N.B. – This was originally just a private post for myself but MB thought it should be published. As I noted awhile back in Marc’s Morsels Episode 1, I am taking her advice :)
There are times when I wonder WHY in the world we have been given this situation of having a sick child. My other 6 children are very healthy in every respect. No significant allergies, no major injuries. The closest thing we had to all of this before was several years ago when Gabbynot had to have a few teeth extracted by an oral surgeon as her adult teeth grew in directly behind her primary teeth. She just remembers breathing some laughing gas that smelled like strawberries and then it was over.
Occasionally in my meditations, I ask Our Lord why this one? Certainly not in an angry way…not at all. There is ZERO bitterness towards Our Lord regarding the situation with The Pinger/TDS. I am more curious than anything. Yes there have been, are, and probably will be crosses to bear as a result of his heart issues. But other crosses will be there for the others as well.
Certainly not to put “God in a box,” as He can and will do anything He desires in this situation, but I have thought of these reasons why him…why now..why heart problems vs. cancer, brain, etc:
- My own sanctification. This process has forced me to detach somewhat to doing things my way for work and managing the house. We have had additional expenses, doctor visits and other inconveniences. I would rather spend that time and money on other things. Our house needs some odds & ends repaired. I would like to pay down our mortgage faster…stuff like that that I can’t do right now. More, below, on that.
- My wife, MB’s sanctification. She has had to give up considerably more than me. In November, she spent 23 straight days inside the hospital at his side. This time, she had 10 days in AND had to miss the priestly ordinations for fear of getting sick, or worse, having the baby get sick before going into major surgery. I can’t help but think of the Stabat Mater sung during Lent…My wife has spent many very restless days and nights watching over our little guy…watching the PICU docs and nurses resuscitate him from near-death several times in November.
Fortunately, the things that bothered him the first time through went very well the second time. But other complications arose, one in which she cannot feed him from herself. It would cause the release of fat into his pleural cavity as a result of something called chylothorax. So, he is on a special type of fat-free formula. I don’t think our friend, Delena’s got an oil for this! :-) I equate this to having a nice creamy, high-gravity craft beer like Chimay or Schlafly’s Tazmanian IPA and having to, mid-sip, switch to O’Doull’s near-beer. :( We have a follow-up visit with his surgeon later this week to see if he’s made any progress and if he can return to eating at mama bear soon. What once provided everything he needed, food-wise (and really cheap!) is now poisonous to him.
- Priestly examples. Although the patient care, on the order of nature is most excellent at this hospital, it’s Catholic identity has been brushed aside in many regards. There is a chapel and the Blessed Sacrament is reposed there, but I have yet to see a priest or habited sister (even a “lightly veiled” sister) anywhere on-site. So we have asked our own priests to come visit. They make quite the impression in their Roman cassocks. Many are surprised to see them. Perhaps at the times when they have come to visit, a doctor, nurse, parent, patient, etc., had a conversion of heart that I will never know of this side of heaven. Maybe they cornered one of the Canons on the way out and asked to hear a quick confession. I once heard of a confession at Home Depot by one of our priests when he was there doing some shopping.
- The baby’s sanctification/future. What does God have in store for him? There were several “opportunities” for him to have died when he was a month old. But he’s still here. He had already been baptized and has since been confirmed to strengthen his soul. What is ‘the plan’ for his life? Will he be a proud father of many children? If he’s called to the holy priesthood, will he hear my last confession? Or your last confession?
These are certainly possibilities. There are infinite others according to God’s Holy Will.
This time while they’re in the hospital has altered my schedule. In some ways, for the better…some for the worse. I have a 1/2 marathon in October that I would normally be training in the mornings but I can’t because I can’t leave the other children alone in the morning. But for the better…I have an hour or so more per day that I can use doing other things that I would normally be commuting (as I’m working from home). I have tried to spend that time with the children but also devote more time to my meditation and spiritual reading. I’m reading, again, the Treatise on the Love of God. It is really whetting my appetite for greater devotion and detachment from created things. I am able to practice that a little more easily being at home vs. at the office and out & about. St. Francis de Sales keeps writing about the soul in contemplation…the peace and contentment…the lack of labor of contemplation vs. the laborious meditation. I’m tired of the labor :)…but I am realizing more and more that I’m my own worst enemy in this. It’s no shortage of God, that’s for sure…but a shortage of me. The writings in this great work of our patron have been very encouraging.
