A Tug-of-War for My Soul and God’s Victory!

Tug of war for my soul!

Cindy Brewer

This is my personal story about how sin affected my life. In no way am I implying that  M.S. in others’ lives was caused by their sin. 

This Sunday, the Catholic Church celebrates the last Sunday of the Liturgical year, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The Gospel reading is Luke 23:35-43.

As I reflect on this Sunday’s readings, I realize how the Gospel reading of the “good” thief and my healing that took place 24 years ago to the day are related. This reading has always been one of my favorites, but I never put it together with the healing of my symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.

I think of Jesus hanging on the cross in pain, agony, and humiliation. Passersby make fun of him as the defunct “King of the Jews.” Even one of the thieves on a cross near him yells, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself and us as well.”

But Dismas, the name the Church calls the penitent thief, condemns the first and himself as worthy of the punishment they received. He then consoles Jesus, saying, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” These words must have been so comforting to Jesus’ ears.

At this point in Jesus’ life, most people could not have fathomed that He had a future, much less a kingdom. What faith the “good,” penitent thief must have had to see the battered, dying Jesus as having a future kingdom? Did he overhear Jesus tell Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world? But others had heard and not believed.

What surprise and consolation this must have given Jesus. He was so pleased, that He promised Dismas, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”


As a child, I loved going to Mass on Sundays. When I got older I’d go to the church on my own and sit before the presence of the Eucharist, the Body of Christ under the appearance of bread, even though I didn’t quite understand the teaching.

Unfortunately, in high school, I began to be seduced by cultural temptations. Worse, I didn’t see the temptations as that evil, for I rarely resisted them. I just went along with the popular flow of the time. I did, however, know I was doing things I wouldn’t want my family or community to know about and I did ask Jesus to forgive me before I received the Eucharist. Why hadn’t that knowledge turned me around?

My guilty spirit knew I was living wrong because, within two months of graduating high school, Multiple Sclerosis symptoms began attacking me. The relapsing/remitting symptoms would come and go for the next 19 years. It got so bad that I was on Social Security SSI benefits for a time, and once I rented a wheelchair to help me at work.

During my twenties, while living this sinful life, the Holy Spirit encouraged me to begin saying the Rosary. It was a practice that eventually became a part of my daily life. Within a few years, I began assisting at daily Mass and then keeping a weekly Holy Hour at Eucharistic Adoration chapels wherever I lived. 

I realize now that I was living a double life—being very active in my local parishes while also living a sinful life. It was as if my soul was the marker on a tug-of-war rope—with the devil trying his best to wrest me from the hands of God. It is so frightening now to realize the danger my soul was in.

I wonder if I had died in that state of sin whether I would have made it to heaven. I also wonder where I’d be today if I hadn’t stayed so close to the Church during that sinful time. Would I have lost my faith completely? I can only thank God for His protection and that of His saints and my guardian angel.

Thankfully I survived that period of my life. I was finally rescued in 1993 when I decided to change my way of life. I went to the sacrament of Reconciliation and made a great and sorrowful confession to a humble and gracious priest.

Less than a year later, I met my husband, a true gift from God, and was married in 1995. We honeymooned at inexpensive motels on our drive from Washington state to our new life in Texas.

But I still wasn’t following all the Church’s teachings. Because of the M.S., I was advised not to have children or my symptoms could get much worse. So, I did what I thought was the wise thing—I took birth control pills.

It’s hard to attend daily Mass in south Texas and not be affected by the Church’s teachings. Within a couple of years, I realized that I needed to trust God not pills whether to have children or not. I quit taking the pill in 1997 and immediately got pregnant but miscarried. We left it in God’s hands, but we were never able to get pregnant again.

Less than two years later in 1999, while experiencing M.S. symptoms of double vision for 12 weeks, my husband, Greg, and I went to the Eucharistic Procession for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe at Our Lady of Victory Cathedral.

While walking before the monstrance which held the Eucharist, I heard a voice in my mind say, “If you just look at Jesus in the monstrance, you can be healed.” 

I hadn’t been looking for a healing, but I certainly wasn’t going to refuse one, so I repeated the words to myself and looked at Jesus in the host in the monstrance. It reminded me of the woman who touched Jesus’ cloak to be healed.

I looked a few more times while repeating those words as we walked and then one more time when the priest began to say a homily in the cathedral. Then I forgot about it until the celebration was over and I approached our car. Upon reaching the car door, I noticed my eyes were clear. I told Greg and then just sat in the vehicle amazed.

That was 24 years ago. That’s more years without M.S. symptoms than the 19 years I experienced them.

I write this confession to share the mercy of God with others. If it were not for the graces and mercy of God, I would have no hope of a future in heaven.

Like St. Dismas, I was an active sinner. But also like Dismas, I turned to Jesus and repented. Although I was a great sinner, God was always there, calling me to fully return to him.

I also write this because I do not want anyone who might have known of my sinful past to think that the Catholic Church condones such behavior. I know now that because of my sins, I was probably one of those Catholics whose example turned people away from the Church. For this, I will be eternally sorry.

Now I realize that Multiple Sclerosis was a gift sent by God to get my attention. I was just very slow to answer, for sin had debilitated me. Read what St. Paul said in 1 Cor. 11:26-30:

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.

A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.

That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying.

If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment; but since we are judged by [the] Lord, we are being disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”

Thank you, Jesus, for turning me around and not condemning me with the world.

Recently, I finished writing a prayer journal on the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist—the Body and Blood of Christ under the appearance of bread and wine. I’m currently looking for a publisher.

I hope it will help people understand the teaching instituted by Christ 2,000 years ago and help people to respect His gift more than I did. I thank God that He has allowed me to write this book; for it is proof to me of God’s mercy and forgiveness.