Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Prayer for a Sick Infant


I received 2 amazing prayers in the mail from a friend the other day.  Both are prayers from a mother asking for healing on behalf of her sick child.  The mother's pleas so perfectly express where I am at right now, I thought I should post them here for any other parent suffering for their child. 

The first prayer is for a sick infant, still in baptismal innocence.  The second is a prayer for an older child no longer in baptismal innocence.  Since only Our Lord knows which of these my son falls under, I have both of these prayers at my bedisde.  But be warned:  these prayers are not for the faint of heart and take on a tone unfamiliar to most people these days.  Yet despite the 'harshness', I can't help but think that such prayer, when prayed sincerely, must be very pleasing to God.

A Mother's Prayer For Her Sick Infant
O ininitely merciful God, with contrite hearts we acknowledge before You that we have deserved not only this but far more grievous suffering!  My family and I have often and deeply offended Your infinite justice and holiness.  It is right that we should be chastised.  But, notwithstanding, we fly to Your paternal Heart to implore Your mercy, to beg for a remission of our indebtedness. 

Behold this innocent child, Yours by far stronger claims than ours!  Release him from suffering.  He could not yet offend You.  Ah, free him from pain!  The grace of Holy Baptism is still all his own.  O bless Your tenderly loved child!  With the blood of Your Son he was dearly purchased.  O then, for Jesus' sake, take pity on him.  He is the pure and unprofaned temple of Your Holy Spirit.  We are firmly resolved never to commit sin and, for the rest of our life, we will serve You with fidelity and gratitude.
Have mercy, good Father, on my poor sick child, and restore him to health!  You can do all things.  If You will it, this sickness will disappear.  One word from You, and health will be restored.  I promise to train him carefully to the utmost of my ability, to use every means to make him know, love, and serve You.  Assist me by Your grace to preserve him in his innocence, to fortify him in all virtues.  But if O Heavenly Father, You forsee that he will ever deviate from Your Commandments and lose his precious soul, rather take him at once to Yourself in heaven.  I could far rather see him die in his innocence than behold him a victim of sin and eternal damnation.

My apologies, as I do not have the information about the book from which the prayers came, but if anyone recognizes them, please let me know!  I will be posting the other prayer tomorrow.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Face of God


This Lent I have decided to meditate on the face of Our Lord.  As I have witnessed the profound changes that have taken place on Fulton's face, and placed myself at the foot of Our Lord's Cross, it seems as though this devotion is very fitting for me this year.  Soon after the accident happened, I came across the following prayer, penned by St Therese of Liseaux.  It struck such a deep chord within my heart, I had decided to pray this prayer on the evenings when I needed to focus on the larger picture of God's holy will instead of the heartbreaking changes taking place on my child's face.

With each passing day, Fulton's scars are thickening and becoming more distorted and I no longer can recall what he used to look like. Even with the help of photographs, I cannot see any similarities beyond perhaps the structure of his nose. In some ways I still grieve the loss of that sweet face, the squinty eyes and beaming smile, but I have already moved on and have come to love the new peaks and valleys and contours of his face as if they had always been there, and see God's great designs as He transforms my son.  I cherish this little face and kiss it daily, loving not only my son, but the God who gave him to me and the One Who chose this path to Calvary for us.  And as I ponder the faces of Fulton and Our Lord in agony yet so loved, I pray the Little Flower's prayer:


"O Jesus, Who in Thy cruel Passion didst become the "Reproach of men and the Man of Sorrows," I worship Thy Divine Face. Once it shone with the beauty and sweetness of the Divinity: now for my sake it is become as the face of a leper. Yet in that disfigured Countenance I recognize Thy infinite Love, and I am consumed with the desire of loving Thee and of making Thee loved by all mankind. The tears that streamed in such abundance from Thy Eyes are to me as precious pearls which I delight to gather, that with their infinite worth I may ransom the souls of poor sinners.

 O Jesus, Whose Face is the sole beauty that ravishes my heart, I may not behold here upon earth the sweetness of Thy Glance, nor feel the ineffable tenderness of Thy Kiss. I bow to Thy Will - but I pray Thee to imprint in me Thy Divine Likeness, and I implore Thee so to inflame me with Thy Love, that it may quickly consume me and I may soon reach the Vision of Thy glorious Face in Heaven. Amen."

