Monday, July 25, 2016

My Grandmothers Hidden Gift

This is a true story about a hidden gift that my grandmother on my mother's side left for me. I didn't know about it until many years after her death. It was a special gift, an inheritance, more precious than the finest gold, yet she probably never meant it to see the light of day.

I have received several inheritances before from people I loved. I am not rich but comfortable, never expecting any money from anyone. In most cases I received these gifts well before my loved ones died. They were special gifts.

From my mom and dad I received my Catholic faith which anchored my love for God and peace of heart. From my grandmother on my dads side I saw a deep appreciation she had for Jesus, the Holy Spirit holding and rocking me at night when I stayed at her apartment. My great aunt on my mother's side opened my eyes to see and help those nearby me who were weaker than myself. My great uncle left me the analytical problem solving skills that I have used over the years to make my living. My mother-in-law and father-in-law always welcomed me and showed their love openly. My father-in-law was also a close friend who always shared his wisdom. These are just a few that come to mind.

My grandmother on my mother's side showed my siblings and I a special tender love. She was the first one to stand behind me when I was young and first setting out on my own. Years after she died my father found a prayer hidden inside a holy statue she had left behind. It was a prayer written to Mary and Jesus. I will show this prayer but first I must explain a few things about Catholic beliefs.

Mary is a prayer partner who is a powerful intercessor and is always close to her son. (see my post on Mary, Who and Why - July 6, 2016). My grandmother's prayer was to Mary as intercessor and Jesus as God and savior.

Holy statues are not idols that we pray to anymore than we would pray to a pictures of our family. Holy statues are reminders of holy people, places or events, representing a sculpture's three dimensional prayer frozen in time. When I was young my family visited the New York worlds fair and we saw "The Pieta" by Michelangelo. I was not into art then but when I saw it I was blown away.  It was as if Mary was holding her dead son in front of me and suddenly someone had frozen them in time. This prayer is still etched in my mind.

The first question I have asked myself is why would someone place a written prayer inside a statue? Once the prayer is prayed God will receive it and remember it for all time so what is the point? Maybe she left this so she could join her prayer with the sculpture's prayer. Then every time she saw the statue she would remember her prayer. Maybe it is a message in a bottle, scattered into the world for someone to find. A message for someone to discover when God deemed it was the right person and the right time. That person was my dad who shared this with me. Below is my grandmother's prayer:

"Dear Blessed Mother, Dear Jesus. Thank you very much. I must not grumble. Take care of my dear ones. Protect them always. Keep them all safe and well, both my families!
Thank you, dear God."

My family is full of good God loving people but they are human. My family, on both sides, has ethnic and religious divisions. This prayer by my grandmother asks God to breach all those divisions with his love. She did this out of pure love and this prayer now stands as a blessing for every single person in my family and in my wife's. Every time I see a breach healed I know I am seeing this prayer come to life, just like I saw the Pieta come to life. I stand and remain blessed by my grandmother's prayer.

Now you may ask what is the gift that I will leave? I too will leave a hidden gift, a message in a bottle. I will leave my words, my posts, my written pictures of God I have seen with my earthly dim vision of him. May these posts bless my family on both sides. May they bless anyone who finds them. May they bless me but once, but everyone else to their last generation.

May God bless all of you!

Copyright 2016 Daniel Strizak

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