• Sarah Raad


Sacrifice leads to change, where the evil is used for Good!

My beautiful baby niece is just over a month old today. She weighs far less than she did when she was born over a month ago. She is very frail. She is very weak. She has so many challenges right now. If nothing else, she must eat to get well, but her feeding is proving complicated. Though my niece has many challenges, one thing that will never be challenged for is love.

My sister knew that her baby would have many of these challenges before she was born. She was actively advised many, many times, to kill her baby before she was born. The medical advice and reasoning for this was that it would prevent suffering. Strange, is it not that people see the active killing of a human being as a PREVENTION of suffering, and not its cause? These are the same people, who presumably, when they would be asked if they would like to trial new treatments for their cancer and other illnesses (which might cause them to suffer) would willingly comply, just for the possibility of extending their own lives by weeks, months or years.

My niece is a very rare child. Not many children are born like her (there are just 5 Australian babies born with my niece’s congenital heart defect annually). Her recovery is slow. And yet, it is littered with graces – for my niece, her parents and grandparents, and us – those of us who pray with them for her.

Today, the doctors told my sister that they have already changed the way that they treat cardiac babies post operatively because of what my niece has taught them through her protracted recovery and her difficulties feeding. There is such Grace in this. My niece’s suffering and that of her mother, like the suffering of Christ on the Cross and that of his own Mother, is not in vain. God uses her suffering to help others – not just spiritually through the Grace that grows through prayer and trust in God, but also physically, as doctors gain insights into the most effective treatment for other children requiring surgeries in the future.

By God’s own Grace, my niece’s suffering has meaning, and we can clearly see it. What Grace there is in that vision! This is far more valuable than all the gold in the world.

My niece is suffering to ease the physical suffering of other babies that will come after her. She is suffering to ease the spiritual suffering of those of us who pray for her. She is suffering to redeem us, because in praying for my niece we place ourselves in contemplation of the suffering of Christ and we stand, as his blessed Mother did – at the Foot of the Cross. And, as one of the beautiful priests praying with us has said, everything is clear at the Foot of the Cross.

Through my niece we are blessed. Not once, not ever, has anyone in my family ever expressed outwardly, or, to my knowledge, inwardly, anything other than profound GRATITUDE for the miracle of this precious soul – not even in our darkest or most frightened moments – not even when the list of potential challenges was long. Never once, did we wish that my niece were any different. Every obstacle that she has encountered (and there have been too many to count) has only caused us to wonder at the miracle of this child. Every time my niece has pulled through, it seems to us that God has used this precious child to reveal His power to us, at a time when many have lost hope. At this time, when many are hopeless, every obstacle that my niece has encountered has been an opportunity to see hope. My niece’s sacrifice, and that of my sister, in willingly accepting God’s Holy Will, of living her life and fighting to stay alive, surrounded as she is by all the angels and saints, especially when so many people believed that her suffering would make her life worthless – has been so richly rewarded.

My niece has changed the world and she is not even a month old. Watching her on this journey, I have been called to wonder…What is it that a few weeks of suffering will buy for you?

The answer is simple and yet profound…

An eternity of salvation.

The miracle of my niece is that everything is clear because, with her, we stand on Holy Ground. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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