“Mary treasured all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
Treasuring the life of her child is what a mother does. At this culminating moment in our lives, as you prepare for your Confirmation, this letter is a reflection, a letter of love, encouragement and appreciation, and it is a prayer.
Thus far I have formed you in our holy faith. I have raised you in the Church, according to my promise in my wedding when I married your father. I took you and your stuffed animals, and, later, you and your friends, to mass regularly. I taught you your Catechism. I have prayed with you, and for you, daily. It has been my goal to share with you the day in and day out of living a prayerful, intelligent, faithful and active Catholic life that is true and from the heart. I have tried to give this to you as a gift. It will always be there for you. Should you wander away, you will still have a Catholic heart, and the Church will always be there for you to come home to. I know that you are one who knows how to really pray, and does. You know in a deep way, that no matter what, Jesus is there for you. You will know that in all the years to come.
We have made this journey together as a family. We still will. But you have reached a new place in your journey now. You are choosing the faith for yourself, and God the Holy Spirit is also choosing you. He will be showering His gifts of glorious grace and strength on you, pouring them into your heart with all sweetness and generosity. You will no longer simply walk with your household family of faith. Now you will find your own place in the Church, and walk with God’s wider family. You will discern and live your vocation. You will receive, and then give, your own gifts for the Church and for the world. This fills me with awe. I can’t believe we’re here already.
I pray that in the power of this Sacrament of Confirmation, that you will know the deep inner healing of the Holy Spirit and “sweet anointing from above.” I pray for divine inspiration for you, a cool new breeze in your soul, and a new risen life with Christ as you receive all the gifts and fruits of the Spirit with power. With holy spiritual fire, may you be renewed and consoled.
Your faith is strong by anybody’s standards, stronger than that of people much older than you are. From a little girl you were deep and prayerful. As your sister used to say, “Mama, she prays like a St. Faustina or St. Therese.” You have always had a heart for God and the deeper things.
May you find, through this your new journey as a young woman of faith, that the Church is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, that the further you travel into the Heart of the Bride of Christ, the more vast it becomes. There is no end to her treasures and mystery.
“May the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” (Col. 3:16.) May you know all that is good and perfect and true. May you grow in spirit, and in union with Christ. May you discern at every turn, the perfect will of God which “is love and mercy itself.” (St. Faustina)
I pray that you will always “set out into the deep” (St. JP II) and fish in the deepest depths. You have the natural ability for this. That’s why Daddy chose that verse from Sirach for you when you were born, “How high is the sky, how deep is the ocean, how profound is Wisdom.” (Sir, 1:3) That’s you.
You have many concerns right now, many losses and griefs and fears. Some of them are because you are an intense 15 year old girl. Others are because this has been the hardest year of your life. With grace and faith you have handled great hardships. With amazing compassion for one so young, you helped take care of the people you lost to illness in this last year. You trusted God, bringing Him, His love and grace to others by your faith; shown in your words, your songs, and most of all by your brave and tender service to the dying.
I am very proud of my girl with a heart like the ocean and a mind like the sky; my girl with a Catholic heart for justice and mercy and the love of God, who defends the weak and speaks for the voiceless, who comforts the sorrowing, who loves with all her heart and soul. I am proud of my “young philosopher and theologian.” I am so pleased that you always stand up for the faith so well. I am so glad that your life shows that a young woman can at once be authentic and unique and be faithful to her religion. You have never been a “cookie cutter” Christian, but you have been a great one. I love that.
Now you and I have come to an inner room of your soul and I must stop at the door. Only the Holy One can enter here and fill it with glory. We pause. Look around you. Here are a “cloud of witnesses”, (Hebrews 12:1) men and women with glittering eyes and radiant faces. As we look at them, we see they have treasure chests in their hands for you. We see who they are and that they bear you proud smiles and look lovingly on you.
Do you see Granny? What does she have for you there? I think I see the tradition of study and knowledge of the faith, loyalty, strength, courage, wisdom and love, a faith that grows and blossoms like a rose and feeds your soul with home grown fruits.
Your great grandmother stands behind her, remembering her own day of Baptism and Confirmation. She brings you her humility on that day when the priest said, “What do you ask of God’s Church?” and this powerful personality, always so strong and independent, said, “I want to love and be loved.” She brings you peace.
And here is Daddy. He has tried to be patient. He is practically jumping for joy at this step you are taking, at this journey you are making. You are more than he ever dreamed of. You are his pride and joy. He offers you the joy of the faith and the importance of family, faithfulness, sacrificial love, and love of the Sacraments and of Jesus and Mary. He says, “Plant the faith of your fathers and mothers deep inside and it will be your treasure now and forever.”
Your dad will always intercede for you and watch over you from Heaven.
Bob has been shyly waiting a long time, “Rosarita.” He is the only one who has not brought a chest to open before you. He knows you will understand. He brought you a guitar, and some roses he has been hiding behind his back, and a birth certificate. It’s a new certificate that God made for Bob to give to you. It is a very special one. These are not given to just anyone. It’s luminous and golden with beautiful writing, with roses on it. Bob had St. Joseph bless it before he came to see you. It says, “You are my daughter, Roise Mariah, and I am your dad.” It has been signed by many witnesses who know about the special love between you and your step dad, Bob. They saw how you stood by him to the end. They know how he gave himself to you to be your own when he married me and became part of our family. That story will be told in Heaven again and again. Everybody loves that story. I love it too. It is one of Jesus’ favorites, I think.
Bob, too, will always intercede for you and watch over you from Heaven.
If you think about it, Jesus had a father like Bob, too, a special father, Joseph, who God gave Him when He needed a dad he could hug. Joseph taught Jesus everything and was there for Him, though he died early. Now Jesus and Joseph are always together in Heaven. And that’s a good story too.
There are many other witnesses here and now they smile and nod and wait with you. These are your ancestors- your ancestors in faith, your ancestors in blood, your angels, your Saints, Francis and Therese, and all your family and friends, earthly and Heavenly. Everyone is here. Waiting.
Prepare your heart generously. “Enlarge your tent” (Isaiah 54:2) because the Lord, the Holy Spirit, is about to come and inhabit your inmost soul with His presence, glory, light and LOVE.
And after all that glory you will find me still here. And we will continue as sisters in faith in a whole new way.
Don’t forget I am still the one with the money and the car and all that. And you still have to mind me for a few more years.
I love you more than the stars in the sky, more, oh more, more than I can bear. Just imagine. God loves you even more than I do.
Thank you for being my baby. You will always be my baby. And even if you weren’t my baby, “I would have to run away and be with you sometimes.” 😉
Epilogue: Today Roise (pronounced “Rose,”) is still a talented guitarist, singer, song writer, and daughter of the Church. Recently she has become the dedicated young mother of Arelani.