St. Louis Basilica, St. Louis, MO
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
This past week I had to drive with my parents to St. Louis so my father could have an operation to alleviate some of his excruciating back pain. This required that I leave my husband and kids and travel 5 hours to stay for a week so my dad could have testing done before his surgery. We left on Monday. His surgery was scheduled for Friday.
As I now do, I began the trip with my prayer of Bless it Lord, or Block it Lord. There is a certain amount of anxiety my parents have too, so I shared with them my prayer. I know God blessed it.
We made it to St. Louis uneventfully, and one of the first things I always do when I get to a new town is look for the Catholic church nearby. I found one within a mile and a half. I have been told you can find a Catholic Church almost everywhere in St. Louis. The one that I found was called St. Richard. My mom was thrilled with this because Richard was her father’s name and she had never heard of a St. Richard church.
I drove by myself to St. Richard so I could go pray while mom and dad stayed back at the hotel room. I was praying for Our Lady’s help, with all the things going on in life. I arrived at St. Richards and was disappointed to find the doors locked. But a man was coming out of the rectory next door so I stopped and asked if I could go in and pray. He informed me that I could and he let me in the church. He told me they had to start locking the doors because the church down the road, St. Monica, had been burned in an arson fire just after Christmas. I felt sad that these are the times we live in.
He let me in the church and I began to pray a Rosary for my dad’s surgery and many other things. I looked for Mary, and found her to the left of the altar. It was our Lady of Perpetual Help, and I knew everything would be okay since I had been asking for her help. I felt Our Lady pour love over me and speak to me.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Icon at St. Richards Church
Later in the week I took my mom and Dad back to St. Richard. The kind Pastor of the Church gave my dad Anointing of the Sick. Mom and Dad prayed before the Image of Divine Mercy.
Mom and Dad praying before Dad’s surgery
Then on Thursday the day before the surgery, we got a call from the Doctor’s office saying the surgery had to be postponed due to an emergency the Doctor was called to. They would not be able to do surgery until Monday, another 3 days away. My parents were so disappointed. In addition, my husband called to tell me my daughter had the flu.
I went in my hotel room and cried, and prayed. I felt out of control. I wasn’t sure what to do. I felt the Lord tell me as he often does, “trust me.” He imparted upon me that He was in control and to abandon myself to Him. I came out of the room and told my parents there was a reason for the delay and we must trust. I called my husband and told him to take care of my baby girl and I called my boss to let her know I would not be at work for another few days. Thankfully all parties were supportive.
It didn’t take long for God to show me just why he is in control and I am not. I decided on Friday to take my parents to St. Louis Basilica. On the way there we received a phone call from my cousin and my Aunt. It turns out they were in St. Louis for a cancer treatment for my Aunt, and we would get to see each other. Something that given my parents ages and conditions would not normally be a possibility. I thanked God for the Blessing and apologized for always questioning him.
Dad and I in front of St. Louis Basilica
We arrived at the Basilica. My dad has pain when standing or walking too much so I brought the wheelchiar. This made us enter through the handicap access door, and when I opened the door this is what I saw;
Our Lady of Perpetual Help in St. Louis Basilica
She was still helping me. I almost cried. God was teaching me to see beauty even in difficult circumstances. And I must say, St Louis Basilica was stunning and beautiful, but the most beautiful thing that happened was being able to see my Aunt and cousin for the first time in a long long time. Seeing them was beauty in the midst of the hardship of waiting.
On Saturday we went to St. Monica church. They are still not in their main church because of smoke damage from the fire. We had Mass in a classroom. Saturday was the Feast of the Transfiguration. During the homily the Priest talked about how the actual Church of the Transfiguration in Mount Tabor was also desecrated last October shortly before their own St. Monica church was desecrated too. He said they can take everything from us, but we will still continue on because we have Christ. It was beauty, in the midst of the hardship of persecution. After Mass that Priest also gave my dad Anointing of the Sick. (I told dad he was being a Sacrament hog. Lol.) I knew dad had enough grace that he would be fine.
Monday came, dad’s surgery went great and I brought him and mom home for his recovery. Even in small suffering, even in hardship, there is beauty, we just have to open our eyes to it. Finding beauty in the suffering of this life helps us to know and seek the perfection of the next life. That one is the one that really matters.