Monday, September 24, 2007

Update as of September 24, 2007

"Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with your Spirit and love.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
that all my life may only be a radiance of Thee."
-Mother Teresa

Hello Everyone,

In this world there are so many beautiful and wonderful people. I've heard it said that when you go through an experience like this God is closer to you than ever. This was clearly true for me as I looked out and saw His presence everywhere. When I looked down from Maria's bedroom window on the night after she died to see so many candles lit and to hear the rosary being said I thought what a beautiful way to honor Maria and her story—by honoring Christ and His Mother. For certain They and Maria were there in our midst. On the following nights, to see the beautiful luminaries lit up in the neighborhoods and then to see the numbers of people who lined the streets after Maria’s funeral was inspiring. I knew God was taking care of us all. Thank you. Thank you to all of you.

Please continue to keep Maria and her story alive in your hearts. For a little girl, she had such a great impact, and I believe that is because she was always open to God's love and graces. Through her, He was able to share them with all of us. Keeping that candle glowing in our lives is the greatest tribute we can give to her and to Christ.

Many have asked us to post Fr. Tim's homily from Maria's mass. It is below.

Please remember all children who suffer from cancer and their families in your prayers.

God bless,
Ed and Megan

Fr. Tim Gareau’s Homily
Funeral Mass for Maria McNamara
St. Raphael Church
July 18, 2007

Mass of the Resurrection for Maria

I would like to open the homily today
with all of us gathered here this morning
together let us express a sign of our love and support
to Megan and Ed, Eddie, Aidan and Blake.

My dear friends in Christ,
our dear Maria’s struggle is ended.
There is no more sickness and suffering,
doctors or chemotherapy.
She is complete and whole once again
as our Lord Jesus Christ has called her home.

She has fought the good fight.
She has run the race.
She has kept the faith
and a merited crown awaits her –
the crown of glory in Jesus Christ our Lord.
She now sings and dances,
runs and laughs,
and maybe even jumps rope or plays duck duck goose
with all the angels and saints in heaven.

The movie that was produced early in Maria’s illness
called Miracles for Maria was just beautiful.
We all looked and prayed and hoped for a miracle – didn’t we?
As we put our focus in that direction,
I hope that we didn’t miss something extremely important:

Maria WAS the miracle through her response to Jesus
and His response to her.

A seven year old girl was called home
in the seventh month of the year 0-7.
Maria was and always will be a special expression
of God’s love and presence to all of us.

Maria WAS the miracle!
Our Lord is calling all of us today
to look to the miracle OF Maria.
Look to the hand of God in her life
and experience His grace shining through it!

Maria knew, loved, and embraced the cross.
She was given a tremendous cross
that literally took the breadth away from
her family, parish, community, and well beyond
what our minds could possibly imagine.

Maria had a small cross –
the one that was in her casket
and is now on her casket.

When she was most in pain,
excruciating pain, I might add,
Maria took those precious little hands of hers
and wrapped them around her cross
and held on as tightly as she possibly could
so as to gather as much strength that she needed
to endure another bout of pain.

The suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross
and the suffering of Maria were joined as one.
Maria knew the cross and now she knows the glory.

My dear friends,
hold on to the cross through your suffering.
Let it give you strength and endurance
as it did for Maria.

This gift of our salvation,
The cross of Jesus Christ,
has brought us to our ultimate destiny –
the resurrection, eternal life, eternal happiness and peace.

We see the Miracle of the cross in Maria’s life,
how it gave her what she needed
to endure her illness to the end.

Another miracle was her relationship with Jesus.

Maria never left Jesus
and Jesus never left Maria.
She was steadfast in her relationship with God.
Maria never wavered in her love for God.
“Would you like Holy Communion, Maria?” I would ask.
With those beautiful eyes, headband in her hair,
and rounded cheeks,
in her gentle spirit she would respond:
“Oh, yes, Father!”

“Would you like to be anointed with the holy oil and prayed over?”
“Oh, yes, Father!”

And then we would pray and peace would always enter in
as Our Lord Jesus was giving our precious Maria
another sacramental hug!
His grace was consuming her soul!

Maria loved Jesus and Jesus loved Maria.
The miracle of their relationship was bigger than life
and was wrapped in eternal love.

I’ve heard it said:
“I’m done with God!”
“What kind of God would do this?”
“Why, why, why?”
The pain and heartache that we experience
is so consuming, so penetrating
that we don’t know how to handle it,
so we lash out at God.
We blame God for this.

The Lord will help us in our anger.
The Lord will help us in our heartache.
He will help us in our pain.

God did not will this for Maria,
He carried her through it.
He lifted her up and gave her strength.
Jesus held Maria in His loving arms
and walked with her the journey that she endured.

So many prayers went up for healing (mine included).
We prayed hard.
We prayed long.
We prayed rosary after rosary.
We prayed often.

God did not abandon our prayer.
God did not abandon Maria.
He guided us along Maria’s path of holiness.
He guided us along Maria’s path to heaven.
He was with her and us every step of the way.

My dear friends,
look to the miracle – look to Maria.
She never left Jesus
and Jesus never left her.
My precious, precious child, Jesus promises,
there are one set of footprints
given to all those who are faithful.

A third miracle is the miracle of the saints.
Just prior to her death, Maria asked how to [spell
the name] of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.
Blessed Kateri is always pictured holding the cross.
Maria was called home by God on Kateri’s feast day
and Maria’s cross was on her pillow next to her precious face.
Kateri means Catherine in her native Mohawk tongue.
Several months ago, after waking up one morning,
Maria asked Megan [if she knew] St. Catherine of Laboure
because she had a dream about her.
In the dream, Maria saw a beautiful stained glass window
of St. Catherine’s image [and next to her was an Indian girl].

Megan asked Maria how she knew it was St. Catherine.
Maria said it was the person standing behind her
in her dream that told her the name.
Catherine Laboure started the Miraculous Medal
because of her love of the Blessed Mother.

We prayed to Blessed Mother Teresa
throughout Maria’s illness.
Megan worked with Blessed Mother Teresa
prior to meeting Ed and taking his hand in marriage
and having a family with him.

What did Blessed Mother Teresa give to Megan?
A miraculous medal!
The very medal that Maria wore throughout her illness.

What young child knows such names as
St. Catherine Laboure or Kateri Tekakwitha?
It all connects to the communion of saints
and another miracle of Maria.
My friends, look to the miracle,
look to Maria.
A final miracle, amidst many more,
is the miracle of family and community.

Megan and Ed,
your constant and faithful love for Maria
touched all of our hearts.
You did all that you could possibly do
and much more besides.
Hold on to that.
Believe in it
and never waver from it.
You shared your story openly with the larger community
and throughout the world.
So many lives have been touched by you and Maria.

Jesus established family and community.
This was his mission and primary purpose.

Thank you for drawing us in
and sharing your story with us.
Maria’s parish community, school community,
neighborhood, city, and well beyond, know that precious smile
and gift of faith that has carried you through this difficult time.

We will continue to walk with you.
We will continue to do what we can in Maria’s memory.

God has given us a precious miracle in Maria McNamara.
We will not lose sight of Maria’s ability to hold fast to the cross.
To remain close to Jesus as He remains close.
To know that we are an important part
of the community of saints as they help us still.
And, through family and community,
we can find the strength that we need
to endure some very difficult challenges that come our way.

We thank God for the miracle of Maria.
As our prayers move from prayers FOR Maria
to prayers FROM Maria may we find strength and hope
that God has blessed us with the miracle of her life
and, perhaps, with miracles yet to come.

God Bless you!