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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Patronage Meme

Karinann of The Daughter of the King as well as Anne from Imprisoned in My Bones have tagged me for this very heavenly meme. Assuming you are a saint, and your cause has been executed, your miracles confirmed, your date on the calendar established, all that is required is to select that of which Holy Mother Church will name you Patron (ess).

Here are the rules:
*Name your patronage
*Tag 5 other saintly bloggers
*Give link to your nominator's post.

Like the others that have accepted the challenge of this meme, I have been struggling with my unworthiness to even consider such a future occurrence as this.

The title of my blog is precisely because I realize how inadequate I am to bring Christ's healing, love, and mercy to others, and to lead others to him. 

I am lacking in the experience of suffering that I reverence in others,  beginning with the incomprehensible suffering of Christ in his passion, the tortures endured by the saints, to those I have been 
privileged to meet in my life that have truly suffered from what they have endured in this life.  People that I have known who have suffered are more mature than me, have greater empathy and understanding than me, have greater inner strength. 

Back to the Meme:  Two questions I asked myself to name my patronage:
1) What has stirred me to the most intense heart-churning prayer?
2) What evokes the strongest reactions in me that I would like to be able to affect with my intercessory prayers in heaven?

1) What has stirred me to the most intense heart-churning prayer?

In the last year this has been praying for those who have lost infants.  Three people that I know have experienced this profound loss and grief within the past 7 months.

In addition I met many mothers online, through their blogs, as in an effort to better understand, and find some way to console, I spent a few nights crying while reading the blogs of those that have suffered miscarriage, stillborn births, and neonatal loss.

The most intense prayer I have prayed this year was during the miscarriage scare of my friend and co-worker, shortly after she saw her baby's heartbeat for the first time.  This dear woman had lost her first baby, who was stillborn at 24 weeks, and had suffered an early miscarriage shortly before I met her.

We were at work, in our shared office, when she started experiencing very painful cramping.  She was sitting across from me in pain.

I was so scared for her.  Aware that I do not have a healing charism, but I always have the gift of prayer, I typed, (typing helps me pray, especially when someone is in pain in front of me and I am scared for her and lack the fortitude to pray out loud)

Lord Jesus Christ,

Please extend your hand to calm the mini-storm inside of her.  Please un cramp and smooth whatever is cramping.  Please give her peace and let her feel better now—please. Please protect this pregnancy.  Please forgive her any sins, forgive her anything that she should have done or not done.  Please see her, I know you do, with all the tenderness I know you have for her Lord.  You are moved by compassion Lord, please move now to heal her completely and please protect this little baby growing within her.
I hope it is just her body getting rearranged for the womb to grow bigger inside of her.

I love you Lord.  I thank you that you are always near.
Amen.

She did not miscarry.  The baby is growing and doing well.  She had a Subchorionic Hematoma that has since resolved. In a way an SCH is caused by the womb getting rearranged for pregnancy.  

You'll notice that I didn't pray for the will of God to be done, well except for the "So be it" behind the closing Amen.  I was scared of God's permissive will.  I was going for his compassion and mercy as I was afraid for her to suffer any more emotional devastation, and I just want this child so much for her and her family.  

This would fall short of the prayer of a saint in heaven, but that is the subject of another post, probably by someone wiser and more abandoned to God's will than I currently am.  It was a prayer with all the love and compassion God gave me.

2) What evokes the strongest reactions in me that I would like to be able to affect with my intercessory prayers in heaven?

Before I answer this, I have to explain that I believe that any compassion or mercy that I feel toward others is directly due to the working of the Holy Spirit.  I have been and continue to be in many ways blind to the suffering around me.  But in a few instances, the Lord has truly led me.

"I shall lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they do not know I shall conduct them." Isaiah 42:16.

St. Leo the Great (died in 461) reflecting on that verse said, "Because of the great love by which he has loved us, God renews his likeness in us.  More importantly, so that he might find in us the reflection of his goodness, he who works in all allows us to work along with himself.  Thus he lights candles in our dark minds and kindles in us the fire of his love in order to make us love not only himself but also whomever he loves." (from the Roman Breviary published in 1908, but more recently in The New Jerusalem Bible:  Saints Devotional Edition which I extremely recommend)

My answer then:

