Yesterday I went to the funeral of a beautiful young woman named Clare. I worked for years with her mother who lost her only son two years ago in a tragic car accident. Last year her only daughter, then 28 years old, was diagnosed with cancer. Scarcely one year later she died, leaving a young husband behind. Its the age that many women are bringing life into the world...but all of her doctor and hospital visits were in an effort to prolong the inevitable: death.
Of course I cried at the funeral. She had a beautiful smile and was so cheerful and positive, even to the end. Her friends often found her cheering them up about her diagnosis, not the other way around. The priest gave a beautiful homily, talking about sunrises and sunsets...how we can look at a picture of one and confuse it with the other (sunset up above by the way, taken in Mykonos, Greece). We all saw this girl's death as a sunset...but for a Christian it is really a sunrise: we go forth to eternal life, rising with Christ. Father also spoke of Blessed Chiara Luce Badano, the beautiful young woman and recent patron of World Youth Day who died of bone cancer. Both Chiara and Clare mean light.
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My uncle, who is also my godfather, was caught by his guardian angels yesterday. He was driving a tractor trailer over a bridge when it blew over...how he didn't fly off the bridge is amazing...and the fact that someone caught it on tape is crazy. Praying that this experience brings him back to Our Lord and his church.
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I'm on a Catholic Lighthouse Media kick. I've been listening to their CDs ever since I bought my new car (my old car had a broken radio/CD player for years) and they are amazing! Something that really struck me today was hearing Matthew Leonard say over and over (it takes a few times to pound something in my head) "Prayer is a relationship."
It's not a job, it's not a duty, it's not something we do in order to be rewarded. It's a relationship with God...and as such: it's not easy, it's not fast, and it's not superficial. Can it be joyful? Yes. Can it be painful? Yes. Can it increase our love and make us grow? Yes. What it can't be is relegated to a little tiny part of our life. Either we are growing closer to God and deeper in prayer or we are walking away and with it goes our prayer life...and our support...and our ability to truly love.