Last Sunday, Jason was at Mass and received Holy Communion. Later
that afternoon, I participated in his patterning therapy. When we
carried him outside and put him on the hammock, we sat around him
telling him funny stories and I was struck by Jason's beautiful
smile. He seemed so happy and so peaceful.
On Thursday morning, driving out
to the Rooker's house after I heard that Jason had died, I felt
a deep peace. I knew that Jason had been "set free" from
the body in which he had been trapped for the past 15 months. When
I went into his room to pray with Greg and Fran, I saw that Jason
had been looking at the picture of the two angels on the wall when
he died. I said, "He saw those two angels and decided to join
them and is now flying with them -- as free as a bird -- on eagle's
wings." He is no longer trapped in the body that he couldn't
No wonder Jesus said in Matthew
18, when he called a child over, "Unless you turn and become
like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." In
talking with Fran and Greg, I found out that Jason -- this child
of eleven--had a wonderful spirituality from which we all can learn.
He was very comfortable in his relationship with God; he had no
doubt about God's presence. He enjoyed and embraced life as a gift
in a way that was unbelievable for a child of his age.
Greg and Fran told me the story
of when, while looking up at the sky one day, they asked Jason,
"Where is God?" "In my heart, Mom," was his
reply. He knew that God was not away in a distance. God is in here--in
Jason understood that he was (and
we are) meant to be a visible presence of God to others, especially
the poor. During lent, when we had the Rice Bowls and were putting
away money for the poor, Jason would ask how much money he had,
wanting to put all of it in the Rice Bowl. He gave it all freely.
I wasn't surprised, then, on Friday, when I heard that Mother Teresa
decided to "check out" and meet this kid! She too had
this compassion for the poor, the needy!
Jason loved to say grace before
meals; sometimes he was a bit long, because he thought about what
he was saying. His prayer was always the prayer of a grateful heart.
"Thank you, God, for letting us all be together as family--thank
you, God." Always grateful. He loved going to church, even
though he sometimes fell asleep in church! He loved to dress up
for church with a suit and tie, like his "Opa."
Jason had this gift of enjoying
himself no matter where he was or who he was with. He knew the secret
of enjoying and living in the present moment. These words of St.
Therese, the "little flower," remind me so much of Jason's
spirituality: "If I did not simply live from one moment to
the next, it would be impossible for me to keep my patience. I can
see only the present. I forget the past and I take good care not
to think about the future. We get discouraged and feel despair because
we brood about the past and the future. It is such folly to pass
one's time fretting, instead of resting quietly on the heart of
Jesus." Jason knew how to "rest quietly on the heart of
Jesus." What a wonderful gift.
In his illness, Jason touched the
lives of so many people: those praying for him, those helping with
his patterning therapy, his family. He helped us to see how strong
we can be when we let go of trying to control -- and just trust
in God and live day by day and enjoy the blessings of the present
moment. He taught us that people, love, life -- all are gifts --
to be embraced and enjoyed. But do not cling to them. They do not
belong to us.
In Mark 1, the baptism of Jesus
we read, "On coming up out of the water, (Jesus) saw the heavens
being torn open and the spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, 'You are my beloved son; with
you I am well pleased.'"
Jason was a beloved son of Greg
and Fran -- a beloved son of God. Sometime last Thursday morning,
Jason saw "the heavens being torn open" and heard God
say. "Jason, you are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased."
Jason had one of his beautiful smiles and said, "Well, I've
always known that, God!" Then, instead of the dove, the Spirit
descending on him, Jason's spirit ascended--as "on eagle's
wings"--to be with God, finally freed from his tired, weary
Jason, you were truly a gift from
God. You patterned for us how to embrace life as a gift: how to
be totally comfortable with God, how to enjoy and cherish the present
moment, how, in the words of St. Therese, to "rest quietly
on the heart of Jesus."
Matthew 5: "Blessed are the
meek, blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven, blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God."
Jason, you have helped us to see God and live.