  • Abuse of Children:  My eyes were opened to this while sitting on the Grand Jury in Lake County, Illinois for 3 months.  In particular sexual abuse of children is more prevalent than theft and my imagination and heart gasps to think how much of it never comes to light.  The real stories I heard while the attorney sought indictment were very upsetting.  The lesson was more effective as the most frequent victimization seemed to be girls, 11 years old, and my oldest daughter at the time was 11 years old.  I pray for these kids, and especially ask the Blessed Mother to intercede for them when I pray the rosary.  I also read Colleen's book, The Third Floor Window which had me crying for a few days, but was part of God lighting a candle in my dark mind.
  • Infant loss as mentioned earlier, inclusive of miscarriage and neonatal loss
  • (and relatedly) Abortion.  As another example of God lighting a candle in my dark mind within one week a friend passes on a link from a mom in dark place of mourning due to losing one of her twins in utero.  This same mom lost two twins seven years ago, and as anyone knows that has lost children or knows parents that have lost children, the loss can become fresh, and the hurt deep, and time does not heal all wounds.  In short I was sad and praying for her, especially as she was having trouble praying.  Then I stumble upon Creative Minority drawing attention to a practice of reducing a twin pregnancy to one and the two together within one week really got me upset.  I don't want to judge or be critical but if you caught the article, or read  Sistertoldjah's Write-up on it, it is so upsetting.  I am going to be praying from now on and again when I pray the rosary, and in heaven, should hearts and minds not have changed by then, that women would have the light lit in their dark minds to know that our souls live on love and truth and not deception, and short-term relief.  If you read the story you'll read how one woman asks not to see the overhead ultrasound screen during the procedure, and felt relief afterward.  What you don't read is what the wound in the woman's soul will do to her.  Forgiveness and healing are there when she turns to God as some women have been blessed to find through Project Rachel.
  • Infertility:  I had no awareness of the challenges of these couples, and especially the women, as my husband and I are what those who are IF call "Fertiles".  My eyes were opened to this by getting to know someone, and reading her blog, and then the blogs of many others experiencing this trial in the past year.  There were two webpages in particular that summed up my learning:  http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/Managing-Infertility-Stress/emotional-aspects.html and  http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/for-family--friends/infertility-etiquette.html  I am not advocating anything here in terms of Artificial Reproductive Therapies, just passing on the links in case it helps others  understand there are women, couples experiencing a recurring grief.  There are many of them, as high as 2 in 8 couples.  I was not aware of this before this past year.
Since Infant Loss came up twice in my answers, I will go with that for my patronage.  

I wrote earlier in a post called Praising God Always about how one mother's faith shined in the midst of losing her little girl.  

Also the other night, when I realized I was still not ready to write this, I found these other beautiful passages in Isaiah that I hope will comfort anyone that has experienced child loss.  
  
"I myself shall fight for those who fight you and I myself shall save your children." (Is. 49:25b)

"No more will the sound of weeping be heard there, nor the sound of a shriek;
never again will there be an infant there who lives only a few days . . .
They will not toil in vain,
nor bear children destined to disaster
for they are the race of Yahweh's blessed ones
and so are their offspring.
Thus, before they call I shall answer,
before they stop speaking I shall have heard."  (Is. 65:19b, 20, 23-24)

"As a mother comforts a child,
so I shall comfort you." (Is. 66:13)

"For past troubles will be forgotten
and hidden from my eyes.
For look, I am going to create a new heavens and a new earth,
and the past will not be remembered
and will come no more to mind.
Rather be joyful, be glad for ever at what I am creating . . . .
At the sight your heart will rejoice." (Is. 65:16b-17,66:14)

(this one is good to replace the pronoun so it fits the one reading it--God's word is for you!)
"But I shall heal him,
I shall lead him, fill him with consolation,
him and those who mourn for him,
bringing praise to their lips.
Peace, peace to far and near, Yahweh says,
and I shall heal him." (Is. 57:18b-19)

Finally, to those that feel distant from God and the pain is turning you inward and not toward God as you are doubting love and goodness in the midst of your pain, please remember this wasn't God's plan for us.  There is a book written by someone that experienced repeated infant loss that helps to make sense and come to terms with how there could be such suffering that I would encourage you to read.  Here is the link to the book on Amazon:  Pope John Paul and the Meaning of Suffering.
"Jesus Wept." (Jn 11:35) Statue at Oklahoma City Memorial
I cannot summarize it here, at least not in this post.  It is an amazing book.  I will leave you with one last verse though, and it is one that all parents, parents to be, those struggling with IF and, as is often the case, IF and pregnancy loss, your God does love you.  He will heal you, he will strengthen you, he will bring you to peace.  The peace will not be permanent on this side of eternity, but he will console you as a mother consoles her child.