In Book VI at the end of Chapter VIII and the beginning of Chapter IX, St. Francis de Sales writes the following. (beware, Puritans *GASP* he is talking about a nursing mother’s breasts :) ). I’ve watched all of my children experience this when they’re infants…at least the stuff on the natural order! (N.B. – I have written this post over a few sessions, most of which was BEFORE the MB was told to stop feeding the baby. I’m leaving this particular extract from St. Francis de Sales’ work in, perhaps so it brings it home to me the continued sanctification/suffering being applied to MB.)
My notes in blue. My emphasis in red.
The well-beloved S. John is ordinarily painted, in the Last Supper, not only lying but even sleeping in his Master’s bosom, because he was seated after the fashion of the Easterns (Levantins), so that his head was towards his dear lover’s breast; and as he slept no corporal sleep there,—what likelihood of that?—so I make no question but that, finding himself so near the breasts of the eternal sweetness, he took a profound mystical sleep, like a child of love which locked to its mother’s breast sucks while sleeping.
Oh! what a delight it was to this Benjamin, child of his Saviour’s joy, to sleep in the arms of that father, who the day after, recommended him, as the Benoni, child of pain, to his mother’s sweet breasts. Nothing is more desirable to the little child, whether he wake or sleep, than his father’s bosom and mother’s breast. (It is one of my favorite things as a dad to let a little one doze off on my chest…I just have to make sure I don’t fall asleep and let him roll off!)
Wherefore, when you shall find yourself in this simple and pure filial confidence with our Lord, stay there, my dear Theotimus, without moving yourself to make sensible acts, either of the understanding or of the will; for this simple love of confidence, and this love-sleep of your spirit in the arms of the Saviour, contains by excellence all that you go seeking hither and thither to satisfy your taste: it is better to sleep upon this sacred breast than to watch elsewhere, wherever it be.
Have you never noted, Theotimus, with what ardour little children sometimes cleave to their mother’s breast when hungry? You will see them, with a deep soft murmur, hold and squeeze it with their mouths, sucking so eagerly that they even put their mother to pain; but after the freshness of the milk has in some sort allayed the urgent heat of their little frame, and the agreeable vapours which it sends to the brain begin to lull them to sleep, Theotimus, you will see them softly shut their little eyes, and little by little give way to sleep; yet without letting go the breast, upon which they make no action saving a slow and almost insensible movement of the lips, whereby they continually draw the milk which they swallow imperceptibly. This they do without thinking of it, yet not without pleasure; for if one draw the teat from them before they fall sound asleep, they awake and weep bitterly, testifying by the sorrow which they show in the privation that their content was great in the possession. Now it fares in like manner with the soul who is in rest and quiet before God: for she sucks in a manner insensibly the delights of his presence, without any discourse, operation or motion of any of her faculties, save only the highest part of the will, which she moves softly and almost imperceptibly, as the mouth by which enter the delight and insensible satiety she finds in the fruition of the divine presence. But if one trouble this poor little babe, or offer to take from it its treasure because it seems to sleep, it will plainly show then that though it sleep to all other things yet not to that; for it perceives the trouble of this separation and grieves over it, showing thereby the pleasure which it took, though without thinking of it, in the good which it possessed. The Blessed Mother (S.) Teresa having written that she found this a fit similitude, I have thought good to make use of it.
And tell me, Theotimus, why should the soul recollected in its God be disquieted? Has she not reason to be at peace and to remain in repose? For indeed what should she seek? She has found him whom she sought, what remains now for her but to say: I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him and I will not let him go.
Thank you all again for your prayers!