Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Like a Dream: A Morsel




I awoke from what seemed like a dream…a morsel of the Sacred Host remained on my tongue.  It was like either an angel, maybe my guardian angel, had “fed” me Holy Communion, or it was Jesus, Himself.  I felt a spiritual presence. In biblical times, God and His angels visited mankind often in dreams.  To this day, though it was likely a dream, I leave open the possibility my Lord came to me that night – just as I receive Him each Sunday.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Humbled




 

I am humbled; I am in awe, kneeling but five feet from the monstrance – the vessel used to publicly worship and honor the Eucharistic Jesus Christ. Rays as of purified gold radiate and surround the body of Jesus within the monstrance.  It is like the Transfiguration of Christ – arrayed in dazzling brightness.

Since childhood, I have always been close to Jesus, especially in the Eucharist.  I recall my First Holy Communion picture as I waited to receive the Lord for the first time. In the early ‘80’s, I quickly rose out of bed at 3 a.m. to converse with and adore my Savior in Adoration.

The late Father J. Hardon, S.J. (1914-2000), catechist and prolific writer, spoke about “The Real Presence” in the Eucharist.  He explained, “We are to believe that the Eucharist is Jesus Christ – simply, without qualification. It is God become man in the fullness of His divine and human natures, body and soul, and in the fullness of everything that makes Jesus, Jesus.”

Dr. Tom Curran is the Director of Trinity Formation Resources, Federal Way, WA.  He proclaims in a four-part series, To Celebrate Worthily-Entering the Drama of the Mass, “As the priest’s hands are extended over the bread and wine, the Power of the Holy Spirit comes upon these gifts and transforms them into Christ’s body and blood.  Jesus entrusts all power to the priest during the Consecration…drawing the past of the Last Supper to the Present…actually, the Last Supper at the ‘Present’ moment…including His Death and Resurrection.”

Historically, a (1997) book written by Father Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., and James Monti, In the Presence of Our Lord, examined the early Church Fathers, Doctors of the Church, and the lives of the Saints.  They presented significant evidence indicating Christ’s Presence within the Eucharist.  “The Great Presence,” which makes a Catholic Church different from every other place in the world, is really a most wonderful experience to see the Divine Presence looking on.    “I never knew what worship was,” said Cardinal John Henry Newman of England (1801-1890), “until I entered the Catholic Church.”  If a person is obligated to grant that God created all things out of nothing, “why doubt His power to change the substance of bread into the Body of His Son?”

“The Christ who faith tells me is here…is Jesus of Nazareth – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.  The Jesus of the Eucharist is the Savior of the world.” –Father Benedict Groeschel.

Dr. Curran summarized, the Mass is the “most dramatic event we will ever witness in our lives.  The Lord, Jesus comes literally into our being – into the very depths of our hearts.  Upon partaking of our precious Lord and Savior are the spoken words, ‘The Body of Christ…Amen.’  (This is) fascinating!”

 

--Originally published in Marysville Globe, May 02, 2007

 

 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Patience, Perseverence, Prayer

PATIENCE, PERSEVERENCE, PRAYER
 
 
     For over 20 years, I had this indescribable feeling deep within my being, aching to see my birthmother.  I longed to meet her before she passed away.   This “feeling” never escaped me.  I wanted to know, touch and hug her.  I always knew God heard my prayers.  Might he also answer them?
     I began searching for my birthmother in 1981.  Washington Adoptee’s Reunion Movement (WARM) was the official agency within Washington State to unseal court records.  I learned of my “non-identifying information” through WARM.
     My birthmother was 21 at the time of delivery.  She had brown hair and blue eyes.  Nine siblings were in her Catholic family and she was of German ancestry.  I discovered my grandmother had tuberculosis and died of Alzheimer’s while my grandfather had heart problems and died of cancer. 
 
