Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On Padre Pio's feast day

Stay With Me, Lord
Padre Pio's Prayer After Holy Communion

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.

Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life and without You I am without fervor.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light and without You I am in darkness.

Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.

Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You.

Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much and always be in Your company.

Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.

Stay with me, Lord, as poor as my soul is I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of Love.

Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close and life passes, death, judgment and eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You. It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!

Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers, I need You.

Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.

Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by Communion, at least by grace and love.

Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.

With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity. Amen.

Padre Pio was declared a saint on Arif's birthday while he was still in a coma. We know a very holy priest who has a deep devotion to St. Pio. So we feel a special closeness to him.

This prayer comes from Cukierski.net

More information on St. Pio can be found at:
Padre Pio Foundation of America
Padre Pio Devotions
National Center for Padre Pio
Padre Pio Net

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Chapter 3: Finding Out, Part 1: Extent of the Damage

Honnah and I finally arrived at the hospital. We were ushered into a small room off the Emergency waiting room. The cell phone might interfere with some of the monitoring equipment, so we were instructed to turn it off as we entered the hospital.

Of course, Joe was already there, waiting. We shared vital hugs all around.

The two of us were anxious to hear the details. Joe filled us in on what he knew. It was not good news.

Arif was in critical condition. The trauma doctor was evaluating him. They were not saying more than that. We would be allowed to see him when they got him cleaned up.

What do you say to each other at such a time? We sat in stunned silence, holding each others’ hands. Drifting in a fog of distraction, I alternated between staring at the others and staring off in another direction. It was as if the room itself faded from my awareness. I felt as though I was afloat among a mass of nebulous objects and beings.

Tears still did not come. Those who know me find that amazing. I am a crier: I cry when I am happy, sad, disappointed, mad, touched, embarrassed ... pretty much whenever a strong emotion looks in my direction.

Our prayers became desperate. I prayed, as I began in the car: “Lord, You alone have the wisdom to know what is best. Your will be done. Please help us to make the right decisions as they are presented to us."

Our assistant pastor walked in with a somber look on his face.

Fr. Joseph was the first to arrive at the hospital – even before Joe got there. When Fr. Joseph saw Arif, there was such an air of Arif’s impending death that he gave him conditional absolution.

Absolution is the remission of sin, or of the punishment due to sin, granted by the Church. The twentieth chapter of John’s Gospel tells us that Jesus gave this power to His Apostles and their successors after His resurrection. Absolution is generally conferred during the Sacrament of Penance when a person expresses sorrow for his sin and a resolve to avoid the sin in the future. Conditional absolution is given in case the person has unforgiven sin for which he has repented, but has not had the opportunity to or is not capable of reconciling it (in Arif’s case, he was unconscious, but still alive). Sin is the obstacle to the soul entering heaven. What a comfort we have in the sacraments. Later we would find that was even more significant than we first thought.

We finally got to see Arif. We wanted to hear his cheery voice, looking forward to returning to school the next day. Nothing could prepare us for what we found.

He lay very still on the examination table in one of those fashionable hospital gowns. They had cut off his clothes. Cuts and bruises covered the exposed areas of his body. His left ear lobe had two stitches, holding it to his head. His left arm and leg and his face were quite swollen.

Routine procedure for serious injuries, we were told, is to ‘drop a vent.’ A breathing tube, ventilator, was inserted through Arif’s mouth into his lungs. Looking at the hose protruding from his face brought me back, momentarily, to the final hours of my mother’s life. This was just the beginning of our education in medical terminology and procedures. At this point, we were in no mood or position to question anything. Over the next months and years, we found that certain things are not negotiable, and others must be thoroughly researched.

Assessment determined that his left leg was shattered. Several pictures of his left arm were needed before they were satisfied that it was not broken. The liver was bruised. His right lung was punctured.

It was stated repeatedly that there was no brain activity. It is funny how the meaning of that last statement did not fully sink in until much later.

Arif was admitted to St. John’s Hospital and moved into the Intensive Care Unit.