As I was busily getting everyone ready this morning it dawned on me that today might be my Mother-in-Law’s birthday. She passed away in 1998 and I experienced my conversion less than two months later. I have no doubt that the two events are related. In the Communion of Saints, Josephine Brewster is a beautiful and active member. I checked my birthday book, and sure enough, her birthday is today. So after I dropped the kids off at school and headed to the Adoration Chapel prior to 8 am Mass, I entered a petition in the book outside the Chapel something to the effect of, “For Josephine on her birthday, in Thanksgiving for a life beautifully and joyfully lived; for her family to come to know Jesus as she does.” I had my time in the Chapel and heard the kids entering Church for the weekly school Mass. I filed in along with them and winked at my kids as they entered with their classes.
Father Francis always gives a beautiful homily which manages to have something for both the kids and the adults. Today the brand-new First Communicants were there in their finery and Father spoke to them specifically of Jesus’ love for each of them, given in the Holy Eucharist. To explain to the children how, “We do this in remembrance…” Father told a personal story. His mother was a good cook and made a wonderful apple pie. But as good as the pie was, Father’s favorite part was that she would bake off the crust scraps, after sprinkling them with cinnamon-sugar. These warm morsels, filled with love, have stayed with him to this day. Now when ever Father has a nibble of crust, he is reminded of his mother and her love for him.
This story would have been quite beautiful on its own, but was more so to me because Josephine always did the same thing for my husband, John. It’s a tradition I continue for John and our children. There is nothing like the smell of cinnamon-sugar sprinkled pie crust baking in the oven, to make me feel like I am really a “mom”. After Mass I decided to ditch my plans for the day and be lead by the Spirit to make Josephine’s sauce, and a batch of pie crust. I’ll be sure to take some to Father Francis.
The other chord God was playing in the sweet suite of this day regarded our marriage. I have a devotion to Jesus, King of All Nations, which involves offering communions for nine consecutive days for an individual. Jesus promises to give that person an angel to guard and guide for each of the nine days of the novena! I started this just a couple of years ago, but have been making my way through my family and friends, saying yes to Jesus desire to send many angels down to help us. As God would have it, today is the ninth and final day of this particular novena, which I was inspired to offer for John’s and my marriage. I have never offered a novena for anything other than a person before, but felt lead to do so this time. As God would further have it, we just picked up my re-set wedding rings yesterday, which houses Josephine’s engagement stone and this was my first day wearing it.
Mass was so beautiful and deeply consoling after a very trying day and night. I felt union with Jesus, with Mary and especially with my dear Josephine, who taught me so much about true love by her witness to her husband and her whole family. So off I went to the grocery store to pick up tomatoes and meats for Josephine’s sauce. Pork ribs, ground beef, tomatoes, time to check out. The total came to $7.17. John and I were married 7/17/93.
Lord, I’m amazed by You. Though I am as a speck of dust, living on a speck of dust of a planet, you order my day so completely and perfectly that every time I look and have eyes to see, I am shown the depth of your love and tender care for me. Thank you, dear Father, for Josephine, for Father Francis, for Father Francis’ mother, for my husband and our marriage and children, for all the Saints. May I be a wife and mother like Mary, like Josephine, seeking to serve and be a font of love in the lives of those you have given me.
One more thing. One of the First Communicants is a boy, Gregory, who is battling Leukemia. As he was stepping up to the ambo to read one of the prayers of the faithful, I asked Josephine to please pray for him. Gregory’s prayer was, “For all of our beloved deceased who cannot be here with us today; may the Lord grant them peace and make His face to shine upon them”. So in that little instant in the Communion of Saints, Josephine and Gregory were praying for each other.
God is good. :)