 
     Lastly, I learned my conception was due to rape.  The Confidential Intermediary for WARM stated I likely would not meet my birthmother.
     That “feeling” to locate my birthmother returned years later after raising our four children.  Other members of my adoptive family had located their birth relatives.  It was my turn.
     I tried searching several times between 1999 and 2002.  I went back to WARM for an update on my case.  Unfortunately, there was little new information.  However, I learned my birthmother’s name was “Ann.”  Additionally, I discovered both her parents and two brothers had passed away.
     Still unsatisfied, I initiated another search paying nearly $500.00 to an out of state agency.  I yearned to finish this journey which started years ago; it was consuming me.
     Unfortunately, it appeared the investigator never stepped foot into Washington State.  This agency provided no new information.  I felt disappointed, angry, and downright mad!
     On another occasion, I went directly to the Judge to plead my case.  Still, the answer was the same: “no contact with the birth family.”
     Twice, I sought prayer as the emotional roller coaster was taking its toll.  I felt God’s holy presence on both occasions.  He reassured and strengthened me on my search journey.
     In June 2002, I wrote a newspaper Letter to Editor pertaining to adoption and foster-care.  Surprisingly, the letter printed on July 3, 2002.  Two weeks later, I received a note from another private investigator.
 
    “I am certified by the Court to open sealed adoption files...and I would be happy to assist you,” she wrote.  Emphatically, I said, “yes.”  I went to her home to formalize a fifth search on July 23, 2002, which was three days prior to my birthday.
     This time felt different.  Within three weeks, I received an email from the investigator, indicating she located my birthmother and her siblings.  Excited, I quickly and prayerfully wrote introductory letters to the seven family members, addressed and mailed them. 
     Within days, I received an email on August 12, 2002 from Ann’s youngest sister.  My aunt wrote in her excitement, “I ‘m shaking so bad my fingers are hitting more than one key at a time.”  She, too, had wanted to search for me, but never knew where to start.
     We exchanged several emails while getting acquainted; we agreed to meet three days later at my aunt’s home for dinner.  I could hardly wait!
     Dinner was Thursday evening, August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Following dinner, my aunt presented me with a family tree portfolio made especially for me.  It contained a picture of my birthmother.  Silent, I stared at the person who gave birth to me: Ann.
     We discussed the possibility of meeting Ann over the next several months.  However, her overall mental health and welfare was a very important family concern, making it difficult and questionable for me to meet her.  Yet, I understood and shared those same   concerns.
     Additionally, I learned of several stories of Ann’s most difficult journey through life.  Ann was born on June 21, 1934 at home in Aberdeen, South Dakota.  She
 
hit her head on the bedpost after passing through the birth canal.  This injury caused symptoms similar to epilepsy.
     Another story: Ann fell and injured her head during school recess.  Symptoms began which suggested she was “different.”  Ann was also in a state mental hospital due to her condition.
     At age 20, Ann was supposed to baby-sit for a family of three young children.  The father picked her up for the babysitting.  Returning her home that evening, he committed an ugly, grievous, solitary act of rape, abusing her and taking away her most precious innocence.
     Consequently, Ann became pregnant following the rape incident; she completed her pregnancy at a local Salvation Army maternity home.  “Baby Mark” was born on July 26, 1955.
     Finally, the day and time had arrived for me to meet my birthmother, Ann.  Anxious and overflowing with excitement, I met her during a small family gathering for pizza and ice cream at her brother’s home.
     I desired to see Ann and greet her with a warm, loving hug.  Instead, I walked through the front door, quickly shook her hand and sat down.
     It was special being in Ann’s company.  She appeared simple in her own unique way.  She was quiet, tall and slender.  She knew me only as a “friend of the family.”  I watched her as she ate the delicious ice cream one spoonful after the other.
    
 
 
Ann lives with two other women in a comfortable group home.  While she once recalled “being pregnant,” she does not have immediate knowledge that she is a mother, grand-mother, and great-grandmother.
     I am grateful my birth family welcomed me.  I am thankful for my “Mother,” Ann!  I am also thankful for my wife, Donna, and our four children, extended family and friends; all have stood with me in prayer and loving support.
     My search journey included patience, perseverance, and prayer, sprinkled with faith hope, and love.  Thank you God for the gift of adoption!