Mad for…Mary

Never tire of firmly speaking out in defense of life from its conception and do not be deterred from the commitment to defend the dignity of every human person with courageous determination. Christ is with you; be not afraid! (St. Pope John Paul II)

Panera makes a darn fine cup of latte. I had already finished one before 6:30 am today on my travels across town to pick up six dozen donuts and a couple big boxes full of bagels. A morning of reflection was held today at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church. Intimately, I knew the plans and details for this event, because I am involved in the ministry that organized the event– down to the flavors of cream cheese. Still, despite having read a bit about her background and her story, I was unprepared for the powerful witness of one Mary Lenaburg (pictured above).

Humorous, fierce and irreverant, Mary is nevertheless a passionate woman of God. A wife and mother of two, she shared in a brutally honest way about the mentally and physically exhausting work of caring for her severely disabled daughter. There was a profoundly moving story about their trip to Lourdes that had me laughing audibly and also brought me to tears. I’m not going to tell you more about the story because she tells it better herself, so you should buy her book, “Be Brave in the Scared”.

Here’s what I do want to acknowledge today. I was pretty sure I already believed strongly in the sanctity of all life. I mean, I’m the darn chairperson for the Gospel of Life ministry at my parish for gosh sakes. However, as Mary found her full voice at the end of her talk and passionately pled with all of us to understand how important her daughter Courtney’s life was, an imprint was made on my heart. When we pray those prayers for the sanctity of life from conception until natural death, THIS young woman who was utterly dependent on others for literally everything is who we’re talking about. However overwhelmed we are by our circumstances and no matter how exhausted we might be, I knew walking out of OLMC today a truth I wasn’t convicted of previously. Every one of us needs to trust God, who loves each of us, to be in charge of how long we’re all here and what gifts we are given. We need to live that trust completely and with all the aspects of our lives. He’s not cruel. He loves us.

Today, I sense that a young woman I never met, who was non-verbal, and who died at the age of 23 tried to convince me to surrender to LOVE. Thanks, Courtney, for sending your sassy, beautiful, tough momma to do the talking for you. Love always wins.

“Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph. 3: 20-21)

Courtney Lenaburg, Pray for us.