Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Beloved Daughter in Christ

{ Note: To understand the family connection between Lucille, John and myself I refer the reader to:
[Marriage] The Trouble with Boys ... or Should it be: The Crisis of the Absentee Father… posted on:
The January 1, 2006 post.}

Beloved Daughter in Christ, Lucille,

One of the most often repeated urgings of beloved Pope John Paul the Great was that we should constantly “..go to the school of Mary!”

The past few days have been very stressful for you and John as the Little One seemed to be about to arrive and currently appears to be taking a wee rest before arriving.

You also expressed, very openly and humbly yesterday your concern about burdening me, taking me away from what stuff I have to do.

Well I have prayed much about that throughout the night and this morning and here is what Our Blessed Mother has shown to my heart:

Yesterday when Joe and I were in John’s office while John completed the proposal Joe had to take to present, John remarked how you and he and I “..we all find it pretty hard to accept help from someone else, it’s one of the things we have in common!”

Later when Joe and I were driving back from presenting the proposal I remarked what an odd Lent I have been having, not having been able to fulfill a single one of the promises made to the Lord on Ash Wednesday and having been out of the poustinia every single day so far this Lent!

“Well, “ said Joe, “ that’s great because it means you have been serving all Lent long!”

Lucille, one of the most consistent graces in my life since, through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother responding to your prayer and St. Joseph responding to John’s, has been with me everyday since you and I first met in the Sicilian restaurant, when John introduced us and had already proposed holy marriage to you.

That grace is your presence in my life.

I truly love you and being with you and John and Anne-Marie IS for me to be in the school of our Blessed Mother, indeed Lucille you are a great teacher and I treasure everything you say/write to me.

Yesterday is an example when you spoke about our Blessed Mother and what she endured on the donkey ride to Bethlehem and how it was no wonder her Child was born right thereafter.

This led me this morning to extend the contemplation of the ride to Jesus entering, as He will Sunday, into Jerusalem and how intimately from the beginning our Blessed Mother is united to Jesus in every aspect of His Passion.

Every moment spent with you, with Anne-Marie, with John, be it when I am alone with anyone of you or when we are all together, is for me a river of grace, an experience of holiness, a true education and I am much healthier and holy as a man, priest, father, above all more of a servant, because of being in the very school of Mary Pope John Paul speaks of when I am with you.

I know it is a stressful time for you Lucille and that you will enter the mystery and gift of the kiss of Christ when in labour and John, whose love for you is immense, bears that pain himself, like St. Joseph present, helping with the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

It is to be deeply priest, like St. John at the foot of the Cross, to be there watching over Anne-Marie when the time comes, to be called as throughout Monday night and yesterday to be present. The fact the Little One decided to delay arriving is not important, being there was/is and the being there was/is to be immersed in the river of grace.

To serve is never burdensome for me, be it serving you or our brothers and sisters and the Staff at the soup kitchen.

True serving through the mystery of His Kiss in the pain of a false accusation, and sharing the pain of so many priests who also have been so accused - yeah, that is burdensome – but it too is a mystery of grace beyond anything I understand.

Without detailing any specifics, suffice to say since I was a wee child, until you took me into your heart and honoured me last year to be there when Anne-Marie was born, virtually all my experiences regarding families and children involved the struggle to rescue or protect women and children from various forms of abuse – and always as a priest my presence in a hospital, in particular labour and delivery was because someone, either mother or child, was dying or dead.
Two years ago close to sixty years of grief was lifted when you and John asked me to be present when Anne-Marie was born. It was like being in Bethlehem for I was present in the luminosity of life…death was for once no where present and what an immense grace!

Indeed I was humbled and thrilled to be present in the school of Mary through you and John.

Once again this Lent I am awash in such grace, again thanks to you and John and the children.

To serve as a Father and Grandfather since Our Lady and St. Joseph intervened and brought you and John into the splendour of holy marriage in Jesus, and since the birth of Anne-Marie has been no real effort, certainly never a burden, rather a constant blessing.


With my love and blessing,

Your Dad in Jesus and Mary.

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