Wounded by Him


When I withdraw this grace of conversation with Me for a time, it is so that you will not mistake it for the product of your own imaginings, and also so that you will not grow accustomed to My words and so, little by little, fail to take them to heart and to treasure them.   ~   In Sinu Jesu


          On the First Saturday of this month of the Eucharist, as the sun began its ascent to its throne in the highs of the skies, Jesus told me He was withdrawing from me. Yet, so soft was his voice that I tucked it away, thinking He meant a time in the past. Later that night, the eve of Feast of Mercy was marked in a temporary but intense falling out with one of my children over their conscience. It was brief, but deeply upsetting for us both. Although the nets were mended that very night, I felt as if something had been torn from me. Did I disobey God in some way? Did I use the wrong words? Did I preempt God’s timing through what I had said? Did I move ahead to speak without praying and discerning sufficiently?

          Retiring for the night, all I asked for was that Jesus not hide from me, but speak to me. That I hear His voice when I needed to most.

          All that returned to my ears was silence. Rising to meet the pearling new dawn, I knew my Lord had not come to my heart in the night.

          As the sun rose to its glory and the eastern winds began their earnest visits, I felt their beauty by the door of my heart. Nothing could pierce this sense of unsettling uncertainty over the events of the old night. In the argument the previous night, my only intention had been that God be glorified. But why did I feel that something had been torn away from me, despite the restoring of sweetness?

          More importantly, why did it not hurt as wounds always do?

          I took the desolation within me to Adoration. Going before the Miraculous Image on this Feast of the Divine Mercy, I dropped my prayer cart and fell to my knees. I gave Jesus everything. Every word, every sharing, the doubts, the right and wrong of it.

          In a silent instant, it was all taken away.

          Every thing in my prayer cart was taken. Nothing was left behind. I sensed the complete inner healing of that strange, unseen wound.

          Yet, my Lord remained silent. No Word did He give me for my hours on choppy waters. Did I do wrong? Did I not?

          About to lift my spirit in question again, I felt an unseen finger write the words on my heart,

Wounded by Him.





Lent 38 ~ They Have Returned


          This had been a week of some physical suffering. I had attempted to be brave about it, and on the first day, it did seem that I would be able to weather it. Then, I was shown the words, Prepare for Holy Week, and so I offered up my pain and worries as my part in my Lord’s passion. The moment I did, everything changed. The suffering intensified overnight. I began to wobble.

          Yesterday found me telling God, I’m so sorry. I can’t do it. I want to but I can’t.

          This time, my mind took over, trying to cajole me into not relinquishing my suffering, but my will had been weakened beyond words. I could not find it in me to join my sufferings with Jesus’.

          I knocked on every door of every saint who had come to mean something to me. I prayed to Mother Mary. Through it all, heaven stayed silent. I didn’t sense that I had been abandoned, but it felt as if everyone I invoked had retreated behind closed doors, except for St. Therese the Little Flower – I sensed a ‘movement’ when I called her name.

          Then, I remembered two I had missed out.

          I hastened to St. Anne. This time, I felt the door yield to my pleading. Just.

          Following this, the name of another saint appeared before me. St. Gianna Beretta Molla. I knew she had been a doctor, and I desperately needed the comfort of one at that moment. I prayed and prayed that she speak to me.

          St. Gianna did. She corrected the medication I was on.

          That night, before I slept, I tried to do some spiritual reading to take my mind off things. But exhausted from work, my suffering and two days of almost no sleep, the words swam before my eyes. I struggled to focus, my eyelids were coming down.

          Then three lights emerged from that mist:

St. Therese the Little Flower

Place your sufferings into the Wounds of Christ

Redemptive Suffering

          I was so exhausted that although my heart acknowledged all three, it was the last – Redemptive Suffering – that stayed with me. I went to bed that night, with a prayer on my heart to St. Gianna and St. Anne that they help me to suffer my pain for Jesus, in honour of His Passion, so that my suffering might be of use to someone.

          What had slipped my mind was that St. Anne and St. Gianna were also the patron saints of mothers.

          I slept well but was awakened close to six in the morning by a dream.

          I was outside a building. I had the feeling that there was water nearby, that it was a waterfront building. There were cars. I saw one, a humble, old car, a father and kids inside. The kids were slightly impatient. I heard the father calmly tell the children to be patient a while longer. I sensed he and others were waiting for something or someone.

