Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Divine Mercy

A couple caring for their very ill five-month old child wrote the following letter for Divine Mercy Sunday. It is a beautiful testimony to God's love in all circumstances, including the most mysterious.

Anna is a Gift

On this Feast of the Divine Mercy Sunday, we would like to share a few thoughts that have grown in us over the past two months.

Often, we tell our girls: “If we could line up all the five-month-olds (or three-year-olds) in the world, all across the sky, and Mommy and Daddy got to pick any one we wanted, do you know who we'd pick? We'd pick you, every time.”

That's as true for Anna today as it was the day she was born.

We'll go one step more. If someone could have predicted with complete certainty, before Anna was even conceived, that she would have this disorder and we would have to endure everything the past two months have brought, we would, by God's grace, welcome her anyway, every time. We wouldn't trade our time with Anna for all the wealth, power, sex or fame in the world. I don't think she'd trade her time with us either. She's not a tragedy. She's not a burden. Our trials multiplied a hundredfold wouldn't begin to compare to the blessing of her life.

Some people in our culture don't understand that. Some people think Anna's life is worth less than ours – because she might never earn a paycheck or get married or say something profound or have a significant bank account.

But if anything ought to be clear in all of this it's that the world is a better place for Anna's being in it. And if it's God's will to call her home sooner rather than later, it remains true that He willed her existence from all eternity, and her life was an inestimable gift.

That's what children are. They are not a “need.” They are not even a “want.” They're a gift. Loving Anna sometimes hurts, because Anna has an unusual cross to bear, and we help her to carry it. But being Anna's Mommy and Daddy is not a cross, it's a blessing. That it hurts doesn't make loving her a lesser blessing – it makes loving her a greater blessing.

Anna is not a poster child for any cause, even a very noble one, and we don't have any intention of turning her into one. She's an end in herself, not a means to any end. But we felt the need to repeat something Pope John Paul II often said, echoing his Lord Jesus: “Be not afraid.”

If anyone is afraid of welcoming children into the world because of the risk that something like this might happen again – well, that's saying something about Anna, specifically that the world or a set of parents would be better off if someone like her were never born.

We both felt it needed to be said, in the strongest possible terms, that it isn't so. Amid the many kinds of help we have received, we ask for one more: Your prayers for a culture of life where every person is recognized for the gift he or she is.

We would not have the courage we do today were it not for the love, support, thoughts and prayers from our family, church family and friends. Thank you.

Sandy and Kyle

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