Last Tuesday, per our usual routine, we met together and fellowshipped with one another. It was my turn to lead and after much prayer and questioning, I determined that our gathering would be about God and knowing Him intimately. Since we desire so deeply for all to love our Lord, we must give our friends here the opportunity to get to know Him. We cannot expect that after the mere mention of His name, that the masses would fall head-over-heels, repent, and immediately change their lives. We must acknowledge that, as with all relationships, with time, prayer, and an active searching for His face, we may feel a bond that starts as a mere acquaintance, grows to a friendship, and blossoms into love.
In Scripture we find that God has many features: “The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Exodus 34:5-7). We know that He is jealous for our affections and our time, He is merciful and just, and is “mighty and awesome” (Deuteronomy 10:17). But if He were in a room full of thousands, could we pick Him out of the crowd? In a room full of hundreds? Tens? If we question our ability to recognize Him, then we still have room to grow! We still have more love to give and to ask for! That night, before the Blessed Sacrament, I prayed begging to know the Lord with greater intimacy and was shocked by how quickly, and by the manner that He answered my prayer.
Two nights after the gathering, the Lord gave me the opportunity to hold a dying baby girl for the night. I immediately jumped at the privilege and took a taxi to the baby home as I prayed for angels to be sent before me, behind me, and alongside of me as I rushed to her side. This sweet little one was given to us with a botched ileostomy surgery and we immediately sent her to the hospital. Her stomach was full of stool, meters of intestines were non-functioning, and we were told that there was nothing else that could be done. We immediately took her from the hospital and put her in the care of our facility and our loving staff who would be with her in her last hours. Twenty-three hours later, she still was fighting for her life, and I was able to meet this saint and share in the beauty of her life.
At first, looking upon the face of a tiny one-month old, who was simultaneously dying of starvation and thirst since her body could not absorb any nutrients, I was rigid and afraid of causing her more pain. After a few minutes passed, I was able to comfortably hold her close to me, wary of her wound, and began the most intense 11 hours of prayer I have ever attempted. I knew that in only ten minutes, she had suffered more than I have, or ever will, in my lifetime. There were moments within our time together when I knew I was looking upon the face of the crucified Christ and that her piercing eyes saw through to my soul. In other moments I felt as if I were Mary holding Her Son after His death, and I prayed for the grace to be able to love this baby with the heart of Christ and His Mother. Together, by uniting her sufferings to the Cross, we prayed for one another, for the world, and all the souls who do not know our Lord.
As the suffering continued, I could feel my heart changing from peace knowing that she would soon be with the Father, to anger and BEGGING the Lord to release her poor soul from the agony of this life. Never in my life did I imagine that I would ever pray for death, but as I looked at this innocent baby girl, I longed to take her place and I longed for the next life to come. As I sang the Chaplet, tears in my eyes, I felt God’s graces being poured upon us both. I knew in that moment that Christ saw her suffering, was with her singing in her ear, and had a place for her beside Him in glory. In her sufferings, I saw how God never desired for pain and death to enter this world, and how because of my sins, our sins, this innocent child was suffering in ways that are unimaginable. It was in those moments that I felt my relationship with Christ deepen, I saw His face, and knew Him in a way that I never had before.
In a total of 11hrs, she was outside of my arms for twenty minutes. I was shocked that she lasted through the night, seemingly afraid of death, and offered her life and soul up in the Sacrifice of the Masses taking place all over the world. This little one lasted two more days before she relented in the fight, and ran to the embrace of our King. Her strength was unfathomable and I will never forget her witness and precious life. There will come a time when our voices will once again be united as we stand embracing one another before our merciful Father and Loving Lord.
I pray that we may all continue to seek the face of God, asking for greater faith, and begin to feel our hearts falling ever-deeper in love with the One who created us and desires our true good and happiness. Please keep praying for these babies and pray for all who suffer in vain without knowledge of our Lord.