          Then, I was inside the building. A priest was just ending the celebration of Mass. For some reason, I went right up to the altar, but to the left of it. Behind the altar, doors opened out to a huge, huge, flowing river. The waters seemed to be even higher than the building I was in. 

          Suddenly, the moment the Mass ended, a great mist rose from the river and began to swirl around. There was something so deeply beautiful in that mist that the congregation collectively gasped at its beauty.

          But didn’t have time to immerse myself in it. For I saw something the others had not seen yet.

That it was not mist.

It was children! Little children. Hundreds of them!

          The children were alighting from a sort of river bus. Each one had a photo. I knew immediately that the little ones had come from heaven. And that they were going to be ‘matched’ to the person in the photo that each one clutched.

          In such a crowd of busy, silent children, it should have been impossible, but I immediately saw the one I sought. I rushed towards him and hugged him tightly as I sobbed. All around me, the rest of the congregation at Mass, all of them parents too, surged forwards towards their children in tearful joy.

          But the little boy in my arms didn’t hug me back as I expected. He didn’t pull away either. He was contented to remain in my tight embrace. But there was something in the way he looked at me. In the way he searched my face.

          It was as if he knew me, yet was learning about me for the first time.

          Looking down, I saw that this beautiful boy dressed in the smart wedding finery of a ring-bearer’s white silk shirt and clean, pressed black pants, had his arm tight to his chest; like all the other children, he too was holding a photograph.

          As I was about to see take the photo to see who it was of, I caught sight of a smaller child. A girl, standing a little away by the side of the altar.

          At that moment, two things registered.

          The altar had been stripped of its white cloth. The altar was now bare, clean unadorned wood.

          And the little one was standing by it, holding her photo and gazing at it with deep, deep love. A love so rarely seen in one as young as she was.

          There was no one else there at that moment. All the other children had been claimed by their parents. They had left. The building had fallen silent. All that remained was me and these two children.

          Stunned at seeing her, I asked the little boy, Who is that?

          Hearing me, the little girl turned to face me. She had my daughter’s eyes. She had another daughter’s soft hair. Little though she was, she had her hair tied up in a low, little bun, soft waves framing the sweetest, purest face.

          She looked straight into my eyes.

          She was wearing her hair just as I always did. As none of my other daughters did.

          In that moment, I knew her.

She was my daughter!

My wee one whom I had miscarried at eight weeks of pregnancy. The love of our lives whom my husband and I had grieved for, far away from human eyes. The precious one no one had known, no one even remembered now, save my husband and I.

          She had now come home.

          And then, I realised who the little boy was.

He was my eldest child!

The long awaited baby I had miscarried after long years of barenness. I hadn’t known if it had been a boy or a girl. Today, finally, I knew.

          Many years ago, Jesus promised me that my children would be returned. At that time, I struggled to understand. Even as I continued to be blessed with children, even as I found exquisite joy in each one, my heart knew they were not the ones who had gone. Many times, I asked God if to long for them was to be ungrateful for the beautiful children we had been blessed with.

          I wondered if it was even right to wait for them.

          Today, on the day the altar is stripped bare in the grief of the Ultimate Sacrifice, God told me I had not been wrong to wait. That I had not been wrong to love to the depths that I had the babies who had died in my womb. That if there was anyone who was wrong, it was those who denied us our grief.

          And those who rejoiced in our loss.

          Today, God fulfilled His promise to me and to all other waiting parents on this 30th day of the month of flowers.

          God returned my children. Just as He had promised.









Lent 31 ~ Entreaty to St. Joseph


O glorious St. Joseph, to you God committed the care of His only begotten Son amid the many dangers of this world. We come to you and ask you to take under your special protection the children God has given us. Through holy baptism they became children of God and members of His holy Church. We consecrate them to you today, that through this consecration they may become your foster children. Guard them, guide their steps in life, and form their hearts after the hearts of Jesus and Mary.

St. Joseph, who felt the tribulation and worry of a parent when the child Jesus was lost, protect our dear children for time and eternity. May you be their father and counselor. Let them, like Jesus, grow in age as well as in wisdom and grace before God and men. Preserve them from the corruption of his world, and give us the grace one day to be united with them in Heaven forever.





