Updated: Dec 29, 2020
There is so much joy to be found in hope and community as we come together through prayer for salvation it is worth the price of any human concern.
The other day my sister, who is not my niece’s mother, heard that her mother-in-law had bumped into an acquaintance who told her that she was desperately praying for a baby with the same name as my niece.
A time before that one of the mothers at my children's school, who I do not know and never spoke to before knocked on my car window and said, "Okay. How are you related to that baby?" Her rosary group have been praying for my baby niece.
Even before that, another sister’s friend, messaged her to tell her that she had met a friend for dinner and the topic of conversation had turned to a baby named with the same name as my niece – her friend had also been praying for my niece – she had been asked by a friend of a friend of a friend.
These beautiful coincidences caused me to reflect on the infinite Grace to be found in hope.
During this most difficult time while we were waiting desperately for my niece to improve, the journey was overwhelming. On the very first night after her surgery, one of my sisters told my niece’s mother that she needed to take it one minute at a time. Literally one minute. She told her, each minute that this baby stayed alive she grows stronger. Each breath is one breath stronger. Each second is one more second of life and hope. She was right.
We prayed, and all the world, it seemed, prayed with us. How many times do you hear that a person dealing with grief (for there is great grief in watching your child suffer) feels surrounded by love? The answer is rarely. Overwhelmingly people grieving experience loneliness. They feel alone.
We received such Grace through this miracle of my niece.
We are the lucky ones. Our grief for my niece’s suffering and troubles is tinged with hope.
We are most blessed. My niece will be well.
I knew it when my sister first heard the news before she was born, before I even knew her name. I knew it after she was born when things looked to be steadily declining and hope was only a slither. I knew it following her surgery when she was in a critical and unstable condition for days and days and days and hope was only a memory.
I know it now while my niece’s recovery is slow and steady.
But knowing that my niece will be well and feeling the long, long days stretch out before you are two different things.
When those long, long days stretched out before us and I saw my parents shrivel with fear. When I saw my family trying to process what this meant and how they would cope, when the punches were flying, and it seemed we were against the ropes.
When my mother asked, “How will we do this?”
I knew. I replied, “One minute at a time Mum. One minute. We pray each minute to make it to the next. And we ask – with humility – throwing all human concerns away – for others to pray with us.”
This was not an easy thing for my family to do – this asking for prayers. Right in the beginning my parents worried that they were bothering others. They, who did not ask others for anything in their lives. But I knew. I knew prayers do more for the pray-er than the prayed-about. I knew there was Grace in this… and learnings. As one of the beautiful priests praying with us for my niece told me, “With prayers for her, I think I come out ahead anyway!”
What are human concerns to us now? What is embarrassment? What is political incorrectness? What is fear of rejection? What is hurt pride? What is human judgement? How will we talk to these people again now that we have prostrated ourselves at the Foot of the Cross in front of them?
Because now, life is different.
Now, I will willingly prostrate myself time and again at the foot of the Cross. Now I will beg the Immaculata, our most Blessed Mother, to intercede for any who need her, for any concern at all. I will do it publicly listing the intention explicitly, as I have now for dear Nancy. I will do it privately for those who are uncomfortable about sharing their concerns and who do not wish to share intimate details of their sufferings. I will do it if you ask me for the intention explicitly and directly or if you ask for a secret intention of which I will never know. I will prostrate myself, even if there is no Earthly hope – because eternal salvation is the true hope for us all. It is our only hope.
I will do this, because with God, for my niece (or anyone who needs prayers), there is salvation to be had, just waiting there for us. Salvation for the Lost Souls of Purgatory. Salvation for you. Salvation for me.
And salvation it is worth the price of any human concern.
With my niece everything is clear. Here, at the Foot of the Cross.