A Boy at the Cross

Growing up in Cajun country, Good Friday was a day to attend church services at 3:00 and solemnly venerate the cross.  Once the service was completed, families gathered together for a meal (usually a crawfish boil), and then spent the rest of the day celebrating family and the upcoming Easter festivities.  Until I was grown with grandchildren, I did not fully understand the magnitude of what happened on the first Good Friday.  At that time, I chose to spend the afternoon taking my grandchildren to Good Friday services;  there would be no family gatherings for celebration until Easter Sunday.

A few years ago, I attended Good Friday services at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Milton, Louisiana with my nine-year old granddaughter and my six-year old grandson.  The church was dark and quiet.  My grandson, who was a very talkative young man, fell asleep on the pew not long after services began.  I did not wake him.  At the time of veneration of the cross, the congregation was told to remove shoes and walk up to the cross barefoot.  At that time I awakened my grandson and instructed this sleepy little boy to remove his shoes so that we can go up to the cross.  He was a little confused by all this, but I did not have time to fully explain. I got his shoes off, and then we were up and walking up the aisle to kiss the cross of Jesus.

My grandson was ahead of me and in no time at all, it was his turn to walk up and kiss the cross in veneration.  Now he was really confused.  He stood about 3 feet away and just looked at the cross.  My mind was racing….what should I do if he continues to just stand there! I had a real fear that he would turn around and ask me what were these people doing! Embarrassed that the line of people were being held up, I decided I would just walk ahead of him, kiss the cross and take him by the hand with me back to our pew.  No sooner had I made this decision; he finally took a few steps, softly kissed the cross and it was my turn. I really  regretted not talking to him about the service beforehand.  I had much explaining to do on the way home!

The following week I attended mass and apologized to Father.  I told him my grandson had been sleeping and was confused about what was going on during Good Friday service.  He immediately asked me if my grandson was the boy who just stood there looking at the cross.  I winced and told him yes, it was.  Father told me not to apologize; many people afterwards had told him they were greatly moved by seeing this young boy stand and look at the cross before walking over to kiss the wood.  He thought it very touching himself!  I was highly relieved and felt very foolish.  I had only seen my drowsy grandson holding up a line of devout Catholics wanting to venerate the cross.  God had it planned that everyone else saw how we should approach the cross – as a child, full of awe and wonderment.  A boy standing if front of his Redeemer.

Yesterday was Good Friday, 2020.  It will forever be remembered as the day mankind truly walked the Passion with Our Lord.  Never was there a time when the world felt so helpless, lonely and forsaken.  Yesterday afternoon, I spent time with Jesus and reflected on His sacrifice and the sacrifices forced upon mankind during this pandemic.  His great pain was not caused by the physical torture and crucifixion; but by the abandonment of His friends and the emotional torture of viewing His beloved mother’s anguished and deeply grieved face as she stood by Him through it all.

It is impossible to reflect on the passion of Jesus Christ and not acknowledge the suffering endured by His mother.  I can imagine in that walk to Calvary, Mary’s mind was flooded with memories of the baby she held in Bethlehem and presented in the temple; and the boy she nurtured, fed, and loved.  Others saw only a man.  She saw the Christ child that she was blessed to bring into this world; a world that hated and persecuted Him.  Mothers everywhere can sympathize with this holy mother of all mothers.  It was her baby boy on that cross.  I am sure she stood there confused by the angry mob and the hatred spewed out towards her Son, who was all good and loving.

Her heart was pierced just as His side was pierced for our transgressions.

This Holy Week, my heart has been pierced by the separation from my children and grandchildren.  I can do nothing but stand at the cross and pray for mercy.  I approach the cross as my grandson did those years ago – in awe and wonderment.  He is my redeemer.  By His stripes, I am healed.

In the end, this too will pass.  There will be a resurrection.  I will once again spend time with my family and friends.  I will not take that time for granted.  For now, I spend my days with Jesus and His mother.  They know my pain, because they lived it and so much more than I could ever imagine!

LORD BY YOUR CROSS AND RESURRECTION YOU HAVE SET US FREE!

 

 

 

 

Grandmothers’ Gifts

mom

I was young when my mother’s mother passed away.  We called her Maw-Maw.  My only memories of her are of a very sick woman. My mother became her nurse in those days.   I do not remember any conversation I ever had with Maw-Maw.  My mother has told me that she enjoyed life. She loved dancing and visiting her friends.  It must have been very hard on her to have a disabling disease at the end of her life.

My father’s mother, we called Mom.  I was married with children when Mom passed away; but, I still never had a conversation with her.  Mom spoke only Cajun French and what little we said to each other was translated by my parents when we visited Mom and Pop every Sunday.  What I remember about Mom was her reverence to our Lord.  She was a very devout Catholic, always attending mass, saying her rosary and getting down on her knees at night to say her nightly prayers.  It made quite an impression on me as a young kid to see my two elderly and arthritis-riddled grandparents, who could hardly walk, on their knees beside their bed at night.

You might think I suffered in the grandmother-granddaughter relationship department.  You would be mistaken.  The Lord blessed me with two wonderful women in my life who were very much a “grandmother” to me.

The first of these wonderful women was a neighbor.  Mrs. Anita Larson, “Larson”, was a lonely widow whose only child and grandchild lived across the country.  My sisters and I latched onto Larson and we just adored her.  She called us her adopted grandchildren.  Some of my favorite childhood memories are sitting on Larson’s porch, in one of her big white wooden rockers, listening to her stories.  She was always full of compliments for us; the best shot of self-esteem a kid could have!  It was a true grandmother-granddaughter relationship. I never felt judged or unwanted.  I felt unconditional love.  Before Larson passed away, I was able to sit and visit on her porch with my own children.  She treated them the same; they too adored her.

The other grandmother in my life was my husband’s grandmother, Mama-Nu.  Words cannot describe the beauty of this woman!  I first met Mama Nu when my husband and I were engaged to be married.  She hugged me tight and said, “If my grandson loves you, then I love you – you are now my granddaughter!”  What a gift!  True to her word, Mama Nu always treated me as her granddaughter.  She had a twinkle in her eye and joy in her heart.  Everyone loved her and wanted to be around her.  What a special person.  It is 15 years today that she passed away, and she is sorely missed by all of her children and grandchildren.  It is impossible to think of her and not smile at some funny saying or antic she had come up with!

One day years ago, Mom was visiting us and she was able to walk next door with us and sit on Larson’s porch.  She and Larson spoke in French together.  Later on, Larson told me that my grandmother said her only regret in life was that she never learned English and could not speak to her grandchildren.

I consider myself very lucky in the grandmother department.  I know that I will see them all again one day.  When that day comes, I will get to know Maw-Maw and ask her to show me some of her dance moves.  I will thank her for the gift of my mother, who she raised to be the most excellent nurse, mother, and grandmother.

I will sit on Larson’s porch in heaven and finally have a conversation with Mom that we both understand.  I will thank her for the gift of her reverent and devoted acts; which spoke more loudly than any words could have.

And finally, I will greet my adopted grandmothers, Larson and Mama Nu and thank them for making me their granddaughter!  Their love and kindness is what guides me today in my role as a grandmother.

God Bless Grandmothers!

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry