Prayers for Jill

January 9, 2007 | Uncategorized | 6 comments

My heart aches for Jill, whose blog I’ve been following for about a year. After reading her latest post, I can’t imagine how much stress she must be under. She’s been through so much difficulty already (if you’re not familiar with her site, here’s one touching post she wrote after her sixth miscarriage).

Please keep her, her family and her friend in your thoughts and prayers.

6 Comments

  1. Christine

    Saint Catherine of Sienna and Saint Catherine of Sweden, pray for Jill and her family.

  2. SteveG

    Saint Mary, mother of mercy pray for Jill.
    Saint Joseph, patron of fathers and of families, pray for Jill’s father and family.
    Lord Jesus, please uphold Jill and all those dear to her with your grace.

  3. Martin

    Prayers here.

  4. catholic-turned-atheist

    My heart goes out to Jill for all the suffering that she is enduring. I admire and respect her unwavering faith in God. I am glad for her that she has found some solace in that faith.

    So what is an atheist to do? Keep his mouth shut? Jen, help me out here. I’ve only been an atheist for about 2 years. You were an atheist for 26 years. What do you do in a situation where someone is grieving and is consoled by his or her faith in God?

    I am sure you will say, “Of course you keep your mouth shut. You don’t want to be cruel.” OK. That’s a no-brainer. But suppose that person doesn’t know you are an atheist and you are in a situation where you are supposed to pray, go to church, receive communion, light a candle, or perform some other act expected of a believer. Would you do it?

    I would. And I have, for that matter. Why? Because I want to help validate that person’s faith. Why? Because that person’s faith is a source of comfort and it would be cruel to undermine it.

    So that makes me wonder if there are a lot of people who are closet atheists. We go through the motions of our religion because we don’t want to ruin it for the true believers.

    But is it possible that Jill’s faith in God is actually causing her more pain than comfort? As an atheist she would still feel the pain of loss. But she would not feel the pain of believing that God stood by and let it happen. She would not feel the pain of the one she loves above all others — God — allowing her to suffer so much.

  5. eileen

    Catholic-turned-atheist,
    I have never been atheist or Catholic but I hope you don’t mind if I try to give a partial answer to your question.

    Very, very bad things happen. Sometimes, as in Jill’s situation, many bad things happen all at once. It doesn’t have to follow that God made them happen or that He allowed something to happen that He easilly could have stopped. If it was unavoidable that these things happen and happen all at once, then the comfort that one can fall back upon is that God will give the grace to get through the trials. The promise or even the possiblity of supernatural grace has got to generate more hope than even the kindest of ministrations from friends and family.

    When I was pregnant with my first child, I was hospitalized for pregnancy-related complications on the day that my father-in-law died suddenly and unexpectedly. I was too ill to travel to the funeral and was unable to be with my husband for days. Looking back, I am not sure how I got through that time but I assume now that it was God’s grace that aided me in a time of need. I can’t imagine it now, just as I can’t imagine being in Jill’s position but maybe the grace only comes at the exact moment we need it.

    As to your comment about going through the motions, I agree that probably many people are doing just that. The reasons are likely as diverse as the people themselves. The fact that you would light a candle or say prayers for someone though you are an atheist seems to me to be a lovely and purely unselfish thing to do. I, too, pray for Jill, even though I don’t know if my prayers “count” or if I am doing it right. My hope is that all the well-meaning supplications going up on her behalf will somehow add to the strength and determination she needs and is receiving from God.

    Keep on, catholic-turned-atheist, I am sure your efforts are appreciated.

  6. Jennifer F.

    Catholic-Turned-Atheist,

    It’s very kind and selfless of you to keep your beliefs to yourself and to go ahead and go through the motions for people in need. I know it means a lot to them.

    I used to go through the motions as well…although I was rarely asked to. I was so outspoken about my beliefs that nobody ever asked me to pray for them. 🙂

    But is it possible that Jill’s faith in God is actually causing her more pain than comfort?

    Doubt it. I don’t think that God ever promised people that life on earth would be good. I’ve been reading the Bible lately and it seems to be one long tale of earthly suffering, even the New Testament.

    Also, if you don’t believe in God there is nothing more depressing than when it really sinks in that you are nothing. You realize that you’re destined to rot in the ground and it’s all for naught. Any “meaning” or “importance” that you attribute to your successes, failures, great moments, children, etc. are all just part of the illusion of consciousness.

    So I would say that faith in God is always better than that, no matter what’s going on in your life. Either there is a God and a soul that that has the opportunity be with him for eternity, making whatever happened here on earth not so bad in comparison. Or not. The latter is the most depressing thing in the world.

    Hope none of this seems curt, I just have a very squirmy baby on my lap and am rushed. 🙂

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