Reflection March 21, 2015:
I have a friend that was treated unkindly at her parish because she and her husband have no children. This is not Christian love! This is not the choice of this couple not to have children…
How can we as a Catholic Community serve those who are a “Family of 2”, just as Sevant of God Elisabeth Leseur and Felix were in life? Marriage is the gift that makes a FAMILY, not everyone will be able to bring forth children and some will not have the ability to adopt. So, does this make them less than? Not at all.
This life is too short to behave this way, I pray that we will all learn to have open arms to those who are called to a different service within the Church. Those without children are a family and are still called to be HOLY, FAITHFUL SERVANTS of GOD.
Just my .02
Holy Servants Elisabeth and Felix Leseur, pray for us.
See note below from Joe MacNeil:
The contact information for the postulator’s office in Rome is no longer accurate. Brother Llewellyn Muscat, secretary to the Dominican Postulator, is now the primary contact person at the Vatican. For contact details, and an overview of the current status of the cause, I suggest the website ELcause.org. It is maintained by Elisabeth Leseur’s Circle of Friends, a new non-profit group based in the United States who are trying to energize work to advance her cause.
Watch “The Prophet Elijah Parts 1 – 5” on YouTube
“O glorious St. Elijah, ever a mirror of sanctity and justice, while living in this valley of tears, obtain for us of God the grace to be your followers on earth, that we may one day be partakers with you in the everlasting glory in heaven. O great Patriarch of the Order of Mount Carmel, teacher of God’s people and the defender of their Faith, disperse, we entreat you, the darkness of our intellect, obscured by our evil passions, and preserve in our hearts the Faith which is kept living by works of charity. O holy Patriarch of the Most high, taken into heaven in a chariot of fire, and who shall be the precursor of Christ, when He shall come in the splendor of his infinite majesty to judge the living and the dead, pray for us, that loving Him and sincerely serving Him on earth, we may have the great happiness of loving Him for all eternity in the blessed kingdom of heaven. Amen.”
I originally composed the following letter in response to an inquiry from an old friend regarding the deaths of two of our children. I share it now — despite much anxiety about such public vulnerability — in hope that these words may comfort other grieving parents.
Thank you for your message and prayers. The past two years have been very difficult, if I may understate a little. Burying Mary Bernadette was the most painful and sorrowful experience of my life. At 19 weeks in utero, just as we learned her gender, we learned she had a terminal genetic disorder called Trisomy 18. We prayed every day for healing and/or live birth, but God answered our petitions in the most mysterious of ways: He took her to Himself and healed her without granting us the opportunity to hear her cry. Mary Bernadette was born still at 33 weeks on July 26, 2009. It was especially heartbreaking to see our sole living child, Brighid, aware of everything, having to bury her sister while she herself was almost three years old.
Then nine months later, we experienced a miscarriage at around six weeks in utero. While a little less devastating — because we only knew of little Innocent for two weeks — it nonetheless reopened our deepest wounds. Again, Brighid has been fully engaged: just last week she told us Innocent was a boy. We still don’t know if she had a dream about him, or what, but she speaks as if she saw him.
Regarding being less certain of things than we once were: it is the hope and hubris of youth, to impose our wills upon the world, to assert our ideas as certainties and to promote our ideals as truths. I have Faith — “the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” — that God is Love, that Love itself is a mystery, and therefore God is the unending font of the mystery of Love. I mean to say, albeit in a wordy way, that I believe a healthy sense of mystery is not only permissible, but usually required for a mature, honest relationship with God. I’m not without my doubts, but neither was Saint Thomas, and though Jesus mildly corrected him, He did not reject Thomas for his doubt. Likewise, God did not abandon Job, even when he doubted and cried out at the injustice of being deprived of an objective good (his children).
I’ve been meditating on Job’s story quite a bit. One mystery I keep coming back to: God withheld any response from Job until Job demanded an answer. Granted, God’s response was a bit frightening, and definitely humbling, but also consoling (paraphrased): “I am God, the Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth. You are not being punished. I have my reasons, and they are beyond you. Humble yourself and trust me. I will restore you.” A very patient fatherly correction. Contrast that with God’s response to Job’s friends: “I am angry with you. You have not spoken rightly concerning Me, as has my servant Job. Let my servant Job pray for you; for his prayer I will accept, not to punish you severely.” Not only does He call their “prosperity gospel” a lie, He calls Job His servant, and holds Job up as the standard by which his friends should measure themselves.
Suffering, like Love, is a mystery I don’t pretend to understand. But we have found it to produce much Redemptive fruit in our lives and among our friends. Perhaps Job’s suffering and restoration was meant as much for Job’s redemption as it was for Job’s friends’ redemption. And perhaps God is working something similar in our lives, among our friends and family. I’m not certain at all, but the thought does give me Hope.
Mary Bernadette Victoria and Tiny Innocent, pray for us.
P.S. If you or someone you know is suffering the death of a child and/or infertility, I cannot overstate the consolation brought to us by:
The Apostolate of Hannah’s Tears “offers prayer support and comfort to the brokenhearted who suffer the pains of infertility at any stage of life, difficult pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, the loss of a child and the adoption process.”
The Shrine of The Holy Innocents: “Often children who have died before birth have no grave or headstone, and sometimes not even a name. At The Church of The Holy Innocents, we invite you to name your child(ren) and to have the opportunity to have your baby’s name inscribed in our ‘Book of Life.’ Here, a candle is always lit in their memory. All day long people stop to pray. On the first Monday of every month, Mass is celebrated in honor of these children and for the comfort of their families. We pray that you will find peace in knowing that your child(ren) will be remembered at the Shrine and honored by all who pray here.”