In loving memory of Dad

By  Jenna Murphy, Youth Speak News
  • May 1, 2007
After his long battle against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, my father, Robert Paul Murphy, passed from this world on Holy Saturday, April 7.
I cannot seem to say enough about my Dad. He was a father to so many of my and my sisters’ friends. We would sometimes come home to find him entertaining a bunch of them.

Even throughout his sickness he maintained a healthy crew of “followers.” When his family would visit him when he was confined to his hospital bed, he would con us into getting him to sit up so he could “preach,” as he put it. Dad was never too much of a wordy man — he tended to steer away from wearing his faith on his sleeve. In his last days, however, things changed.

He felt directly responsible in his sickness to evangelize to souls he deemed “searching.” He would tell my sisters and I to send certain people  to his bedside where he would whisper in their ear for a while. We would see the person leave with tears in their eyes... joyful tears. I feel like I witnessed an array of miracles, but I maintain that the greatest miracles I have witnessed were the ones in the hearts of virtual strangers who visited our home throughout Dad’s illness.

Until the very end, Dad had  a mysterious energy source whenever “an old friend” would pop in for a visit. He really did embrace his cross. Frequently, I would just stare at him in disbelief. I was there all day with him and I saw when he stopped eating, I knew the inside scoop and what he was putting out for these people was not at all consistent with what he was taking in for sustenance.

The Lord used him powerfully. My family and my grandparents were blessed enough to be at his bedside when he passed from this world. He was laughing about an hour before he died. The peace was supernatural and I am convinced this peace was because of the Blessed Mother’s prayers for us.

During the last few months of my father’s battle our family opened our doors every night for a community rosary. Every night at 7:30 p.m. a different 30 to 40 people flocked to our house to ask for Our Blessed Mother’s intercession. Mary makes a vast number of beautiful promises to those who devote themselves to the rosary, including special graces at the time of death and the promise of eternal life. This whole experience was completely anointed.

I have taken away with me so much understanding surrounding why we suffer and the inestimable value of this suffering. I have been so embraced in prayer by so many people that I will never say “I am praying for you” in a halfhearted way again. These prayers are real recommendations to the Father on behalf of another. I was once told that praying for others is praying to the Father with the heart of Jesus. What better way to pray.

I am so thankful for my family and my Catholic family — I mean those all over the country who have held my family and I in prayer over the years. God hears our every word, and even though things may seem bleak from within a situation, God is making the most good out of our sufferings. May He grant us this recognition and thus teach us all the more to trust boundlessly in His great love for us.

(Murphy, 22, of Yarmouth, N.S., recently graduated from Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B.)

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