Lent 19 ~ Littlest Bells


          We often believe that it’s the loudest gongs that get our attention in life, but yesterday was proof yet again for me that that the most tiny of bells can hold its own.

          It was my Reparation Monday again and I began the day with a prayer that God tell me who or what my daily struggles should be offered for. I briefly imagined that it would be for priests, but swiftly damped that down when I remembered I should not direct.

          When I asked again, the face of my friend’s son came before my heart. We had met at church the previous day and she had told me about recent struggles with her son who seemed to have grave psychological issues. The child’s face had stayed before me through much of Sunday, but I certainly didn’t expect God to ask that I suffer for this child on Reparation Monday.

          But He did, and so I did and I hoped the difficult day and the worth of its tough hours did something for that troubled child.

          I had worked outstation that day and some health issues preoccupied me throughout. When the terribly hot red evening hours came, bringing with it lethargy, I forgot all about suffering for children, even my own, and decided I deserved to put my feet up and rest a bit. Dinner would be whatever there was, kids could help vacuum the floors and the family laundry could stay in their baskets.

          But an email had come in from a dear~heart blogger friend. In it were the words,

Busy with my grandchildren

          I heard a soft chime as I read those words. As I read them again, my own brood returned home from sultry evening farewells. The draining day had taken a bit more out of them than usual and they were not all-about-the-place as they usually were.

Busy with my grandchildren

          Today was to be lived and struggled through for children. It began with my friend’s son and now my own needed me. That was the message of the bell. Getting to my feet, I whispered the prayer I had learned late last year, I Choose Jesus. For that boy, for my own.

          Somehow, I found the needed vigour to attend to the calls of home and hearth.

          I can’t help but wonder just how many of such little calls to reparation through children must have slipped unheeded to fall and be lost in my busyness and in the many, never ending tempests of emotions, day after day after day. How many people, known and unknown, how much they must have hurt, just because I was too caught up in my inner noises to hear the silver chimes that come softest.

          My thoughts return to the Adoration I am called to each day. Being still and silent with my Jesus is merely to run my fingers over the surface of the lake. Much, much more lies below. And reparation, caring for children, choosing Jesus for those who won’t – these and more are all somehow tied to Adoration.

          The tiny silver bells that chime for me go far deeper in Adoration than I realize.




Lent 10 ~ The Only Son


….you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.  ~   Genesis 22:12


          I was not Abraham two days ago. While I had not withheld my son from the trial he faced because that was simply beyond my power, my response to what had unfolded certainly constituted a withholding.

          Willful and calculated.

          Today, I come to the First Reading and God tells me, Long before you were faced with the faith-response to offer up your child, Abraham was, and he chose to break his own heart if it meant choosing to love his God.

          Abraham didn’t try to strike a win-win deal with God. Neither did he marshal an array of arguments to his favour. In simple obedience, Abraham chose to love God – despite what it would ask of him.

          Faced with an Abraham moment – of a far smaller scale – despite all my resolutions, I had chosen to love myself. I wish I could say that I was ashamed or sad or angry with myself, but I wasn’t. I knew I had sinned but even now, I wasn’t sure I would choose Abraham’s Way the next time.

          Then, came the clincher:

He who did not spare His own Son
but handed Him over for us all..     ~   Romans 8:32

          There will be another race today. My child faces yet another test. And so do I. In some ways, today’s race will be harder. I fear for my son. I fear the crushing. I fear the tears. I fear myself.

          He who did not spare His own Son but handed Him over for us all.

          Then, in a strange fluid easiness, I surrender my child to God. I give Him the race and all that would follow. I feel sick to my stomach but I ask for the strength to suffer that small cross. No bargains, no wheedling. I don’t feel heroic, neither am I pretending to be Abraham.

          It just feels like the thing that has to be done.

          I will not withhold my son from God.





Lent 3 ~ While the Candles Are Lit


          A long time ago, I saw these words on a sticker, Did you hug your child today? Although I didn’t heed them that very moment, I did later that night, but it was no longer the same. About two years ago, a fellow blogger saw something over the horizon. For a very brief moment, the veil was lifted for him, and his impassioned plea to me was, Hug and kiss your children.