Indeed I am not saying my son's face is worthy of worship or veneration of any sort, but there are elements within this prayer that, by changing a few words here and there, certainly speak to the agony I am going through as I watch the changes taking place on his sweet face, and correlating it with the actions of a loving God.  "For in Fulton's disfigured countenance I recognize Thy infinite Love, and I am consumed with the desire of loving Thee and of making Thee loved by all mankind." 

I know this special Lenten journey has just begun for me, this passion of sorts.  And while the details of this journey are shrouded from my eyes -  the insights, the pain and the graces that are in store for me - I know beyond all certainty how it ends:  A merciful Resurrected Lord, a new beginning, a purer soul, and deep gratitude for all My Lord and My God has blessed me with!

It is my Lenten mission to make the love known to anyone who will hear me, to show to them how God's love and mercy are shown most purely through suffering. What a beautiful Lent it will be!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

To Suffer Well


(Written February 2)

I have been attending the school of suffering, that I may learn love. 

Not the Hallmark card and a dozen red roses variety of love, but the blood, sweat and tears sort of love presented to us by Our Lord in His Passion.  It is a kind of love that gives little in return on the surface, but strengthens the heart in ways that far outlast the roses.  So many days and nights now, I have sat beside my son's hospital bed, staring at the face of a child in agony, unable to do anything but kiss his feet and make every breath a prayer to God to heal my child and take away his pain. 

I prayed to Our Lady to keep me close to her and to her Son's Cross as she remained there at Calvary when all but Mary Magdalene and St. John remained.  His most devoted followers fled when faced with God's will, unable to withstand the fear and pain brought on by Our Lord's Passion.  There were many times I myself wanted to flee in the face of God's will for my child, myself and for my family.  But there was no one with whom I could share this burden with, and love kept me grounded permenantly at the foot of his bed - the foot of Fulton's cross.  Where else would I go?  And if I did run away, what of my abondoned son?  No.  I remained, and still remain, at the foot of this cross and take on each day as it comes.

Repeatedly I have been told that the Lord does not give to us a cross we are incapable of carrying. Not a single ounce more.  But after pondering this for several nights, I have learned a different lesson.  He has indeed given me a cross beyond my strength.  I have had no prior training for this sort of thing.  No heavenly visions, no inner voices, no miracles or even a track record of perseverance for much at all in my life.  So how is it I can suddenly be strong enough in His eyes to go through such a trial now?  I am weak and willful, and prone to all sorts of selfish defects that continually cause me to stumble.  Indeed I am NOT strong enough for this.  Not alone, anyway.

Without His help, what am I to my son? A whining woman,wanting to have someone by my side to physically help me through this crisis. With His grace, I am able to look beyond myself, and even look beyond my son to see the real message lying beyond:  Love.  It is all love because this cross comes to us by the very hand that was crucified for us.  And who am I to reject the chalice handed to me by my God?  Our hands meet and mingle a moment as He hands me this chalice and I am offered a choice. Do I drink my fill of that which was chosen for me, accepting it as an opportunity to learn to love Him more?  Or do I turn away in disgust or in anger, rejecting the chalice and therefore rejecting my God whose own blood issued forth from the wounds necessary for my salvation? 

Ah - you see?  There really is no choice to make at all.  For I choose Life and all that comes with it, no matter the trials that lay ahead.  And as I learn from this school of suffering, I will be better prepared to help Fulton learn of God's great love.  He has special challenges ahead of him, for obviously this same chalice, this same cross has been offered to him as well, just in a different way. 

Will I learn love well enough to help Fulton embrace this cross with the same loving resignation to God's will?  Or will I give in to its weight and fail to teach him what God wants him to learn?  I pray that when I stumble, He sends me my own personal Simon to help me in those times when it becomes unbearable.  And strengthened by His help, I will ascend Calvary with Him and teach my son the true meaning of love, allowing me to show him the beauty of a life lived with trustful surrender to Divine Providence.  For truly it is a gift and an act of love to be able to suffer for our Lord in the ways He chooses.