Todays Readings: Fourth Sunday of Lent
“…we sat and wept.” Psalm 137:1
As I write this today, my heart is at peace that I have a brother in heaven. Getting to this place took time. The second I learned he existed, I was instantly full of grief. There were circumstances in my life that led me to wonder if I had a sibling that was aborted but I did not know for sure until my mother told me. I was not surprised that this happened in our family. I was surprised that upon knowing I had a brother who died, I carried grief in my heart like I did for other close relatives that died. I was wowed by this experience and was not sure how to process it. I went to prayer and found solace in daily Mass. I knew as I received the Eucharist that I could be close to my brother and this was a consolation. I wept over not knowing him and the thought of him dying in our mother’s womb. I wept over how he died. I missed him and I marveled at missing a soul I never met yet ALWAYS yearned for.
In time, I moved from weeping to grappling with the reality that I have a brother. Yes, he is not here with me on earth but he exists and knows our family intimately. I yearned to have a spiritual relationship with him through the Communion of Saints. So I began writing to him. My mom knew in her heart she had a son but she had not named him. Since it was hard for me to write to my brother without a name I gave him a nickname and it is only between us. I was growing close to my brother and yearned to talk about him with others and refer to him by name with my mom. I knew naming him was her parental right and so I waited and wondered what his name really was/what she would name him.
The day I learned his name, John Andrew, I was happy. It gave me peace to know he was dignified with a strong meaningful name. The look in my mom’s face was peaceful. We love our John Andrew and he has become a family member we tap for prayer and include in our conversations from time to time.
It was John Andrew himself who I feel helped me stop weeping for him. I have this sense that he is happy and on a mission. My sense is that he is so close to Jesus and this is a tremendous consolation. Since my mom raised me as a single parent, sometimes I have felt alone in my role in our small family. Now aware that I have John Andrew to go, to intercede for various needs that come up with our mom, I have much more peace. I know he sees our family situation much more clearly than I can here on earth and I trust he is bringing our family needs to our Lord. While I will always miss that I never had the chance to have a sibling in my day-to-day life, I am content to have this spiritual connection and hope that when I get to heaven, I can spend eternity praising God with our family saint. I love you, John Andrew, more than words could ever say.