About a year ago I posted Put Your Faith Where Your Prayer Is. In that post I related the events around the birth of my grandson, John Charles (Jack), on 5 January; and how three days later he stopped breathing and wound up back in the hospital for several weeks. But, the story wasn’t so much about Jack as it was about the life-changing experience I had because of it. It told of the series of signs (God-moments) that brought me, through fear and desperation, to “give it up to God”, and to proclaim and pray, “Jesus, I trust in You” with every ounce of faith within me; and how He revealed to me that Jack would be fine.
In March I posted Laetare (Joyful) Sunday in which I reflected on and compared my love for my family with the Lord’s love for me. Through the scripture readings for that day, and with help from the priest’s homily, this still relatively new Catholic finally understood just how much God loves us. But, that Sunday, 15 March, was more than just an enlightening experience for me, and it was more than a “Joyful Sunday” for my family – it was the day Jack was baptized.
Fast forward through 2015. After a few weeks in the hospital, Jack came home on medication. By the end of spring he was weaned from his medication and hasn’t had a symptom in the last nine months. He’s grown into a healthy, happy and normal little boy.
This past weekend we converged on Kansas City to celebrate Jack’s first birthday. It was a beautiful party with many family and friends attending. Jack thoroughly enjoyed the attention and the birthday gifts.
As the little man crawled to me, pulled himself to standing in front of my lap, and, with a smile from ear to ear, offered his new toy to me, I couldn’t help but utter a silent prayer of Thanksgiving to the One Who was ultimately responsible.
As we usually do when we visit them, we go to Mass at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Olathe, Kansas. As Mass began I realized that this Sunday happened to be the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. It made me think back to last March and Laetare Sunday when this same priest, Fr. John Charles Reynolds, celebrated Jack’s Sacrament of Baptism. When I realized the two shared the same first and middle names I looked up to the crucifix hanging above the altar and I smiled a knowing smile.
I should have been paying attention during the Liturgy of the Eucharist but my mind drifted back to last winter and I further realized the day’s date was the one year anniversary of me consciously placing my total trust in Jesus – not just to heal my grandson – but in all things.
Momentarily oblivious to the ritual happening at the altar, and with leaking eyes, I offered thanks once again for all of life’s blessings, especially for the way He reveals Himself to me: by reminding me of the conversation we had precisely one year ago; by recalling to my mind Jack’s baptism through the celebration of His Own baptism; and even in the small, seemingly coincidental, sign of Jack and the priest sharing the same name. It was as though I could hear God’s whispered laugh and reminder, “Psst, hey you, don’t forget how much I love you!”
“Heavenly Father, thank You for the many ways You make Yourself present to me and thank You for giving me the insight to recognize them for what they are. I pray I always find a way to feel You working in my life. Amen.”
(The post, “Psst, Hey You, Don’t Forget How Much I Love You!”, was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)
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