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Friday, April 27, 2007

Our God is a God of Miracles

I believe in miracles because I am both the product and the subject of a miracle.

Shortly after she was married, Mom was told that she would never have children. But, in defiance of the great god Science, she conceived and bore a son, and called him her firstborn. And Heaven rejoiced.

Then, two years later, roughly, she conceived and bore a daughter. Either before or during her gestation, Roe v. Wade passed and so people were embolded to approach her to say unspeakable things. Mom and Dad both suffered from visible genetic defects; Mom was born with only one hand, Dad had Spina Biffeda. So while Mom's belly was swollen with me, she was attacked with great hatred by the culture of death that suggested remorselessly that she murder her child in deference to their preference to live in a world without such imperfection as herself.

I can't imagine the anguish this must have caused my mother. That alone should qualify her as a martyr and speed her canonization.

So then I was born, and Heaven rejoiced. But alas, I was born with a very lazy eye, turned so far inward that as I got older, the doctors told my Mom I would never have depth perception, I would never be able to so much as stack blocks. Mom was devastated, but she opted not to kill me although certain factions of culture would have liked to see such a thing occurr.

I still remember an eye doctor appointment during which I heard the word "surgery". I remember the doctor discussing with my mother how certain muscles would be cut and reattached, the risks (which I did not understand) and the probability for success. The appointment was set for a few days or couple weeks later. It was to be a simple surgery, apparently.

I remember going to Mom's friend's house the day before my scheduled surgery. Mom's friends' name was Barb, and she was about Mom's height, a little older, and she had dark wavy, short hair. She was very friendly and talked a lot. They had a split-level home with blue carpeting and nice furniture. They were nice people and they had a littl girl a bit younger than me and sent us off to play together. That little girl was as blue as the carpet.

Mom explained to me later that she was sick and wasn't going to be in this world for very long. (Many years later I learned her diagnosis; Congenital heart disease. She was a "blue baby"). That little girl actually lived far longer than she was "supposed to."

I remember a certain sense of peace about her, as though she knew she was dying, but it didn't diminish her life. She was just like every other little girl everywhere, but for her blue color and her need to rest a little more often.

While we were there, she and I were called into the livingroom where all the adults were, including some other people I'd never seen before. I seem to remember people exclaiming over us and my lazy eye.

I was a very very shy child, hated to be the center of attention, and did my best to not be noticed. But since my new blue friend was with me, I felt better because they were making much out of her as well. There is solidarity in such things.

The group of adults stood in a circle around us, and I remember Barb praying for healing for us. Other people spoke up, too. I hated being there and I made faces at my new friend to release some tension. She was very used to this so didn't understand my discomfort, and stared back at me soberly. I took a cue from her and stopped, enduring the embarassment of so many people paying attention to me at once.

Shortly after that, and maybe some hugs from our new friends, and promises to return, we left.

I remember holding Mom's hand as we went to the hospital where I was prepped for surgery.

There was a quick pre-op exam, and the doctor stood up and called for someone else. They left the room. They came back, checked again, and told Mom that surgery was not necessary.

I remember walking out with Mom, not understanding my sense of relief, not understanding Mom's wonderment. I was completely oblivious to what had happened.

Mom wasn't.

It was a bona-fide miracle. My condition, which had been monitored since my birth, was not a self-correcting type of condition. I literally needed surgery to turn my eye straight.

But overnight, the condition was corrected to the degree that surgery was not needed.

I actually always thought that Barb and her family and friends were Charismatic Catholics, because sometime around then, Mom had taken us to a Charismatic prayer meeting. I only learned last weekend that they were actually Assembly of God.

I have been pondering this and considering whether this new information affects my perspective in any way.

I've decided it has not. Rather, I am coming to a new understanding of true ecumanism, in fact, the true meaning of it. I do not remember that they were trying to convert us. It seemed there was a great deal of mutual respect for our religious beliefs and theirs, and through their concern for their children, these adults bonded over what was common and addressed God in unity.

I think only a suffering mother can relate to another suffering mother, and those prayers are powerful.

I was healed that day. I found out that about a year later, that other little girl died. I also seem to remember her praying for me with her family.

I am humbled, and I pray that this little girl is in Heaven, praying for me still for I sense that her prayers are powerful.

Do not fear to believe in miracles; they happen every day, to people all over the world.

I am typing these words today not through braille, but through living eyes, a sense of sight Mom was told I would never have. These very words are the result of a miracle.

Thank you, God, for this gift of sight. Thank you, God, for Mom's gift of faith. Thank you, God. for Barb and her family/friend's gifts of faith and prayer, and thank you, God, every day, for the gifts of holy friendship.

12 comments:

Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Re your Mum's one hand. In over twenty years of teaching, I have come across this twice now, and interestingly, both children were in the same class in the same year! One of the little girls was shy initially and tried to hide her hand, but the other children took it completely for granted, and she was soon completely comfortable with things as they were.

Adoro te Devote said...

kiwi, that's awesome!

When I was in 6th grade, I remember a 4th grader who had braces on her legs - she had CP. I've actually seen where other children are far more accepting of "disabilities" than adults are.

I actually take my Mom's lack of a hand for granted - it's simply how things are.

But one day I happened to mention it to an adult friend who happens to be a nurse, and she was completely taken aback. Not because of the disability, but because I had never brought it up before. I was completely mystified; why bring it up? I never mentioned it because it had no context with reference to Mom until the point where I revealed it. Mom is Mom, whether she's got all her appendages or not.

Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Now I know why I am up at this hour.... it is 5pm here and a perfectly reasonable time to be making comments on people's blogs. But I do not expect replies from US bloggers at this time: you are either up very late or very early!!

