This past week has been one emotional moment following another. But along with all the pain and sorrow, lack of sleep, tears, laughter, and joy, there has been an overwhelming sense of being covered, or rather drenched by the grace of God.
Beginning of Eternal Life
Friday we became godparents for a little baby girl. We were honored to be asked, and we promised we would pray for her for the rest of our lives – even afterwards, actually. While we made our promise to assist in the raising of this little girl in the Faith, it was good to recall what we are obligated to do for our own children.
Little did I know that another couple would have to fulfill the most important obligation to their newborn daughter the next day.
This is only a TEST
On Saturday my oldest son, Histor the Wise, took his SAT test. While he did not appear nervous, I had butterflies in my stomach as I drove him to the local high school. I was especially nervous because our children are home schooled, and they are not used to taking multiple choice tests. So I fretted until I dropped him off, and I had to fight the urge to stay with him – even though I knew I would not be allowed into the testing center. Ultimately I had to leave him, to let him find his own way into the building and to experience the first of many formal exams. This is not the first time I have had to let our children go, but it is one of the milestones which reminds me how much they are growing and are soon to make their own ways in the world.
When I picked him up at the end of the test, he said, “I was well prepared.” I hope and pray that we are preparing our children just as well for all the other challenges that they will face in life, especially the spiritual challenges.
Beginning of Eternal Life, Again
On Saturday, I had the opportunity to hold a Saint.
A friend of ours gave birth a very special and beautiful child. This child had been diagnosed with a lethal condition by prenatal ultrasound. Multiple follow-up exams confirmed that the child had a serious condition, and various experts were consulted in the management of the pregnancy. Throughout this, our friends refused to consider aborting this baby. Instead, they prayed that the baby would be born healthy, and if that were not possible, that she would live long enough to receive the waters of baptism.
God is merciful and generous beyond our dreams. Our friends’ youngest child was born and did have the medical condition seen on ultrasound. Her time on this earth was short, but was culminated by the answer to so many prayers; she was baptized by her father, then held by her parents for the minutes she remained alive. Her siblings arrived shortly after she died, and were able to hold her and look upon her. One of them said, “she is beautiful – let’s take her home.” God took her home instead, and she is now among the saints.
That evening, my wife and I were asked to come up and visit with the couple and their new saint. We therefore had the honor of holding the body of a child who lived for such a short time, but lived as an example of the sanctity of life regardless of any handicap or defect. The parents of this child wished for her what we all wish for all of our children: that they become saints. We thank God for allowing her to live to be baptized, and ask for the prayers for the mother, father, brothers, and sisters of this new saint as they mourn the loss of their little baby.
This blog has been painful to write, and thinking of the sorrowful parts of this weekend fills my heart with sadness. But this sorrow comes with a joyful awareness how much we are truly members of the Mystical Body of Christ. That phrase is not just a sentimental buzz word or slogan. No. We all share in the joys and sufferings of our brothers and sisters, and in our case, two families blessed us by letting us come close to them in one of the most intimate aspects of their lives: the raising of children. The realization of this is so powerful that it is difficult for me to put it into words. Is it any wonder that my weekend blogs consisted of such silly nonsense?
It is my prayer that, like Histor the Wise said after the SAT test, all of our children will say at the end of their lives, “I was well prepared for my life.” Along with that, I hope and pray that we all take the example of our friends, who prayed for their child unceasingly, and when action was needed for the benefit of her eternal soul, and by the grace of God, did the right thing to secure for her life everlasting