This is a reflection I wrote years ago that I came across and I thought was worth sharing again. The Friars have grown to well over 100 since then, Grassroots has now won film awards, the Entering Canaan ministry is done around the country and Lumina has helped countless numbers of people but the truths of abortion do not change…
A few months ago I attended a talk sponsored by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and Youth 2000’s Grassroots Project. It was titled the same as a book, “A Grief Unveiled,” which also relays this story. The talk was about a very special young boy, John Paul, whose life was ended prematurely as a result of an accident.
In the talk John Paul’s parent, Maureen and Gregory, share their walk through grief and the realization that “all things work together for good for those who love God”, even the death of a child. Needless to say, their courage, faith and love, were an inspiration to all, as they invited those suffering such a loss to turn to, instead of away from God, promising hope and healing through His word.
Perhaps what struck me most profoundly was their unselfishness, their forgiveness, and their compassion in the face of indescribable pain. Their sensitivity was profound as they included in their invitation to healing those who have lost a child through abortion. This was truly an insight from heaven, for we too are mourning for our children. A fact society refuses to admit.
As they went through John Paul’s attributes I remember thinking, “I wish I had been able to have memories of my son Joshua. To be able to announce his virtues. His goodness and love”. Then I realized I do. Each time I get up and speak to women in the “Entering Canaan” ministry, I reflect Joshua’s goodness and love. Each talk I give to educate the clergy, therapists or the general public is reaching out in his understanding and compassion.
Joshua may not have been physically present to me in this life, but as Maureen and Gregory meet John Paul in prayer and in the Eucharist, I too meet my son.
I have no doubt it is Joshua’s love, forgiveness and prayers that brought me back to the faith and the sacraments. I have no doubt that he assembles an army of unborn to pray from heaven for their moms on our Days of Prayer and Healing. I have no doubt it is he that inspires me in prayer and joins me in adoration, or that he is the catalyst in my family healing. I have no doubt that we touch with each Eucharist I receive, as he lives and directs me to the Lord of Life.
Today, after I received Jesus, I embraced John Paul as well as Joshua. I wanted to thank him for all the good his parents are doing. I know it is through the intercession of John Paul and Joshua that Maureen, Greg and I are able to do the work we do in spreading the word of God love and mercy. I know that it is because of them that the Lord looks favorably on us in all our human misery ever ready to heal.
Yes, all things work together for good for those who love God, for God in His goodness never lets us down and our sons through their lives, no matter how short, do not let us forget it.