Adoro te Devote said...

LOL!

I was about to go to bed...I'm up very late tonight. It's 12:24 am right now.

I really need to go to sleep, and so I am now.

Enjoy your evening, which is just beginning! :-)

UltraCrepidarian said...

I believe. Isn't it a good thing to be able to say yes to God that way? I think what you're saying here is connected to the being a "child" thing. We do such horrible damage to our hearts and our souls when we have to be so "realistic and pragmatic" all the time, that we will reject grace, especially miraculous grace.

It's not that it always happens how we want it, because it almost never does, but it is undeniable, it is real, and it's God.

And I can tell you for sure that the Holy Spirit is working within the Protestant/Evangelical church. And I can also tell you that for sure God is calling people out of there, and to return home to the Catholic Church, and it's part of my call in life, and may be related to part of yours, to continue to co-operate with the grace of God which has brought us to this point, to this vision.

I am in tears thinking of the beauty of what God has done for you, and what he is doing for me, and for all of us.

I am actively expecting a miracle right now.
I don't know what kind it will be. There's a man in hospital right now that I am praying for. I am praying right now against hopelessness, for a miracle of grace and forgiveness to happen.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.

Thank you for sharing this. I thank God for he is rich in mercy, and steadfast in love.

Warren

uncle jim said...

LONGER COMMENT WARNING -

This past August, I think that is the correct date, there was celebrated in LA, California, the 100th anniversary of the Azusa Street revival. A small black congreagation, a century earlier, had experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that spread like wild fire to the streets and environs of LA and then to the world. The modern day Pentecostal movement was born.

Forty years ago, shortly after the close of the Second Vatican Council, a group of Catholics from the University of Notre Dame and University of Michigan went to Pittsburg to Duquesne University and took part in a retreat during which they were all Baptized in the Holy Spirit and manifested signs and wonders just like in the Acts of the Apostles.

They took it back to their respective campus environs and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal was born. It spread world-wide in a very short time.

Signs and wonders are still a mark of the church of Christ. Miracles are very common around the world today ... in some of both Catholic and Protestant traditions.

On TUesday March 27, 2007, a month ago, my wife and I visited a 31 year old young man who was in a large city major trauma center hospital. He was unconscious, and had been for weeks, and on full life support. He was the victim af a viscious 'beating' with a tire iron to the head.

The decision had already been made and agreed to by the family that he would be moved out of ICU that day or the next, and removed from life-support. There was nothing more medical science could do for him. He was moved to another floor on WEdnesday and support removed except for a feeding tube his family wanted left in place.

Family and friends were coming from all around the country to pay their last respects to him and the family, and in anticipation of a funeral within a few days. It was some of his cousins we know in OK that told us about him, and we were going to be passing through that city in OH, so we said we'd stop and see him and pray with him.

We prayed with him ... very specifically for a healing - I think it might have been very similar to the experience to which you experienced with your eye.

During the 24 hours following our visit, several family members noticed what they described as movement of several types. Medical staff explained it was probably normal reflexive events. On WEdnesday evening, the family said that he tried to set up once [still unconscious] when they were shifting his body position in the bed. Medical staff again said it was normal body reflexing.

During the night, the monitor alarms started going off. Staff rushed to his room to find him on the floor awake - he had tried to get out of the bed - he had regained consciousness.

Tests on THursday showed unexplainable brain healing and repair. By SAturday he was, with help, walking the halls.

He spent a couple of weeks in a rehab unit to relearn movement skills. He is now home in his rural town some 40 miles away. He has given his phone number to relatives for them to give to any who are skeptical of his story and want to talk to him directly. His speach is good and his memory improving every day.

He will tell you he has experienced a G R E A T M I R A C L E of G-d. In his story, he even tells of a near-death like experience just before he regained consciousness, where he was told it wasn't his time yet, and he'd have to go back.

G-d answers prayers everyday - in His way ... in His time ... for whom He chooses. Prior to his injuries, this young man was not what you would call a believer - he is now.

Ad majorem Dei glorim!

Fr. V said...

Interesting Adoro

As I think you see far better than most people.

Adoro te Devote said...

uncle jim ~ That's amazing, and such a testament not only to God's glory but to the very dignity and value of human life!

So...do you identify yourself as a charismatic Catholic? I remember when I was involved in our charismatic prayer group, we would be asked to pray with specific people if we happened to be in the area. I occasionally heard of some miraculous outcomes, but nothing on par with your story. Wow!

And the conversion...so important, so Biblical, because with every physical healing Jesus accomplished, there was a call to conversion.


Fr. V. ~ God has been very good to me, even before I was born. :-)

UltraCrepidarian said...

Uncle Jim, that's a beautiful story.

Not to pick a nit, or anything, but why put an apostrophe in God (G-d) and not do so in the latin (Dei:D--)?

Been hanging out with our Messianic Jewish friends?

;-)

W

uncle jim said...

w-
Messianic and still-hangers-on.

A few years ago I came to appreciate the sacredness held by the Jews towards the name of the Lord ... as a personal act, a trigger, if you will, for me/myself/and I, I started hyphenating to make myself "think" about whom I was writing.

So, while not an exact answer to your query, on why not hyphenating the Latin, I can only say I've never thought about it before - I don't "think" in Latin ... I think I think in English and the Latin word has not as yet become as common in my speech and thought patterns that I've noted to trigger it - I'll have to think about that. The intent for me, as noted above, is to make me think about whom I'm writing and give it some specialness, instead of the same old habitual thought, or non-thought, patterns.

Some might think it a little bit exagerated, but it helps me.

angelmeg said...

Thanks for this. What an amazing Pro Life story in so many ways.

Hidden One said...

*crying inside.