By ZOE CANNON
GRATITUDE FOR THE GIFT OF FAITH
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
We are made in the image of God; therefore, we should recognize the special qualities of human nature that allow God to be made manifest in us. The gift of life and the blessing of grace from God are things we should be grateful for every day. We just celebrated All Saints and All Souls Day in the Church. These days of remembrance are beautiful ways to honor the Communion of saints – those who have gone to heaven before us. The powerful witness of good and holy people is certainly needed in our culture today.
When the elderly members of our family pass away, a library of memories and information are lost; and volumes of wisdom and knowledge are gone. The relationships we nurture and the sense of loyalty we maintain with our family members are blessings to future generations. Some people are not as fortunate as others when it comes to growing up in a close-knit family with unconditional love. Recognizing this, I will never take for granted the love provided in my family – especially from faith-filled grandparents.
“A picture is worth a thousand words!” This 20th century phrase is true; a picture can convey different emotions and information more effectively than words. We have a digital frame in our home that cycles through hundreds of pictures all day long. When I view the pictures as I sit with a cup of coffee or walk through the room, I get a glimpse of the love shared in these pictures and feel very blessed!
Our home is a gallery of family history and faith. The walls and cabinets include lots of pictures, religious items and books. When people enter our home, they immediately identify that we are a Catholic family. The photos of family members and outdoor landscapes tell a story, as well, of past and present memories we’ve enjoyed together. Through the struggles of the pandemic the past two years, this digital frame was a gift that kept on giving – and a reminder of goodness in the world.
We have been praying for a young mom of four young children in our parish who was diagnosed two years ago with a cancerous brain tumor. A group of young families and friends have joined us with ongoing prayer initiatives for her healing: novenas, rosary gatherings, consecrations and visits to Vincennes to pray through the intercession of Servant of God Bishop Simon Bruté, who is buried in the crypt below St. Francis Xavier Minor Basilica. The faith of this young woman and her husband are a beautiful witness, and proof of the power obtained in grace from God. I cannot imagine a world where salvation history and our world history are discounted and erased. The value of both can mean the difference between living God’s Truth with wisdom, and constantly seeking to play god without any knowledge or concept of consequences.
Before Mass on All Saints Day, I was praying for our friend, who was waiting for results from an MRI scan. My prayer was to create something to comfort the children. I thought about the name of Jesus, and the idea of copying pictures with 25 different titles for Jesus with prayers on the back of the card came to me. As I was praying, the cantor began a prelude song: “Jesus Christ, yesterday, today, and forever,” by Suzanne Toolan. I knew the idea was pleasing to God! We laminated the color pictures with a prayer on the back of the card to be used during Advent. When you focus on the face of Jesus, it is like a prayer of its own. I hope the prayer cards during Advent will bring comfort to the children and families using them. The report from the scan was not good. Help us pray for a Christmas miracle. Amen!