          Sad days ago, in Parkland, Florida, a grieving Fred Guttenberg  reminds the world yet again, Hold your children tight, because in the school shooting, his daughter numbers among those who will never again hear their parents tell them how much they are loved.

          I hug and kiss my children a lot now. I tell them how much I love them. Some of the older ones squirm in understandable embarrassment, but that only gets a giggle out of me; it doesn’t stop me. Even if they don’t realize it or value it, every child, young or adult, needs to know they are loved. And they need to hear it now because the shadows of tomorrow will not always be made known to us.

          And the candles bequeathed to the world will not always remain lit.




It Begins


          As far as last weeks before Christmas go, this year’s must rank as one of the more unpleasant ones. Something seemed to have caught my by the hair and was flinging and yanking at me almost every day. My mood was all over the place. I could put in two good days of solid work and collapse for the next three. Struggling to keep Christ in our Christmas preparations, I didn’t feel my efforts had worked out well. I was heading to Christmas ragged and tired and there were heavy days ahead yet.

          And then, my Christmas card project with the kids got held up and I found myself highly stressed, trying to get our cards done in time for the morning mail pick-up. Trying desperately not to forget God, I must have said the most distracted prayers. All around me wild gusts of grey~blue winds tore around the house and through the trees. Whenever I slowed down and allowed my gaze to fall upon the words the winds were writing on the tightly-fleeced skies, I had the feeling the angels were trying to get me to slow down and listen!

          But I couldn’t. Despite paring down Christmas chores and tasks to the barest minimum, there was still so much to do and each one had to be done. I flitted from one end of the mood spectrum to the other. I was living this last week before Christmas in exactly the way I didn’t want to and there was nothing I could do to reverse it. I prayed tattered prayers for help and quiet.

          And I felt each one of those prayers get lost in the wild, mad swirling of those tempestuous storm winds.

          By nightfall, when everyone else must have been winding down, our household was in typical high gear. My husband had returned late from work and after dinner, was busily baking his Christmas specialities. The younger children were in a madness-induced state from sheer excitement of Christmas and from what else was going to come out of the kitchen.

          It was then that I gathered them all to prepare their Christmas cards. I had kept it simple. The children went online and chose the images they wanted for their cards which we then set onto cards and printed out. Then they sat down and wrote their messages.

          I didn’t bargain on the level of excitement even that would generate. There were squeals and awe over the pictures, and giggles and good-natured teasing. Youngest to the oldest fell about laughing over something or another. Someone forgot how to spell her name. One of the older ones wrote to his godmother asking her how her Christmas was going to be – when she was, in fact, going to be spending it with us. Another wrote to the Parish Priest, Since you pray for me, I will pray for you too – thank goodness for the good pastor’s sense of humour – he was going to need it!

          Deep in drill commander mode, I was so anxious to have the cards done well and minimally smudged – that my children’s joy hovered at the periphery of my senses.

          Slowly, slowly though, an Unseen hand turned my heart towards those bursts of light. Slowly, the demands of the task melted away. I began to get caught up in my children’s ebullience, their pure~silver laughter catching my own spirit up in a dance only children’s laughter has the power to create.

          As I fell backwards into my children’s glee, a quiet silver began to pool its tendrils into my spirit, filling rough and hollow pockets with a fresh dew, spilling light into tired shadows. It had been a very long and tiring day, we had a house that had been cleaned and tidied from top to bottom and yet looked like it had been turned upside down.

          But a deep languid peace continued its conquest of my heart, and fort after frazzled fort fell before its quiet, serene power as I found myself drawn deeper and deeper into my children’s joy.

          That night, I prayed our Rosary with a difference. My heart found the words. Gone was the tetchy seeking for Heaven’s listening ear. Even when the gusts picked up outside, my heart rested in serenity.

          Hours into a deep, contented sleep, I was suddenly awakened by the sharp light of a voice, Mama! It alerted me that the youngest needed some comforting. It sounded exactly like one of my children but even without turning over, I knew it was not that child, for the voice sliced cleanly through my sleep and yet it didn’t startle me.

          Playing that voice over and over in my sleep, I recalled the strange prayer that had found my heart recently ~

Jesus, speak to me. Let me hear You.

I recalled the dream of the stone house and the reunion of loves. I went back even further, to the aged words of the priest that old day so long ago, when the skies sang but my heart was learning a sonnet of biting sorrow.

