"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word."
I awakened this morning with Baby Joseph on my mind. As I nursed and cuddled my own baby boy, I could not help but think of the other child being kissed and loved by his father; the little legs kicking just like my own baby does. It always happens that when I think of those two I see a little more clearly and love just a little bit more fully. The skin of my child becomes so real. His tiny movements so intensely beautiful. His life worth every bit of mine and so much more. His innocence startles me. I fall in love a little more deeply; not only with the little one in my arms, but with his astonishingly real Creator.
I say my morning offering and stroke the tiny cheek under my fingers. My soul cries FIAT and gives thanks for the grace that stokes the fires of my heart.
What is it about Baby Joseph that has changed me? I was already pro-life but it is as though God has pierced my heart with the love of this child I have never touched. What is it about this child? God is using him to change hearts. To teach us how to love deeper and more freely and more passionately. Love shines and glitters but it also bleeds and wrenches the heart like the Cross breaks the body of Jesus. To see Baby Joseph's father kiss his son so tenderly is to see how love redeems pain... and how suffering can increase love.
I recently read a column written by Fr. Pavone in which he answers the question of a reporter: "Who the hell is Baby Joseph and why should I care?" Father responds...
Have you seen him yet? Here is a video
just after his transfer to the US hospital. He is tired but he kicks his legs in response to his father's touches. Here is another
from just 10 days ago with his eyes open and lifting his head. His father sings: "I love you, Baby."
We spend so much time running from our sufferings. So much so that we can feel nothing deeply. We turn it all off. We reject sickness and grief and struggle... and we find that we have lost love. The Annunciation could not have been a passionless, painless moment. The intensity of love and sacrifice encompassed in the exchange between Mary and the angel must have been profound. She was not an empty head or shallow heart... her fiat must have been a spectacular and intense movement of the soul.
I was recently communicating with a good friend and expressed some fears and discouragements. She reminded me: He is pursuing you... SURRENDER!
Dear Blessed Mother, help to to be His handmaid, too. Give me your heart with which to love Him. Grant me the courage to surrender.
Thanks be to God for the gift of Priests for Life.
For Baby Joseph and his loving parents.
For those at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center who are walking the talk.
For the tracheotomy that has relieved Joseph of his uncomfortable tubes and allowed his beautiful face to be uncovered to his parents kisses.
Thank you, Jesus for pursuing me so relentlessly.
And thank you for the gift of your Blessed Mother, who teaches us to live lives of authentic love.
Still looking for a meaningful way to give alms this Lent? Give here
to help Priests for Life pay for Baby Joseph's care.
|March 24-Baby Joseph after tracheotomy |