I was asked by a non-Catholic Christian, devout Protestant family that lives not too far from here, if I would pray over their 12-year-old boy who was suffering in the final stages of cancer. When I went there, I had a chance to meet with the Dad. He told me a little bit about their family.
I was really blown away by their faith. He shared with me that, when their first-born child was born, another child of theirs, they were in the hospital. As soon as his wife delivered, there were some immediate complications, they rushed the child away into the emergency room, and performed immediate surgery.
The doctors came out, met with the mother and father and said, “We’re not sure if your child is going to live”. It was their first child, they were been waiting all this time, they were so excited. The doctors said, “these next 24 hours are the most critical. If the child survives these first 24 hours, there’s a good chance he’ll live. But there’s a very strong possibility that he won’t survive 24 hours.”
As soon as the doctor left the room, the man said, “I interiorly did not know how to pray”. I wasn’t sure what he meant by that. He went on and he said, “Because I did not know what God wanted to do in this moment. Did He want to heal my son, perhaps even with a miracle, and leave him here with us, or did He desire to take my little boy home to heaven right then? And so, was I supposed to pray that my child would be healed, or was I supposed to pray for my family, my wife especially, to deal with the suffering of the loss of a child?
“So I waited, and I asked God, ‘How do You want me to pray? Because I only want Your will to be done in your lives. Because Your will is what is best for us.’ “
It just blew me away: A man with that kind of trust in God’s goodness, and the absolute certitude that His will is what is best for us.
So I thought we could just pray for that same grace, to have that trust in God’s goodness, and to know that His will in our lives is always that is what is best for us, even in those times when it might not seem to be: that He really does have a plan in the midst of everything.
Father Leatherby remarked on our Blessed Lord replying to the Disciples’ question, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? … He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said … whoever receives one child such as this in My Name receives Me.”
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote that “there is no one in hell who is humble”.
St. Louis Grignion de Montfort wrote that “because Mary remained hidden during her life she is called by the Holy Spirit and the Church ‘Alma Mater’, Mother hidden and unknown. So great was her humility that she desired nothing more upon earth than to remain unknown to herself and to others, and to be known only to God.”
Mother Theresa of Calcutta received the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize with an attitude of humble confidence in our Blessed Lord. Mother Theresa reminded us that our Blessed Lord said, “Without Me you can do nothing”; but He said that “with God, all things are possible”. Mother Theresa helped us to focus on the fact that “Each one of us is what he is in the eyes of God”. She depended on God 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. May we ask for the grace of humility.
Something for men… Father Leatherby just recently read a book on St. Joseph entitled, The Mystery of St. Joseph by Fr. Marie Dominique Philippe. Though there is not much about him in Sacred Scripture, there is much that can be gleaned from the little that we know. For example, we can infer truths about his relationship with Mary. The author posits that, when we truly love someone, we desire that God’s will be done in their lives. But oftentimes that requires dying to our own selves. What did that mean for Joseph in relation to our Lady? Joseph desired that Mary be his wife. She desired the same and accepted his invitation, but, in order to do so, it was necessary that she reveal to him his offering of herself to God, which Tradition holds that she made at a young age. She had promised God that she would be exclusively His, thus remaining a virgin always. Joseph, understanding that to be God’s will for her life, had to accept that and, thus, consecrate his own virginity to God. Out of love for her, he gave up the possibility of having children. Yet, how beautiful it is that often, when we make the choice to surrender ourselves to God, that’s precisely when He gives us the deepest desires of our hearts. When just surrender the possibility of having children, God gave Him a Son.
Similarly, when Mary revealed to Joseph that she was pregnant, by the Holy Spirit, Joseph sacrificed the possibility of ever being her husband. He was going to divorce her quietly, because He knew that what was taking place in her was beyond him. God was clearly doing something extraordinary in her life, and he didn’t want to interfere with that. He thought that it must be necessary for Him to step aside, so that God could fulfill His will in her life. Only then does the angel tell him that Mary is to be his spouse, even though she is pregnant by the Holy Spirit, again granting the desire of his heart after he had surrendered it. Let us ask that God’s will be accomplished in the lives of those we love, and pray that we may die to ourselves so that may be accomplished.
Father has been reading a book on our Holy Mother’s life. It remarks on the passage in which Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. He asked Peter to feed his lambs, and to tend his sheep. Jesus told John, “behold your mother“. Mary is truly our spiritual mother. The author made the point that everyone’s mother is his or her source of life. We should all truly seek to have this devotion to Mary our mother.