Endurance: God will answer our prayers
Yves chose to emigrate to the United States from his impoverished homeland of Haiti eight years ago, not an easy decision.
He had a wife, three children, and another on the way. Their plan was for him to settle in the U.S. and immediately begin the process to bring the family to join him. He knew from the beginning it would involve a long separation, as he had waited nine years himself for a visa.
Last month the family's long wait ended after eight years and about $20,000. To save airfare, I drove Yves three hours to a big-city airport to pick up his family of five. On the way, I wondered aloud, "How many people would have endured all those years to get to this moment?"
Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10
in Ordinary Time
(Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007)
Psalm 40:2-4, 18
In Haiti Yves taught school. In the U.S. he works two or three minimum-wage jobs at a time to support himself and his faraway family. He scrimped to make an occasional trip home. And at each step in the agonizingly slow visa application process he paid more fees. He battled depression brought on by loneliness, overwork, and stress.
As we approached the airport, he answered my wondering with a broad smile. "I knew it would be a long time, but it was not for me but for my children, so they will have a good life."
The family reunion at the terminal was breathtaking in its joy: the squeals, the hugs, the teary laughter. Yves and his 22-year-old son crammed nine large suitcases and all eight of us into the seven-passenger van. As I wheeled the journey-weary, happy family through the airport exit, there was a brief silence as the magnitude of the moment sank in.
Then, Yves began to sing. Momentarily his wife Suzanne, sitting in his lap, joined in. Then, from the backseat came their son's baritone, followed by the sweet voices of the little girls. They sang two verses of the song and faded gently to the end when Yves spoke the words of the refrain: "Mesi, Bondye," Creole for "Thank you, Great God."
When have you had to endure a long wait or trying times?
How were you aided by faith and trust in God?
Thinking of Yves' trust in the ultimate providence of God, I understand the faithful endurance of Jeremiah in this weekend's readings and the psalm that described his deliverance: "The Lord heard my cry . . . and he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God. Many shall look in awe and trust in the Lord."
This column is offered in cooperation with the North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.
This week's readings
Week of August 19 - 25, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I: Jer 38:4-6, 8-10
Reading II: Heb 12:1-4
Gospel: Lk 12:49-53
Monday, August 20, 2007
Memorial of Saint Bernard, abbot and doctor
of the Church
Reading I: Jgs 2:11-19
Gospel: Mt 19:16-22
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Memorial of Saint Pius X, pope
Reading I: Jgs 6:11-24a
Gospel: Mt 19:23-30
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Reading I: Jgs 9:6-15
Gospel: Mt 20:1-16
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Reading I: Jgs 11:29-39a
Gospel: Mt 22:1-14
Friday, August 24, 2007
Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle
Reading I: Rv 21:9b-14
Gospel: Jn 1:45-51
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Reading I: Ru 2:1-3, 8-11; 4:13-17
Gospel: Mt 23:1-12
Pope's Prayer Intentions
August General Intention
Those suffering inner turmoil. That those who are suffering inner difficulties and trials may find in Christ the light and support that leads to authentic happiness.
August Mission Intention
Church in China. That the Church in China may grow in unity and in visible communion with the Pope.
Prayers for the summer season
ALMIGHTY and most merciful God, before our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned, they lived and were very happy in the Garden of Eden. There, as we read in the Holy Book, You would walk with them "in the afternoon air," and they heard the sound of You in the garden.
God, ever since then, a garden is a holy thing. You still walk there with us in the afternoon air. You walk with those who can see You and Your generous and merciful providence working for us in the green things that grow and the trees that blossom and bear such rich and nourishing fruit.
Bless all our gardens and orchards in this broad land of ours, dear God, and give us rich and plentiful harvest. Help us, as we go about our work here, to see You in Your loving kindness, working for us and with us.
Help us to do Your will at all times. Then, some day, we will walk with You and Your Son, and our dear Mother Mary, down the paths of another Garden, far better, far more beautiful than even the Garden of Eden. Amen.
From the National Catholic Rural Life Conference
ALMIGHTY God, we are in need of rain. We realize now, looking up into the clear, blue sky, what a marvel even the least drop of rain really is. To think that so much water can fall out of the sky, which now is empty and clear! We place our trust in You. We are sure that You know our needs. But You want us to ask You anyway, to show You that we know we are dependent on You. Look on our dry hills and fields, dear God, and bless them with the living blessing of soft rain. Then the land will rejoice, and the rivers will sing Your praises, and the hearts of men will be made glad. Amen.
From the National Catholic Rural Life Conference Rural Life Prayer Book