The Psalmist proclaims that God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Father Christopher Aubuchon knows this to be true.
“God is so very good in the blessings He has poured out in my life over this past year, including what seems to be a miraculous healing of my heart,” the priest wrote in a Dec. 21 Facebook post. “It’s incredible!”
It’s been a whole year since the 33-year-old priest of the Jefferson City diocese first became sick with an illness that wound up stealing his energy and marking him as a candidate for a heart transplant.
He experienced a new kind of Christmas joy this past year, mindful that things could have turned out very differently for him.
“It seems that our Blessed Lord has decided that miraculously healing my heart will give Him the most glory and will best help create me into the saint He is calling me to be,” Fr. Aubuchon stated.
“These are, “the priest construed, “two key reasons why He has allowed this cross in my life. Blessed be God forever!”
Fr. Aubuchon received the diagnosis of his extreme heart condition, brought on by an unknown viral infection, in early February 2020, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States.
He had struggled for over a month with fatigue and shortness of breath and had spent three weeks in two different hospitals.
He went to Hermann to live with his parents, who took excellent care of him.
He spent three months there, bewilderingly ill.
“I know that it was very painful and heart-wrenching for my parents to watch me suffer and for them to feel helpless to be able to take the pain away,” he said. “I know they would rather have all of the suffering put on them than for me to have to carry it — that is the depth of their love for their children.”
They never complained, even while taking care of him at his sickest and lowest.
“I thank God for them each day, and in a renewed way, after having borne the cross of suffering in an unexpected way this year,” he said.
Fr. Aubuchon then spent several months living in community with two other priests at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish near St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City while awaiting a replacement for his heart that had been battered by cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure.
He offered his daily Mass in the chapel at the parish rectory each day and spent significant time adoring Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
In Mary’s footsteps
Born on Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Fr. Aubuchon has been cultivating a close relationship with the Blessed Mother for his entire life.
“Her courage in her ‘yes’ to being the Mother of God inspired me to push through my fears and say ‘yes,’ to the Holy Priesthood several years ago,” he noted.
“Her response also inspired me to have the courage to welcome God’s will for my heart health, in saying, ‘yes’ to whatever that ultimately ends up being — to ‘be not afraid’ when at times I have been overwhelmed and fearful,” he said.
He found the strength to accept whichever of the three options lay before him:
He tells God each day: “Whatever You want is what I want, too.”
Recognizing the gift
The priest’s health improved dramatically, to the extent that he could return to the diocese on Nov. 1 and continue his recovery at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Columbia.
“It seems that God wants to heal my heart, which I am open to and very excited for,” the priest stated. “God’s will be done! I trust in Him!”
Fr. Aubuchon still has a lot of recovering left to do. He asks for continued prayers for healing as he continues offering up his own prayers and discomforts for others who need it.
He was quick to acknowledge the love and support God has provided for him and his family throughout this journey.
“This has certainly been a trying experience,” he stated. “But to suffer with and for our Blessed Lord has been and continues to be a tremendous grace, as well as gift.”
He’s deeply grateful for all the encouragement he has received and for all the prayers that have been raised up to God on his behalf.
He emphasized that others have suffered far more than he has and that things could have been much worse for him.
“I have been spared in many ways by God’s Divine Grace, for this blessing, unworthy as I am, I am most grateful,” he said.