When I was younger, birthdays were never a real big deal. With my Grandmother there was an exception as she would bake us a cake and make a bit of a fuss. At home though, we received a gift with pretty much no fanfare.
It is understandable considering most of our family time was spent tearing each other apart.
Today, Lucille, Anne-Marie, my Dad, and some people in our office made a big fuss. Since meeting, and eventually getting married to Lucille, birthdays have become a big fuss. As you might tell by my wording in this paragraph, I am still, after almost 3 years of marriage, having a hard time with it.
What brings great pain to my heart is how my reaction, or lack thereof, to all the fuss causes pain in those around me. Fortunately, they are very patient and understanding. I do hope that at some point in my life that I will get it!
Those of us who have had their entire self beaten into some sort of distorted image will perhaps understand why I behave the way I do on my birthday. We don't have a concept of how we are truly valuable in someone's sight.
And yet, on this day, November 21, we celebrate one of the greatest gifts to humanity: Our Lady. Her parents knew and valued her as a gift. And as such, presented her back to the Lord! This understanding of their child, and especially their love for their child, were instrumental in her decision later on in life to give herself completely to the Lord and His service. She was secure in the love of the Lord, and of her parents.
In a sense, we all belong to Our Lady. She is the ultimate Mother, to whom we can turn when we need someone who does indeed love us and cares for us. She is the one who will affirm and strengthen us by always pointing to her Son and letting us know that His Way is our way and that we should do as He asks (John 2:6).
We went to a clinic to see our little Pitou for the first time. We are about 20 weeks into the pregnancy now, and were looking forward to this first "meeting". Kinda neat birthday present too eh? :D
When we were called in, I and Anne-Marie were not allowed to come with Lucille. We were not given any reasons. The explanation sheet was later given to Lucille while she was in the change room.
I must admit that I was so deeply shocked and disappointed that I was speechless! How could this place not allow a husband to be with his wife during this procedure? How can they not allow a father his first glimpse of his child? The impact of being barred was so intense, that when it was mentioned to me that I could sit in the corner where the play area was with Anne-Marie I said flat out that I would not and that I would come back when Lucille was done. I had to get out of there!
When I came back about 45 minutes later they were still not done. Just before entering the clinic as I was taking Anne-Marie out of the car seat, I asked her to pray for me to be at peace and have tact when I entered the door of the clinic. I ended up sitting in the play area, it was tiny, and playing with Anne-Marie for about 20 minutes. When we did get the call, we went into the room where Lucille was. The technician played around with the wand to bring up some live images and then showed us the 2D stills and a 3D still that she managed to get earlier.
Anne-Marie immediately realized what she was seeing. That was pretty cool. I was impressed with Pitou's features and movement. Pitou even sucked the thumb! Neat!
When we were finished, I let the clinic know that I was thoroughly disappointed in what happened. They gave me a number of what turned out to be lame excuses for their reasons. The last clinic where we saw Anne-Marie for the first and subsequent times, used procedures and training for the technicians so that no other patient data was anywhere near us while I was there, and I was there for the entire procedure, start to finish - today's clinic used patient privacy as the primary "reason" for my not being allowed in for the entire procedure.
Lucille and I discussed our experiences with this clinic. We now realize that we will look for a clinic, or even go back to the last one, that is a little more family oriented and takes the time to treat us like people. Today's clinic was sterile, cold, and we were essentially a commodity that the business used to generate revenue. That is a very disappointing way to be treated.
For my birthday Lucille took me out to Mass, then we went to my favourite Vietnamese Pho restaurant, and then we spent some time shooting pool (we went smoke free July 1 this year). All in all, it was a great day. A blessing to spend time in the presence of my wife who loves me, and treats me as the gift that I truly am for her and others. And that folks, is what I need to learn to get!
Our Lady presented in the Temple, pray for us!
Our Lady, Queen of Heaven and Earth, pray for us!
Our Lady, Mother of us all, pray for us!
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!
O Mary, you desire so much to see Jesus loved. Since you love me, this is the favour which I ask of you: to obtain for me a great personal love of Jesus Christ. You obtain from your Son whatever you please; pray then for me, that I may never lose the grace of God, that I may increase in holiness and perfection from day to day, and that I may faithfully and nobly fulfil the great calling in life which your Divine Son has given me. By that grief which you suffered on Calvary when you beheld Jesus die on the Cross, obtain for me a happy death, that by loving Jesus and you, my mother, on earth, I may share your joy in loving and blessing the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit forever in Heaven.
Thank You Jesus for the gift of this life! Thank You Jesus for the gift of life, and the gift of Your creation to enjoy it in! Thank You Jesus for the gift of my family, and their great love for me! Thank You Jesus for Your continued healing of our hearts and souls!
Jesus, I love You, save souls!
The original of the prayer to Our Lady as well as the image, belongs to the Madonna House Lay Community in Combermere Ontario, Canada.