Last Wednesday my brother, John Scheider, had a serious stroke that left him paralyzed on the left side and blind in his left eye. He's been doing well, but had a setback on Monday morning. The doctor thought he had a blood clot in his lung, but after the MRI was negative, they diagnosed him with pneumonia, moved him into AICU (Acute Intensive Care Unit), and put him on a ventilator. I went up to the hospital yesterday. John is lightly sedated and was asleep, but his color looked good, he has a strong heartbeat, and his blood pressure is in the normal range. Larry and I prayed several decades of the rosary for his recovery.
We're asking for healing through the intercession of Fr. John Hardon, a very holy Jesuit priest who died in 2000. Today is the feast of the patron of parish priests, St. John Vianney, and I am again asking Fr. Hardon's intercession for John's complete healing. Fr. Hardon had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother and the practice of using her miraculous medal. Fr. Hardon said he would not have been where he was if he had not seen miracles throughout his priesthood. He used to relay a particular story of a miraculous cure through the Blessed Mother and her miraculous medal.
I asked my pastor to bless a medal yesterday morning after Mass and I pinned it to John's sock. I also blessed him with the sign of the cross with holy water blessed by Fr. Hardon which I received while attending a retreat he gave the year he died. A friend also loaned me a first class relic which I laid on John's hand while Larry and I prayed. Don't misunderstand. All of the devotional practices have no power in themselves. Like the blood on the doorposts that marked the houses of the Israelites in the Old Testament, they are simply outward sign's of our faith. But even the secular world has confirmed the power of prayer.
Interestingly, today's first Mass reading was about the power of intercessory prayer. God punished Miriam and Aaron for their jealousy of Moses who was described as the "meekest man on the earth." Miriam became a snow-white leper. Moses immediately petitioned God for his sister's cure. In tomorrow's reading we will hear how God responded to Moses' intercession by wiping out the offense of Miriam and Aaron and curing Miriam's leprosy.
I am praying for John through the intercession of another Moses, Fr. Hardon. I hope those reading this message will join me. You can find the prayer here.