I am sitting here in the sun with James. I asked him what season we are in now and he said “Advent.”
“What does Advent means James?”
“Advent means Sharing, Penance–universal penance.”
“What should we do during Advent James?”
“We should pray, we should pray to God to ask him to give us strength and courage so that the baby does not die in our arms.”
Let me explain a little bit. During mass this morning Father Rick Frechette was telling us about an 18-year old girl that was pregnant. Her father and boyfriend wanted her to abort the child. She did not want to. She was afraid of her father and boyfriend, so she told them she would abort the child and go live in the countryside. But she didn’t, as she didn’t want to get rid of her child, she went somewhere else and hid from her father and boyfriend. She had her baby but had no way to take care of it. The baby was two weeks old and she was desperate. She decided to bring the baby to our hospital and abandon the baby there and then maybe someone would take care of the baby.
But then she realised that once she got inside the hospital she would not be able to abandon the baby because the security would not let her leave without the baby. So she came up with another plan. In the middle of the night she would come and once she got in the first gate she would hide her baby in the grounds. In the night time it would be easy to do this once she got in the main gate. She would leave the baby there and in the morning someone would find the baby.
She stuck to her new plan. However she was too young to consider all the dangers that went with this plan. In the morning, they did indeed find the baby. But the baby was almost dead due to the cold and even though they did their best in the hospital, the baby did indeed die.
Father told us that the reason he found out the details about this mother and this baby is because the next day the young mother came to see how her baby was. Her motivation for leaving her baby was so her baby could have a chance to live. When she found out the baby was dead, she screamed and cried and told her story.
This is the baby James was talking about just now. This is a very sad story to contemplate as we begin our journey to Bethlehem. I asked James, where this baby is now. “Li nan men Bondye”. He is with God.
Our world is filled with sad stories and Mary and Joseph set out on their journey during very difficult times. Take a minute and go back in time and imagine what it was like. Then switch to the reality facing so many pregnant women today all around the world and you will see that sadly in our world today, so many babies are born into very difficult circumstances. I am sure most of you reading this have a ton of worries and stresses. But you know, in order for us to have hope we have to give hope. We have to be the one that reaches out to the one in need. Imagine if that young mother had met just one person that offered to help her with her baby? Imagine how different the story would have been if one person had acted differently! Imagine how many situations we can change just by reaching out to people around us.
James will be 23 on December 6th. For most of his life he has been confined to a wheelchair. James is ALWAYS happy. James is ALWAYS quick to smile and quick to laugh. He is a quiet presence in our home. You rarely hear him say much unless he is laughing at someone or something. He loves to interact with people but he will not seek you out. He loves to sing. When he was small he used to sing along during mass. As he has become older he has become more limited in what he can do. Never once have I heard him complain. Even when he is not feeling well, he will tell you very matter of factly what he feels. He always says thank you when you do something for him or give him something.
“James, what are you thankful to God for?”
“I am thankful to God because he loves me.”
“He loves you? How do you know he loves you James?”
“I know he loves me because he does a lot of things for me.”
“What does he do for you?”
“He plays with me, he plays ball with me, he gives me music on the radio. He gives me presents.”
“Do you love God James? Yes I do.”
“Why? Because he looks at me in my eyes.”
“In your eyes James?”
“Yes he looks at me in my eyes.”
“Do you look at him in his eyes too James?”
“Yes I do.”
“What do the eyes of God look like James?”
Here James laughs, and says… “They are normal!”
Lets make SIGHT our gift for today. Let’s see if we can get everyone to really look at situations around us, to really see how we can help make things better. Let’s move away from feeling powerless and let’s see each person around us as family. Let’s really SEE! Imagine how different would be the story of that mother and baby if someone close to her really looked at her and saw her agony. If someone saw that she was trying to save her baby. If someone had offered to help because in that mother that someone could see herself. Imagine if we could really look at the world and see, really see the many ways we can make a difference.
Most of all, let’s try and be like James. Let’s see God in the everyday activities in our lives. Let’s see Gods eyes as normal. Because if the eyes of God are normal, then we can be sure that the eyes of God are looking at you and me from the normal eyes of every person you meet!
We have stopped looking for God. We are surrounded by God. Let’s start SEEING!
Contributed by Gena Heraty
Special Needs Director