I’m Catholic and have been since birth. My faith has always been part of the definition of me. That being said, in May 2010 my world fell apart and the foundations of my faith cracked.
At 8:50 pm on May 26th 2010 my beautiful daughter Rita Marie was born. She weighed 8lbs even and was 21 inches long. She had a head of gorgeous black hair. She was all me but for her nose and her hands – those were her daddy’s.
She was perfect.
But she wasn’t breathing.
A special ambulance came and rushed her to the local Children’s hospital. There she stayed for two days. She died in my arms when she was but 48 1/2 hours old. I sang to her as she left us for Heaven and Life Everlasting. Her daddy made sure of of her destination when, good Catholic man that he is, he baptised her as soon as it was evident she wasn’t breathing.
I’m so blessed to have a Saint in Heaven who is especially concerned for me and my family. But I am also broken. I have struggled greatly since Rita came and left us. On the Feast of the Assumption I went to Confession for the first time in 10 months. 10 months is a long time for sin to build. I didn’t even know where to start and I let Father know. I was expecting to come out with a penance that would take me hours to complete but God surprised me with His Justice and Mercy. He had just the right Priest waiting for me and cleared the line so that I could quickly duck into the confessional without having to wait for ages.
Without going into intimate detail of my fallen nature, Father said two things that stuck with me. The first was that there are two parts to faith: the intellectual knowledge or understanding that God is Real and the trust that He wants good for us. The second thing that stuck with me was my penance and the spiritual guidance received. Respectively, to pray simply the prayer of St. Faustina “Jesus, I Trust in You.” a certain number of times and to say every day, as many times as needed, “Lord give me the light and grace to get through this day.”
I truly feel God’s love and mercy from that penance. He knows I am already hurting and broken and chose to remind that I am His and that He loves me even when I am expecting Him to give me the spiritual equivalent of a good spanking.
I went into the confessional feeling like God had it in for me – like I was His new Job – and came out feeling like Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet.
Our God is both Merciful and Just. He is perfectly both and measures each to us as we need.
Jesus, I Trust in You.