June 18, 2010

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Children are blessings and hope for the future

Shirley Vogler MeisterLast month, my sister, Beverley, sent me an e-mail from my Belleville, Ill., hometown.

She shared precious moments involving a neighbor’s child, Lyla, who will be 2 in September.

Lyla and her mother, Caitlin, were visiting on the large backyard deck that Bev and her husband, John, enjoy in warm weather.

Surrounded by nature, it’s a peaceful, comfortable area. In fact, one summer years ago when I became seriously ill while visiting them, I found their care, home and peaceful property helped my recovery.

Recently, after Caitlyn and Beverley watched Lyla on the deck, Bev shared this experience.

Lyla knelt by the statue of the Blessed Mother near a birdbath, and proceeded to thoughtfully touch Mary’s eyes, nose and feet, correctly identifying each part. Then Lyla gently hugged the statue and patted Mary’s back!

The Blessed Mother statue was inherited from Bev’s husband’s late mother, Kate. Bev felt sure that Kate observed Lyla’s loving gestures, and she was also sure that Kate was well pleased. I knew Kate well enough to know this, too. Kate so loved babies and children!

Bev and I also considered this experience important for Lyla, and we believe that special blessings were given to her.

How fitting that this happened during Mother’s Day weekend!

Tears form in my eyes as I write this column—tears of joy and gratitude that Bev shared these moments of grace and blessings!

How often do we take for granted spiritual experiences like that? How often do we take children for granted?

Early on, I realized that children are more insightful than we can imagine!

In Lyla’s case, this experience was particularly meaningful for me because I have a special devotion toward the mother of Our Redeemer—as anyone can see when entering the Meister house!

Many of my memories are about situations when I deeply prayed, asking Mary for help, especially when my three daughters were young.

In fact, perhaps my daughters would not exist if it weren’t for deeply felt prayers to the Blessed Mother asking for her intercession to God shortly before my husband and I were married.

Why? Because a hometown doctor told me that I would probably not be able to have children. He was proved wrong. My husband, Paul, and I have three loving daughters and two wonderful grandsons.

June 1 was observed as Children’s Day in the U.S. Some places consider June to be Children’s Month. I consider every day to be Children’s Day because they are our hope for the future.

Readers can “meet” Lyla and her parents, Jarod and Caitlin Thompson, who are members of Tower View Baptist Church in Belleville, by logging on to their family Web site at http://thankfulforwhatgodgaveus.blogspot.com. On their site, they share how faith keeps them strong despite the fact that Lyla has a formidable health challenge to overcome. Their blogspot is grace in action!

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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