For terminally-ill seminarian, a life with suffering is not void of dignity

Raleigh, N.C., Oct 24, 2014 / 05:53 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A seminarian is looking forward to his ordination to the diaconate this spring and the priesthood a year later, even though he was given roughly a year and a half to live back in 2008.

Phillip Johnson, who is now 30, was diagnosed with a Grade III brain cancer known as anaplastic astrocytoma six years ago when he was serving as a naval officer in the Persian Gulf.

“I remember the moment I saw the computer images of the brain scans – I went to the Catholic chapel on base and fell to the floor in tears. I asked God, ‘why me?’” Johnson wrote in an Oct. 22 column, “Dear Brittany: Our Lives Are Worth Living, Even With Brain Cancer,” for the Diocese of Raleigh website.

I can still remember the phone call from my frantic sister, “Mom has brain cancer…they give her six weeks”. Shock. What can you say back? I don’ t think I responded . I know I wept.

I was in the midst of clinicals at the time, so I didn’t get to the hospital until after 8pm. Just by chance, the Oncologist was leaving my mother’s room as I was walking in. He stopped me, and asked, “So, the plan is to just make her comfortable?”, I replied, “No! We are people of faith. We want everything done.” He looked me in the eye and said, “Good to hear it”.

My mother went on to survive for fourteen years. They called her the miracle lady. She confounded and mystified all of her doctors. It was a true blessing.

She passed before my children were born, which I do lament, but her survival was such a gift to our family, that I really can’t complain. I see her aspect in my children’s faces.

God is the sole author of life and death; we exist at his pleasure alone.

What a beautiful story thanks for sharing.That God is the author of life and death,sadly is a belief lost to many.:frowning:

God bless him.

A lovely story.

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