Life is Worth Living

Update From Rochester

I want to begin by soberly thanking every one of you who has offered a prayer or a sacrifice for Paul and our family.  Again we are deeply thankful for all the kind words, meals, money, and most especially, the prayers and sacrifices.  God works in mysterious ways, and please know that we feel His love through you all.

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Unfortunately after another shunt revision surgery last Friday, Paul is still hurting.  His head is aching, in an ebb and flow manner, and he isn’t eating well.

Because we were able to secure a house within walking distance of the hospital, however, Paul was allowed to join us.  This has been a great blessing for our family.  It cheers him to be around all his brothers and sisters.

Yesterday we took the whole family and attended a Latin Mass at the shrine in La Crosse, WI, dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.  During his brief homily the priest paused and said quietly, “One of two things happen, when one begins to pray the rosary every day.  He either quits sinning, or he quits praying the rosary.”

Put so starkly, those words gave me great hope.

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Interior of the Church

Incidentally, we were able to make this pilgrimage to the Shrine through the generosity of some friends.  But also, on a practical level, we were able to take Paul because the Shrine offers rides on a golf cart to those individuals who are unable to make the ten minute hike up the wooded hill to the church.  Our Lady was surely interceding for us!

We prayed for Paul, but also for a friend of ours suffering from cancer and for the Amazon Synod.  We lit a candle in this small chapel on the hillside:

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It was a beautiful day, even if our hearts were aching for our son.

Tomorrow Paul has more appointments, to determine what should or should not be done.  Every day we live in uncertainty as to whether he’ll get better or not.  It is agonizing.  But we continue to trust in God.  We want to be loyal to His will, no matter the cost.

Tomorrow is also Paul’s 11th birthday, which he of course shares with his twin brother, Michael.  (I wrote about their birth HERE.)

But today…today we thank God for his most lovely and fair mother.  Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

 

Call Me Catholic

Slow Down This Summer

The children of their own accord made a little shrine in our trees the other day.  (They affectionately call these trees, The Wildness.)  They gathered lilacs and other flowers in bloom, made blue sashes with star badges, and used sticks for swords.  They also made a little flag.

It was all in honor of Mary, Our lady, Star of the Sea.  I have no idea why they chose this title, especially since we live nowhere near a sea.  (Does the Missouri River count?)

After making all their preparations, they marched my husband and I outside and made us all stand in a line with the 5-year-old leading the way with the flag.  Then, we sang their favorite Marian song, Regina Caeli, as we walked through the yard and Wildness to their prepared shrine.  Once there, the boys made us walk through their swords, which were meant to be something like the Knights of Columbus, and we solemnly knelt down and prayed, asking for Mary’s intercession for our family.

It was sweet and beautiful.

But you know what?  They wouldn’t have done this or had time for it, if we constantly shuffled them around from one activity to another.

Dear families, slow down.

Put the screens away.  Let your children play and use their imaginations.  If they complain of boredom, make them lie out on a blanket under a tree and stare at the leaves and the sky.  Give them a notebook and make them write down 50 things they can see.  Clouds?  Bark?  Ants?  Blades of grass?  Birds?

Maybe you will want to join them?

Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Pray for us!

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This is their shrine in the Wildness.  Note the badges and “swords.”  The badges say, “Our Lady, Star of the Sea, pray for us.”  The boys even put on blue shirts, in honor of Mary.