I want to thank everyone who responded to my request to pray for my mom. Her heart surgery (double bypass) was successful and, although it took a couple of days to get her pain under control, she is making very good progress and should be released to go home early next week.
She was originally taken to the hospital at around 5 a.m. on Friday (November 13) after experiencing chest pains during the night. On Friday evening when I stopped by her room to see her, I was told that my brother Peter (her 10th child) had just left. Peter’s a medical doctor and was present when my mom’s heart surgeon came to the room to go over his plans for the surgery.
By the time I arrived, there were 5 other visitors in the room with my mom: my sister Rosemary (13th child), my brothers, Carl (8th child), Mark (14th child), and Tony (17th child), and my sister-in-law, Debbie. My fist thought was, “Wow, this is pretty cool. Five of my mom’s children are here in the room visiting with her. In our modern world, most women stop having children when they get to two or three.”
I stayed at the hospital until about 1:30 a.m. along with my sister Rosemary and my brother Tony to make sure my mom got through the two hours of testing the hospital staff was putting her through in anticipation of the surgery.
On Saturday, my sister Colleen (6th child) left her husband and children in St. Louis and drove to Peoria to help my dad out. Although he appreciated the help, he made it clear to everyone that no one was going to stop him from being at his wife’s side to assist her. And he made good on his promise. He showed up at the hospital on Saturday morning (feeling better than he had felt the day before). My dad’s like the main character in the movie Ironman, but he doesn’t need the ironman suit of armor to perform heroic feats of strength. He’s always been an “ironman” without the suit.
My sister Kathryn Mary (15th child) was looking after my mom from her place in Heaven where she’s been for the past 36 years. (She was born with a heart defect in September of 1972 and her soul passed into eternity 13 months later.)
Of course all of my other brothers and sisters either came to visit my mom or kept in contact by telephone (I have 8 brothers and sisters who live out-of-state).
One of the reasons I’m sharing this information with you is to emphasize one of the many advantages of a large family. If my mom and dad had decided to stop having children after their 16th child, my brother Tony would not have been with my mom on the day before her surgery to offer her comfort and support. It’s just so happens that Tony (the “baby” of the family) is one of three of my parents’ children who is usually the first to appear on the scene when one or both of them are in need (the other two children who are usually the first to show up are Rosemary and Carl).
Besides my parents’ physical family, there was another family that provided immeasurable assistance to my mother. That family was her family of Catholic brothers and sisters (the Mystical Body of Christ).
Just as I am able to identify my brothers and sisters by the order they were born into my parents’ family (e.g., the 8th, 13th and 17th child), Almighty God is able to identify each of His children by the order they became members of the human race and, at the same time, assign a separate order for those of His children who are members of His Church. He has an intimate love and knowledge of every person He has created, just as my parents have an intimate love and knowledge of each of their children.
So the lady who sent me an email to tell me she was praying for my parents, might be the 2,485,992,376th Catholic since the Catholic Church came into being (when Christ died on the Cross).
And the man who saw me in the Adoration Chapel and told me his family was praying for my parents might be the 2,486,843,372nd member of the Catholic Church.
And then there was the lady who posted a message on the Adoration.com website (the 2,486,884,217th member?) as well as the lady who sent my mom a card (the 2,486,765,243rd member?), both of whom offered words of support and encouragement.
And I can’t forget to mention the 1st member of the Catholic Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was at my mom’s side the entire time she was in surgery, and has been with her ever since the surgery, assisting her in her physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. (I’m certain of this because I’ve seen our Lady’s intervention and assistance during every crisis my mom has ever had to endure.)
In the last part of the Apostles’ Creed we profess to believe in “the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” We know from our catechism classes that the members of the Church in Heaven (“the Church triumphant”), along with the members of the Church in Purgatory (“the Church suffering”), and the members of the Church on earth (“the Church militant”) all act together in unity and cooperation to assist those Catholics who are still struggling and suffering. Together they are referred to as the “communion of saints” (which to me is one gigantic family).
There is great POWER when we act together in unity and cooperation with all of the members of the Catholic Church, just as there is great power when my brothers and sisters act together in unity and cooperation with each other.
It doesn’t take a village to care for a person… it takes two Families – a physical family and a spiritual (Catholic) family.
Thank you to everyone who responded to my request for prayers. If any of you are ever in need of extra prayers, let me know and I’ll offer up a holy hour for your intentions.
That’s the least I can do for a member of my Catholic family.