From today’s first reading, which is what we heard on Sunday…
Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God. Isaiah 40:1
Nora, Molly’s mother, shared a story with me the other day and gave me her permission to write about it. This is a story about hope and light and waiting – all elements of Advent.
On Saturday Molly and Nora were at the 4pm mass for the Second Sunday of Advent. Molly was in a fine fleece hoody, so bright and colorful. After mass, Fr. Pat anointed Molly with the Sacrament of the Sick. Just thinking about the beauty of anointing, I once more think of the opening line of the Isaiah reading and giving comfort to God’s people.
Apparently after being anointed, Molly felt like she had been bestowed with super powers! And indeed she had been; the hand of the Lord had been upon her in a new way. Prayer and sacrament are not magic – so let us be very clear about that. No, her anointing, in church, with her mom and others around her is a visible sign of Christ in our community. The power of prayer and love is amazing.
And it is not lost on me that today’s psalm response is, “The Lord our God comes with power.” Something that delighted me about this story is the “super power” of Molly’s imagination and her childlike faith; how she, as a 6 year old, understands what happened through a connection with God. Not only did she feel like she now had “super powers,” not a bad thing for a 6 year old who is facing surgery to experience, but she liked that Fr. Pat had used his “salad dressing oil.”
Now some might shake their head and find that irreverent, but I don’t think so. Molly is 6 and to her, oil has a particular meaning… Salad! That is our catholicity and our sacramental life – to find God present in signs and symbols of our daily lives. And for Molly, the Oil of the Sick, was like salad dressing oil. God is with and among us everywhere.
Today Molly will have brain surgery. I am praying for her and I know that you are too. At 6, what can she understand about this? I am just thinking that the whole thing must be kind of scary at some level. And what about Nora, her mom? Her grandparents Ann and Ron? As well as other family members… I’m sure that this is scary for them. I can’t imagine what any of them feel like.
Yet they have hope, even if it is just a speck of light. And they can have comfort, from God, in the form of our prayers and good wishes.
In closing, I look at the today’s Gospel from Matthew – its very last line at that… ” it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”
Amen and amen and amen.
Today is about hope and about light and about waiting – in our Scriptures, in our lives and in a most particular way, for Molly and her family. Please pray for Molly and her family today. If you are willing, leave a comment and I will make sure that her family sees whatever you send in prayer!