Saturday, July 4, 2009

Update for those who have been praying with us

With the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (I am sure because of all the prayers) we have started a new protocol with Arif. It seems to be making some difference. The changes are still subtle, but occasionally we see some solid reason for hope.

His toileting skills are fine during the day, but not at night. We put adult diapers (the ones that fit like briefs) on him at night, but they are still not strong enough to hold all that he produces. So, we also put an absorbant pad on top of his sheet. Lately, he has been able to awaken without the pad overflowing on the sheet. A number of times, even the pad has been dry. Now, he is managing to get up with dry briefs as well. We are so thrilled and do not have so much laundry to do.

I have put up charts and lists over and over, through the past seven years, to remind him of the things that he needs to do. Generally, he just ignores them, or if I keep up with the charting, it seems to mean little to him. A few weeks ago, I put up a chart to keep track of his bed wetting process. Last week when he woke up completely dry and I put a sticker on the chart, Arif got really excited. He carried on the excitement throughout the whole day. Of course, one of his major problems has been short term memory. So to have him remember his accomplishment through the day is an improvement, too.

He does seem more aware than he had been, but that is something that is hard to measure.

We thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Please Pray With Us

Arif's 26th birthday is fast approaching (it's June 7). It would be great if we could have you all come to celebrate with us. We so appreciate your support and concern. Most of you are so far away, however, it would not be practical.

Each year, we pray in a special way for his healing during the nine days leading up to his birthday (beginning on May 30).

You are welcome to join with us in this novena. Pray in whatever way you are comfortable. Your prayers will be much appreciated.

Just so that you know, we have some special prayers that we pray, to keep our focus.

When Arif was 13, he went with the youth group to Rome and Assisi. While they were there, the bishop arranged for the group to meet with Pope John Paul II on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica. As you can imagine, the young people were thrilled.

The pope greeted the group warmly, as expected. He then proceeded to shake hands with each member of the group. However, when he greeted Arif, he reached up and patted Arif on the cheek. The Vatican photographer captured the moment, and Arif managed to snag some of the photos. You can see one, if you look back through the archives in this blog.

We used to tease Arif that the late pope recognized his Polish heritage. It was only much later that we realized that, quite possibly, the holy man knew that Arif would need special attention later in his life.

With that in mind, we find ourselves asking for Pope John Paul II's intercession on Arif's behalf.

Regardless of religious affiliation, many people admire the influence the late pope had particularly on the spiritual lives of young people. His heroic battle with Parkinson's was a testament to the fortitude of the human spirit.

We believe that the late Pope is enjoying the beatific vision and is close to God for all of eternity. His soul is not dead, but very much alive and, as when he walked among us, he has a great concern for those of us who must continue to struggle through life on earth. so we feel that he will stand beside us in spirit, as we present our petitions to God.

The Church has published an official prayer for the intercession of Pope John Paul II:

O Blessed Trinity We thank You for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II
and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him. Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints.

And here is a prayer I made up for Arif soon after the late pope died:

Pope John Paul II, you told us “Be not afraid”.
So, laying aside our fear and doubts,
we ask you to open wide the door of heaven
and we ask that the rays of Divine Mercy shine from the heart of Jesus upon the earth to bring about the conversion of poor sinners. Please ask Our Lord to grace us with complete healing for Arif Marshall that he may fulfill the mission he was given in the presence of St Peter. We pray this in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.