When I was a young child, I had wanted to be a martyr like my favorite saints (specifically Agnes and Agatha). I had a small “chapel” that I built under the stairs to spend devotional time with the Lord, and I would spend hours in there each day after school, praying. Then, my older brother informed me in order to become a martyr, I would have to die. I remember crying, but being resolute – I would be willing to die for Jesus if that is what it took to be a martyr like Saints Agnes and Agatha.
Weeks ago, on one of the many nights I was still awake long after Man Cub and the dogs had fallen asleep, I was thinking of the situation in the Middle East, with a specific group persecuting those of Christian faiths. I remember wondering now, as an adult, if I would still have the fortitude of faith to die for Jesus. As I didn’t wonder too long about that, my mind quickly went to whether or not I would risk abandoning Jesus if someone was threatening Man Cub’s life?
Last night, after prayers with Man Cub and after he was fast asleep, I crept to the computer to write an article for a blog to which I contribute. After completing the first draft, I checked my Facebook (FB) feed, since I was still wide awake. Several FB posts on my feed discussed the persecution of Catholic Christians in Syria lately, specifically members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. The report is that the adults who are not denying their faith are being decapitated, and their children are being burned alive in cages.
I am going to say that I can neither confirm, nor deny, the validity of these reports. However, it give me pause to consider:
I cannot fathom what Christians in Syria and Libya are experiencing. As a mother, I can’t even begin to imagine the depths of pain that those parents are experiencing as they face a no-win choice: give up your beliefs to (possibly) spare your child, or watch your child burn to death.
Last night, I felt so sick and sorrowful, I felt inspired after reading the reports to pick up my Rosary and do the Divine Mercy Chaplet. It’s been a while since I have done that particular devotion, given to St. Faustina by Our Lord. Because I couldn’t get through the prayers verbally, I pulled up the following YouTube video of the Divine Mercy Chaplet in song, and just prayed along internally with that – here’s the link to my favorite way to say this Chaplet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5TGfisOKMM
All I have been able to think about since I woke up this morning is how desperate I am to not take Man Cub for granted at all – how I want to treasure each and every little thing he does, even if it is getting on my very last nerves!
So, if I have parents reading this today, I urge you to take a moment to savor your little kids – even if by “little,” they are really chronologically older than others. Here in the U.S., we can get so wrapped up in our commitments to others, that I think it is easy to forget the aspects of kids that make them the little people they are: the testing of boundaries, the assertion of independence, the emphatic insistence that they have attention (many times, by any means possible), and the emerging of, or formalization of, their personality.
Take a moment today to remember our brothers and sisters in Christ in Syria and Libya.
Take a moment today to join me in holding on to your kids a little bit longer and a little bit tighter. I know I will be holding on to Man Cub a little bit tighter…
And, regardless of your faith denomination, pray.