          He will grow up, said the priest, but I had recoiled because I could not understand. Because I could not accept it.

          Mama! A voice stilled for years upon years. Till today. Till I turned towards the angels’ Light and sank my heart into my children. I finally heard the voice I love with all my heart, and never once stopped loving nor seeking.

          This sign given to me is an angel’s whisper. Telling me it is the beginning of the Miracle.



Not Dressed

          This year, I felt a strong call to honour the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary – the anniversary of the 1571 Christian victory in the Battle of Lepanto. I wanted to make the kids a part of that too. So, on the eve, when the night had quietened down, I told them about Lepanto and the need for prayers. We decided to honour the feast by withdrawing from the world as often as we could that entire day, each time to say 5 Hail Mary’s for any intention God chooses to press on our souls. While I did share with the younger ones suggestions of intentions they could pray for, I insisted everyone listen out intently for God’s voice to each soul.

          The next day, we did the sets of Hail Mary’s as often as each could. My youngest seemed to be the most enthusiastic. It touched my heart, for that little sunny soul was also the most mischievous of the lot.

          In the afternoon, settling down for a nap, I prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet till I slept off.

          I awakened later, stunned by a dream.

          I could hear a plane struggling to ascend above huge rain clouds. It seemed to stretch its engine capacity to breaking point. Suddenly, I knew it didn’t make it. I heard the plane come down on the side of our house that faces north and the explosion illuminated the walls of our master bedroom. Fearing the fireball heading our way,  I grabbed my husband’s and kids’ hands and dragged them all to another room as far away from the north side as possible.

          We escaped unscathed. Later, we came out of the house and everything outside was covered in grey-white ash. There was a woman I didn’t know by the perimeter fence. She didn’t seem too upset by the plane crash. I asked her if it was an international flight; she replied by giving me the flight number. All I heard was the alphabet B, and the rest of the number faded out. But somehow, it was enough for me to realize it had been a local flight, one of those smaller planes.

          As I was digesting this information, I turned back towards my home and to my consternation, saw that my children had put on their running shoes and were on their bikes and looked to be ready for some fun and games. I was upset that even a plane crash, with almost certain loss of life, could not steer them to deeper compassion for the suffering.

          Then, my focus was inexplicably rained on my youngest, whining over some need not met .

          And she was beyond the age where she needed to do that.

          Opening my eyes, I was shocked over what I had been shown. It was one of those dreams I rarely have where every detail is crystal clear. At that moment, I heard the rumble of thunder. Immediately, I began to pray Hail Mary’s, beseeching Mother’s mercy to prevent any air crashes.

          In the hours before the dream, I didn’t have a single impediment to saying the Hail Mary’s. Now however, every time my heart reached for it, the prayer was lifted out of the way. I kept at it for an hour or so, even trying the Divine Mercy chaplet, but to no avail. Then, I even tried praying different prayers – but connected to plane crashes.

          Nothing worked.

          When I played back the dream, trying to discern for myself what prayer or action was needed, I sensed the various parts swirling before me. For a while, the dream and its parts lost its distinctness.

          I knew what I needed to do. I went to St Joseph, the Discerner of Dreams. I asked him to press upon my spirit what I needed to focus on.

          St Joseph immediately answered me. I ‘saw’ the children once more. And I felt these words written on my heart:

They are not dressed.

          My husband and I have given our lives for our children. We try our best to raise them in the teachings of the Catholic faith. We have our ups and downs. Days when we see God in our children. Days when we sense them going astray. Ours is a home where everything can be discussed, and everything is, so we are aware of where they are at every point in their life. We do not shield them from our struggles. Our kids are not raised in a dream world of light and bubbles. As parents we strive to educate them against the selfie mindset that retards the conscience. As we try to bind the wounds of others, we make our children a part of that too.

But when the king came in to meet the guests,
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?’    ~ Matthew 22:  11 – 12

          I play the dream over in my mind. All of my children were more intent on their own lives. All of them spared little thought for the suffering. But the one who was singled out was my youngest. Despite her joyful nature, and now, her exuberance to embrace prayer, God was warning me that outwardly she and the others might seem as if they were dressed the part but in the eyes of God, they were not right yet.

