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 November 6 , 2006VOL. 44, NO. 19Oakland, CA
Bishop's Column

With gratitude for your persevering prayers for healing

I am writing to you from my office on the last Monday of October—the first day I am back to my office for work since I broke my arms on Sept. 15. It was exactly six weeks plus one day ago that I had the surgery to repair the bones I broke in my left forearm when I took my tumble off my front porch.

I come back to work filled with praise and thanks to God for the good progress I have made in my recovery, for the outstanding service I received from the doctors and nurses who so generously cared for me, and – especially -- for the ardent and persevering prayers so many of you offered for me over these last six weeks.

It is about this last motive for gratitude that I want to share some thoughts with you.
I have learned once again that prayer is, indeed, a great mystery. To begin, I want to acknowledge that part of the mystery is simply that I should be the object of the prayers of so many of you.

I have received hundreds and hundreds of cards and notes assuring me that I was lifted up to God; and, for all the notes I received, I am sure there were so many more who were praying but did not write.

So, so many prayers for me from so many people whom I have met briefly, if at all, in my relatively short time (three years) as your bishop is a marvelous part of the mystery. That you care about me enough to hold me in prayer, not because of anything else except that I give you priestly service as your bishop.

That you have responded to my trial with your prayers and concern is a fruit of the Holy Spirit binding us together into a family of faith.

I particularly want to mention all the beautiful cards I received from the children in our schools. I would like to tell you about just two, since they serve as good examples of the many I received.
From a seventh grader I received a card, and on the front the student had drawn four flowers, with their roots labeled “peace,” “love,” “joy,” and “happiness.” The message inside read:

“Dear Bishop Allen, I hope and pray that you get well soon, and I also wish that you feel the roots of my flowers! I offer to pray one decade of the Rosary for one week. May God and all the saints come upon you and help you heal faster.”

One of the children in the primary grades wrote: “Dear Bishop Vigneron, I hope you feel better soon. We live in your heart, Bishop. You are so special to us. We love you very much. We care about you today.”

I also want to give witness here to the efficacy of your prayers – to their effect on both my spirit and my body.

About my body: my doctors say I did a great deal of damage to my left forearm and that I am making a remarkable recovery. Further, I have made this progress with a minimum of pain. I know that this blessing is a fruit of your prayer.

Perhaps more important, however, is the fruit your prayers have borne in obtaining for me the gift of serenity which I have experienced since my accident. My heart and mind have been very much at peace these last six weeks – and that is remarkable for someone like me, who is ordinarily on the opposite side of the spectrum from the “laid-back” pole.

This peace I have had was, I know, not from me but from God, and your prayers obtained this great gift for me.

St. Paul teaches us that the Church, the community of Christ’s disciples, is His Body – His Mystical Body. To call it “mystical” is to say that it is a mystery. Your prayers for me and their effects in my life these last six weeks are a window into that mystery. I praise and thank God, Our Father, for this gift of our communion.

I assure you that I have ardently prayed for all of you as well. I could not be working in my office or out in the parishes to serve you directly, but I prayed for you, I offered my cross for you. In the end that counts as a great service, too.

Let us continue to be one in prayer, each for the other, because the salvation of each is inextricably linked to the grace of all.

Let us rest secure in the knowledge that through the channels which the Holy Spirit opens through our prayer, He is drawing us to the blessed life we long for in the world to come.

 

Previous "In His Light" Columns by Bishop Allen H. Vigneron

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