"Jesus did not provide a short list of who is or who is not worthy of receiving His message, His prescience. Instead, He always embraced life as He saw it. Jesus said go out and tell the good news to everyone...in faces of pain, hunger, sickness and loss..embrace life as it is not as it should be...go out to all those who have lost the joy of living. Go out to proclaim the merciful face of the father. "
Washington DC, 2015
Today was an amazing day in the history of the Catholic Church. As an American I was so proud at how my country honored and welcomed my Papa Francis on his first visit to the United States. I have spent most of my day glued to the TV watching my Pope spread the message of mercy, love and joy no matter what your station in life is. God's mercy is there for you. It's there for me.
We celebrate the first Saint canonized in the U.S., St. Junipero Serra, who was a missionary in California in the 1700's. He protected the Native Americans from the horrific treatment by the Spanish who were colonizing the New World. He spread the message of love and worked his whole adult life living out the Gospel of love and service to the poor and marginalized. He dedicated himself to Our Lady of Guadalupe "for the love of God and the salvation of souls."
It was surreal for me to think that my sweet saint, my Courtney, now has a new member of the band in heaven. Wherever Jesus is, my daughter is there dancing and praising. It's one of the reasons I feel so close to her during Mass. She is there, right next to me, lifting her hands to the Lord and loving Him for an eternity.
I cried today.
Not tears of sadness, but ones of joy at the amazing gift my faith is to me. The gift given to me in love, by my parents, who themselves sacrificed so much for their children.
To know, truly know, that my daughter is in the presence of the Lord brings me such peace. I miss her. I do. Every minute. BUT...God's plan for my family is so much greater than I will ever understand.
It's just so much more and I am so grateful for that.
As I watched the Mass on television, there was a little girl wearing leg braces like my Courtney used to. She helped bring up the gifts to the Holy Father. He stopped and placed his hands on her and blessed her.
I was overcome for a moment.
Pope Francis has such a heart for the special needs commuinty. All Popes do, but with him, it seems like much more of a friendship with these kids.
You see, Courtney shows herself to me everyday, in little ways and big. This life is a ENORMOUSLY BEAUTIFUL adventure. We only get one turn around this earth. I refuse to allow grief and despair to eat away my joy.
Yes, grieving is difficult. It is such a personal journey for each of us. My journey without my daughter physically this side of heaven is harder some days than others. Life in general is harder some days than others, but there is joy, my friends.
So much joy, in living and loving and serving.
Death and sin surround us. Life is dirty, messy and at times confusing and filled with pain. It is up to us to choose to trust in the Lord, in the plan He has for our life, in the fact that the gates of hell shall not prevail, in the Cross and the oceans and oceans of mercy that flow from the side of Christ.
Y'all I am a missionary.
You are a missionary.
Embrace life as it is, not as you wish it to be. Remember that you are not alone. The Lord is right beside you guiding your steps.
Let us all take Pope Francis's and St. Junipero Serra's example of loving and loving then loving some more and then some more on top of that, and let's make this world a better place.
** for more on Pope Francis visit to the US check out these other bloggers insights.
Labels: catholic family life, catholic life, faith formation, joy, Joy in the Journey