          Most parents take pride in their children. They think the world of them. My husband and I are one of those too. But our confidence in our children is not singularly ours. It is shared by others – their teachers, our family, our priests too. It’s not a blind pride that gives us a cautious confidence in our brood that they are good kids.

          And yet, despite all we have done, despite the beautiful souls our children truly are, on the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, Mother Mary has come to warn me.

          That my children are not dressed right. They are not ready for the wedding feast.






Lent 33 ~ Blue


For he has rescued the life of the poor
from the power of the wicked! ~ Jeremiah 20:13


          Lord, rescue the poor from the wicked. I say this prayer today for children everywhere. The little ones Jesus loves so much. Those who have no real voices, who look to us adults to keep them safe from harm. I say this prayer today for the young who are taken advantage of, abused and maimed in every way, by the very ones entrusted with the care and protection of them.

          I’m saying this prayer to battle the rising anger in my heart. I’m saying this because I feel helpless. But I don’t want to feel helpless. That would mean I was conceding defeat and opening the gates and letting in the very people I should protect children from. 

          No, I want to spirit away these little ones and flee to the mountains where they are safer. But too many are against me; they stand at the ready to thwart every rescue attempt.

          Their numbers shake me; their vengeance and darkening hardness of heart, even more. These shepherds charged with the care of the young sheep are unmasking themselves.

          They are no shepherds. They never were. They have always been wolves. Lord, rescue the poor from the wicked.

          I pray the prayer over and over, willing myself to believe in the hope Jeremiah has brought this morning. Yet, nothing changes within me; doubt still laps at the shores of my heart.

          I tell my God, Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. 

          Still in a knot that refuses to go away, I go to my window, to look at the waking skies and to leave my prayer in His hands. Rose-tipped clouds ribbon out from the sun’s old bed of slumber. Dully, I rest my eyes on the rousing vista. My heart remains troubled.

          And then I see it.

          A wide swathe of the most still of blues, in the skies west to the birth of day. No one looking at it would see anything out of the ordinary in it. And yet, it was a blue that fell straight into my wavering spirit.

          The instant the blue touched my spirit, I crossed the break.

          Gone was the fear. Gone was the anger. Gone was the doubt. 

          The blue felt like a light to my soul. It was a blue that was still, deep, quiet.

          It was a blue that held in its expanse a strength beyond compare.

          In that searing joy, I knew that the prayers prayed for children by every one of us have been received.

          I know because I know that blue.

Lent 19 ~ The Stars of Past


          In our family, the past lives with us like another family member. Almost every day, the past is resurrected. And yet, we are a family that revels in the present. My husband and I have hearts somewhat worn down by hurts and loss, so when our gaze goes beyond the horizon of what is before us, we are understandably more reticent in our hopes. But our children, growing up and facing life’s curves and dips with their hearts firmly in ours, see no clouds beyond the repose of the sun.

          The past comes alive each day when the kids awaken, and some are still young enough to want their morning kisses and cuddles. My husband and I have pet names for each, and while the older ones might look a tad askance when we use them, the younger ones sometimes refuse to answer to their given names, preferring their pet names. I think it’s like a security blanket for them. Or perhaps those funny little names comfort them that they are something special to us that they are not to others.

          I believe my children have grown ‘watching movies’ of their childhood because of the constant airing that childhood narratives get in our home. Not a day goes by without someone purposefully steering the dinner conversation towards tender reminiscences of  growing-up tickles and mischief.

          Is it any wonder that our dinners can go on to close to two hours?

          These precious conversations have become the soul of the family. As we chat and listen and sometimes, argue with one another, the past sits with us, like an unseen guest. He listens in earnest as my husband and I weave for our kids our sharings and teachings about present day issues, from the harbor of the days and lives gone by. Being very much people people,  we are a storehouse of endless family anecdotes.

          Indeed, we have rich earth to draw life lessons from.

          The words from yesterday’s 1st reading is gentle entreaty for a preservation of these ways of ours ~

However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children’s children. ~ Deuteronomy 4:9

          Those verses tell us that the past must always be allowed its living. Not to haunt or torment and to take life away, but to burnish the life now and that which is to come.

          For just as it has the capacity to bring death, the starlight of history and memories bear also the supreme grace to heal, to nurture, and to light the way ahead.