Saturday, December 19, 2009

Joy and sorrow, sorrow and joy

It's late Advent, just a few days before Christmas. Sheila McShane, CSJP Associate, is visiting from Santo Tomas La Union in Guatemala, where she directs a health clinic that for many years has been a project of the Catholic Diocese of Helena, Montana. Today Sheila heard sad news: a little girl of ten from Santo Tomas has been in hospital receiving treatments for leukemia, but in the process her heart stopped, and today she died. Hard to receive the news of the death of a child at this time of waiting and hopefulness. Hard to receive that news at any time. Just before we learned of Manuela's death, we had shared a long time of silent prayer, holding her in the light, where now she dwells.

As I think of this loss, I also think of the joy this Christmas brings for my friends Alex and Ani, delighting in the first Christmas of their beautiful son and my godson Alejandro. Ani almost died bringing Alejandro into the world, but she is recovering well, as you can see in this family photo.

Joy and sorrow mark the great passages of our lives. May Alejandro grow and flourish. May Manuela rest in God's peace.

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