it all, and I saw more poignantly how beautiful and precious human life is as well as how little we appreciate it and use it well. I was full of gratitude for life, both mine and humanity's, and at the same time I was in greater grieving over the sin and violence and thoughtlessness and waste that was going on. Lord, please wake them up! So I was exercising my faith muscles a lot, even as my bodily muscles were not getting much workout. The Lord has given me the grace of accepting an early death (usually sarcoma patients have 1-3 years to live) and going Home earlier than expected. He has assured me that from Heaven I will be able to serve the brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ as much or more than when I was on earth. On the other hand, since there is so much more I'd like to do for the Lord and His Body in this life, I am asking for more years of health to do it--providing it is within His holy, perfect and loving will. There are so many graces of trust and intimacy with God and of gratitude and zeal that He has poured out into my heart. I am more alive than ever. Whether in the body out of it, I will continue to love and serve you as you engage in your own journeys of priestly service. May we joyfully meet again either in this life or in the Next."