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Monday, July 25, 2011

Praising God in Everything?!

The homily this Sunday, by our Pastor, started out talking about those people that praise God in everything--that this is the key virtue marking their lives as Christian.

It is also what St. Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit told us to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "In everything give praise; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

He gave an example of an older married couple he saw that had a car accident and were doing some version of a liturgical dance, like King David in front of the Ark of the Covenant, on the roof of their "beautiful car" in the ditch.  He guessed it was because they were both able-bodied even though their car was not, and also that this was their virtue to Praise God in everything.

We have a beautiful small parish in a very large suburb of Chicago--Palatine, and after Divine Liturgy we have "coffee and" to talk with our fellow parishioners.

I walked by and said hi to the Father that had the homily.  Such a giant smile he had for me, and he reached out and touched my arm, saying, "God Bless You."  He was really joyful.

I told him, "Thank you for the visual of the couple dancing on their car."

I went to the rectory tonight and talked with the priest's wife.  Byzantine Catholic men can become priests if they are married before they are ordained as deacons.  However, it disqualifies them from being ordained bishops.  Also monks in Byzantine Catholic tradition remain celibate.

She asked me if I had heard that one of their daughters gave birth a month early, last Wednesday.  The baby was missing part of her brain, and the top of her skull.  She was born with a strong heartbeat and lived for a day before passing away.  She told me with tears in her eyes how strong her daughter was, and she said she still sees her sitting there holding her little girl.  The pastor and his wife are bilingual, but I noticed when she was becoming emotional it was as if it would have been much easier for her to talk with me if I understood Ukrainian.  

I had heard about it a few months back.  The ultrasound at 20 weeks diagnosed the condition, and a friend and fellow parishioner told me about it and told me to pray.  People were praying for healing, including me, but the priest, father of the pregnant girl said she was at peace and would carry the baby trusting in God and in acceptance of His will.  The priest's wife told me her daughter was in pain due to excessive amnio fluid leading up to the delivery.  Doctor's wanted to drain some, but her daughter would not allow it.

I was surprised that Father had not mentioned it to me after liturgy, and he had not mentioned this in his homily.  The priest's wife said the time with the baby was precious.  I think briefly of those that would have aborted the baby after the diagnosis and would have then missed out on the mercy of holding the baby that they would again know in heaven.

When Steven Curtis Chapman lost his 5 year old daughter, Greg Laurie, a pastor that lost a son in early adulthood told him, "Your future with her in heaven will be more real than your past with her."

There is another image in my mind from Divine Mercy Father that preached a mission some years ago and described how eternity is like rowing a boat from here to England.  Even after you had completed rowing all the way over there, it would be like only the first minute of eternity.

Another thought is a comment in my meditation today that it is insulting to Jesus Christ when we do not keep the hope of heaven alive and active in our thoughts, since his incarnation, life, death and resurrection are what opened the gates of heaven to us.

The funeral was held this past Saturday.  The precious baby is survived by a very strong mother, father, and 2 year old sister and five year old brother.

To me the priest's cheerfulness this past Sunday is now an even better visual and reminder to me to Praise God in Everything.  I am sitting here with tears in my eyes at the faith in action he and his daughter demonstrated.  I prayed the rosary, asking Mary's intercession, for the whole extended family's comfort, blessing, and continued strength.

"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord." Psalm 150:6

2 comments:

  1. The death of a baby is a hard cross to carry. I will pray for your priest's family in this time of loss! Blessings!

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