In Lviv, the diary of the now late priest of the UGCC, Fr. VASYL POTOCHNIAK, about his spiritual struggle with an incurable oncological illness, has been published. In his records, the priest shares his reflections and gives advice to those afflicted by similar grief.
From the recommendations by Fr. Potochniak:
What a sick person’s friends and relatives SHOULD NOT do:
- Weep, have pity, sympathize, bury him or her alive;
- Talk all the time about the illness and about those who have had it;
- Relate about one’s own illnesses, saying something like this: «and I have а hernia…»
- Not to talk much and not ask: «Where will you be? And what is there?»
What the sick person’s friends and relatives SHOULD do:
- Consider the illness with a healthy and Christian view;
- Support in thinking that one can go out of it;
- God is the Lord of Life;
- Offer one’s help and contact (phone, е-mail, skype), unobtrusively, but be ready to listen to the sick as much as he or she needs;
- And, finally, to joke;
Читай українською З дороги зцілення: щоденникові поради о. Василя Поточняка
From the priest’s reflections:
On Sunday, September 2, 2012, I decided to live life, not to isolate myself, not to complain, not to grieve; but to rejoice, to help, to complete conversations and meetings in good relations. I confessed and ministered in Vyshgorod. That’s fine. No one knows nothing…
….I pray for a long time. Somehow I feel afraid for my future. Will I endure staying at Jesus’s feet? Won’t I break my faith? Will I shine with joy and hope till the end? Will I transfer God’s strength?.. I still, on that Monday evening, sent sms-messages to all my friends (around 30 of them). They contained the words: «I am sick; I go abroad for treatment… I ask for your prayer…» Two incomprehensible «supports» have been received that day from my relatives: One of them calls me and weeps… And this is the most terrible thing of all. This should not be done. I also wanted to weep… Another one: asks me where I will go. It’s not relevant as well…
…Still, it is not important how long you live but how you live. If the Lord thinks that my life and the period of my suffering will be sufficient for my soul’s salvation and for someone else’s encouragement toward a spiritual life, let it be! To God’s glory!…
During the prayer «God is with us, understand, all ye nations, and worship Him, since God is with us!» in God’s sepulcher, I was somehow illuminated by the invisible light. It seemed to be God’s light. Faith and light are the main sacrifices to be given further by me to God. Thus, I enquire the Lord to be able to shine further with peace, love, kindness, depth, and faith.
Every «Lord Jesus Christ…» has great value. I perceive it every day, every hour, every minute. Upon God’s grace, being surprised by this new vocation for me, I desire to witness to all of you God’s great mercy, healing all those who lay all their hope on Him. Even though I never prepared for such kind of worship.
My dear living Church! During the last several days, as a result of a combination of chemo- and radiotherapy, I physically felt very difficult; an almost complete general weakening of the organism with some particular symptoms. It is for this reason that I offer my little physical sufferings to God’s time of salvation. I also try to live through «my time» in God, in a very conscious and thankful way, transfiguring it into a sermon of love, glorification and gratitude.
Why does God take me away? In prayerful silence, I was pondering over this question (posed so many times within the last two weeks). My final response was «It needs to be like this». That is why I pray in these days with the Apostle Paul’s words «by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving»…
The diary can be purchased in the bookstore of the Svichado publishing house.
Prepared by Khrystyna Kutniv