"Shout for joy, you heavens; earth exult!
Mountains, break forth into joyful cries!
For Yaheweh has consoled his people,
is taking pity on his afflicted ones.
Zion was saying, 'Yahweh has abandoned me,
the Lord has forgotten me.'
Can a woman forget her baby at the breast,
feel no pity for the child she has borne?
Even if these were to forget,
I shall not forget you.
Look I have engraved you on the palms of my hands . . . ." (Is.49:13-16a)

May you who are reading this grow in the holy virtue of confidence in God's care.  I just finished posting great reflection on this passage by St. John Eudes at the Community of Catholic Bloggers.

I am supposed to tag 5 other bloggers for this Meme.  I tag:

Abigail at Abigail's Alcove
Priest's Wife at Fear Not Little Flock

I encourage you to visit Karinann of The Daughter of the King as well as Anne from Imprisoned in My Bones to read their posts from this Meme.

12 comments:

  1. Colleen,
    Great post. It looks like you will be one busy little saint in heaven! :) Your compassion for others, especially those who have experienced loss is a beautiful thing to witness.
    A note on the abortion practice of aborting one twin- In my work in Rachel's Vineyard, we have had more than a few couple who have come for healing because a doctor has told them that, given the diagnosis/prognosis of the baby, abortion would be the best choice. The pain and guilt these couples experience is heart wrenching. I can relate to them as a post abortive mother, but I can only empathize with them in having made that choice because of what a doctor thinks is best. (And often these doctors are wrong about the diagnosis)
    Thanks you for sharing this well thought out and prayerful post.
    God bless.

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  2. Colleen-this is wonderful! You put so much love into this post and I can feel that your love is genuine. Those who would turn to your patronage are blessed indeed! I especially love the prayer that you typed for your friend and coworker. It's perfect for one who is suffering and perfect from one who is working towards sainthood. You are a blessing!

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  3. Colleen,

    Thank you for the very interesting suggestion of the meme. I had never been involved in such a thing before, come and take a look: http://www.spiritual-lives-of-women.com/2011/08/never-break-chain-patronage-meme.html

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  4. Colleen,
    I loved your unique perspective on this meme and this post was beautifully written. I, too, read Colleen's book Third Floor Window and cried all the way through it. It was a powerfully anointed book and I passed it on to others after I finished it. You chose wonderful patronages. I have known children who have been sexually abused and their suffering is terrible to behold. You chose wonderful Bible passages and I loved your prayer for your friend!

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  5. Dear Colleen,

    I want to thank you for visiting my new blog "Stories of Grief, Love and Hope". And becoming a follower too. I created the blog to reach out to those who have suffered the loss of a baby. And then I visit here and read your own post! I can see you are a kindred spirit. If you feel able, would you please tell others about my blog if you feel they are looking to connect with another bereaved parent? I'd appreciate this!

    I think I saw the book "Pope John Paul and the Meaning of Suffering" on another blog in the last day or two. Perhaps I am meant to read it. I shall follow the link!

    May God bless you.

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  6. Karinann, you are an inspiration and in fact I woke up after finishing this to edit it by adding the link to Rachel's Vineyard, and how nice now that if anyone finds this looking for healing and forgiveness they might reach out to you through your profile and email. It is good of you to give the example of doctor counseling a couple. I'll remember to pray for them too! Romans 2:1 is pretty clear that we are not to judge so my prayers are that parents and doctors would have the gift of faith, and have the support around them, and the light of God's moral wisdom to guide them prior to these decisions, and at the time of decision.

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  7. Beautiful post. Thanks for mentioning my book. Even more than that, thank you for your compassion.

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  8. Anne, I can always count on you to detect when I have written from the heart and to then encourage me. Thank you. You are a blessing too! God Bless you!

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  9. Mary, this was a good meme. Not sure where you found it but it was a soul searching one. It reminded me of when I was 22 giving myself a little creative writing assignment of what would I do if I only had a short time to live. It is amazing what an eternal perspective change will do for someone. I think I'll put a badge for Colleen's book on this site too. I just added Sue's.

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  10. Sue, i am going to download your book and read it this week. I did add the badge as you'll see. Thanks for visiting my site.

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  11. Colleen, I am deeply touched by your comment. I hope it would be ok to add your book's badge to this site?

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  12. Colleen, thank you for adding my book badge to your site. I am so grateful! The book cover is advertising my grief blog and the paperback version of the book at the moment. But I am working on an ebook version(with Victor's help). Hopefully it will be online very soon. I am so honoured you want to read it and share my story. God bless.

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