O God, come to our aid.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
The opening of Lauds this morning has never seemed so appropriate. I am, with my family, in great need of God's help today.
Yesterday my father received the news that his recently discovered cancer cannot be cured, and that people in his position only survive for an average of three more months. This has obviously been difficult, if not fully unexpected news for us to take; my mother and sisters were teary as I recounted what the doctors had said to him, and I spent much of yesterday holding back tears myself.
I do not blame or 'hate' cancer, as many current Facebook memes would encourage us to do. I will have trouble coming to terms with the news, but am able to find some consolation, as I hope will my family, in the fact that death, as surely as life, is God's will. My recent prayers for my father have not been for a cure, and will not now be for a miracle; they have been, to quote our Lord's prayer, simply that God's 'will be done'. This will continue to be my prayer and while of course a miracle would be nice, I believe there is also a need to pray for my father's relationship with God during this difficult time - that he may face what comes with dignity, grace and above all faith in what he has proclaimed during and through his life. He was his usual, enviably stoic self yesterday; he took the news well, and I hope that he will be able to remain strong in the coming months.
Please keep my father, Martin Casey, in your prayers.
Today is the Memoria of the Guardian Angels, and I will close this post with the beautiful hymn from today's Morning and Evening Prayer; the final verses of which have taken on a special significance today:
They come, God's messengers of love,
They come from realms of peace above,
From homes of never fading light,
From blissful mansions ever bright.
They come to watch around us here,
To soothe our sorrow, calm our fear:
Ye heavenly guides, speed not away,
God willeth you with us to stay.
But chiefly at its journey's end
'Tis yours the spirit to befriend,
And whisper to the willing heart,
'O Christian soul, in peace depart.'
To us the zeal of angels give,
With Love to serve thee while we live;
To us an Angel-guard supply,
When on the bed of death we lie.