The following is a guest point from RUSSELL J. GRIGAITIS, O.F.S., an e-mail pal and Third Order Franciscan who was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma:
I would like to ask you to join me today, March 11, in beginning to pray a novena to Blessed John Duns Scotus that I be healed from cancer [again, “I”=Russell J. Grigaitis, not Dawn–see note above. – Ed.]. There is the possibility that I might be healed because of this novena or prayers through the intercession of Blessed John Duns Scotus that you may pray after this novena. Such a healing could even happen in a way that would fulfill the criteria necessary to be used in the canonization of Blessed John Duns Scotus. These are very real possibilities; however, there is also another very real possibility. There is the possibility that I will not be healed.
If this last possibility happens, I will not be disappointed, and I ask that you not be disappointed either. What will most likely happen then is that at the end of my treatment, my cancer will go into remission. After at least 10 years of remission, and maybe even more than 15 years of remission, I will have a relapse. When I do have a relapse, I’m going to start this all over again, and ask you to pray the exact same novena to Blessed John Duns Scotus.
The only things that will stop me from asking people to pray through the intercession of Blessed John Duns Scotus for me is that I am healed from cancer (or any other health concern I may develop), Blessed John Duns Scotus is canonized because of some other miracle, or I just die.
I most likely will not die from this present bout of cancer; probably not the next one either. However, eventually, this will kill me. I could have also been killed driving home from Mass this morning. Statistically, there is a much higher probability that I will die from this present bout of cancer than driving home from Mass, so I’m going to keep driving to Mass. However, the statistics get much better if I just drive to Mass and never drive home. This would also mean that I could spend the rest of my life in the close physical presence of the Real Presence of Christ, but that wouldn’t be very practical, so I’ll have to wait until I’m in heaven to do that.
The main thing is not whether I’m healed or not, or even if I live or die. The main thing is that more people learn about the wonderful things Blessed John Duns Scotus has to teach us and are encouraged to live by his example. And, if he were canonized, this will happen much more.
Why is this so important? Many Catholics take the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception for granted, after all, it was defined a dogma over a century and a half ago. But it was Blessed John Duns Scotus that was able to reason out the theological difficulties surrounding this Apostolic teaching. St. Thomas Aquinas did the best he could, but he wasn’t able to do it. This in no way means that he would have denied it. You have to remember that you have benefited from over seven centuries of digesting and developing of Thomistic thought. You must also remember that it was the previous work of Aquinas that made some of the work of Scotus possible. It’s not that Scotus disagreed with Aquinas. Scotus was just able to solve a few things that Aquinas freely admitted that he had not definitively solved. If Aquinas had lived another 40 years, he would have solved them, especially since he would have then had the help of Blessed John Duns Scotus.
Catholics may now take the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception for granted, but if they try to understand it, whatever source they receive help from will be entirely indebted, whether they know it or not, to Blessed John Duns Scotus. And, anybody that does not accept this doctrine simply does not understand it, and could be greatly aided, either directly or indirectly, by Blessed John Duns Scotus. Of course, one of the most convincing arguments I have ever heard for the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is: If you had the opportunity to create your own mother, and you didn’t create her perfect, she should slap you in your face. Of course, you could always take the Orthodox position: Mary is Immaculate, just accept it and don’t worry about all the technicalities, which is pretty much the position of most before Scotus.
Blessed John Duns Scotus has much more to teach us than just about the Immaculate Conception. His teaching about the Absolute Primacy of Christ is also very important, as is all his other teachings. The reason these teachings are so important is because he builds upon and explains the teachings of other great teachers, such as St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, St. John, St. Paul, and many more. Of course all these teachers are just explaining the teaching of the Great Teacher: Jesus Christ, God Incarnate.
So you see, this novena I’m asking you to begin tomorrow is not really about me. It’s more about you. I want you to know about Blessed John Duns Scotus and what he has to teach you. Those who pray this novena with the webpage I made will have the opportunity to watch a different video each day at the bottom of the page that will teach you a bit about Blessed John Duns Scotus.
Please pray the prayer, and please watch the videos. And, please forward this to everyone you know.
I have built this webpage so that others can use it for their own intention beginning on any date they choose and send a link to everyone with this information. However, I haven’t yet built the user interface that will allow easy personalization of this information. I will do this as soon as I can. Hopefully, I’ll have time to do this before the end of this novena for my intention.
In Cordibus Iesu et Mariae,
Russell J. Grigaitis, O.F.S.