Today is a Feast of hope, joy, resurrection and new life. Today is a Feast celebrating Christ’s defeat of death and despair as he raises His Mother from the tomb, body and soul, as the incorruptable Ark of the Covenant who gave flesh to God. Mary is the perfect icon of the Church, so whatever Jesus does for Mary, He also does for us…as long as we also, like her, say Yes to His will.
Better than any theological commentary I could aspire to give today is the hope-filled, honest and tender witness of a father eulogizing his 12 year old little girl who died of cancer. His daughter’s name is Kylie. No father should have to eulogize his daughter, but Kylie’s dad proves that in Christ, even in the face of great tragedy, hope never dies. As I listened to his testimony, I could feel the love that must have filled Kylie’s home, and imagined that when she died and came to the Father’s House, it surely would have felt very familiar.
My thanks to seminarian Patrick Russell, a cousin of Kylie, who shared this youtube link with me. Patrick told me with utmost sincerity that Kylie was the most real and profound witness to Christ he had ever known. He also said that the impact of her witness played a significant role in his desire to be a priest, called lay down his life for God and for others.
I’d also like to (re)share a story I posted back in May. After my 4th child was born, a priest said to me in Confession: “Isn’t it wonderful God has entrusted His children to you for a such brief time?” I thought, “Wonderful? Stressful!” Then he offered some powerful advice:
Your mission is to help them know and love Him … God wants parenting to be a joint venture, which means you have to ask Him all the time what He wants for them. Ask why He created them, what their life-mission is. What gifts He’s given them. How best to remedy their sins and weaknesses … Teach them how to hear His voice. And the best way to do that is for you to be a good son of the Father. Listen to His voice. Be close to Jesus who shows you the Father … You don’t possess your children. They’re not yours. They’re His. Your greatest act of love is leading them back to their Father … The best news you could ever hear on Judgment Day is that, when your children finally saw the face of God, they blurted out: “You remind me of my dad!”
No doubt in my mind, those would have been among Kylie’s first words before the face of God.
Enjoy these 12 minutes of beauty: