In our immediate circle, she has in recent years become known as “G-G-G” – Great-Grandma Georgia. Many more know and love her by other names: “Aunt Georgia,” “Georgia,” “Mom.”
She is beloved, seemingly by all. Even so, in her 92nd year, G-G-G can delight and surprise her second-born son…a guy who’s known her for nearly 62 years.
I discovered (anew) this gift she has for the unexpected, when a recent hospitalization (and ongoing recuperation) gave me the chance to spend some quality time with my Mom — a couple of overnight stays, in particular, that offered a peek into G-G-G’s daily prayer life.
For well over a decade now, she’s been praying the liturgy of the hours (a gift she received from my big brother Gerard, a Jesuit who faithfully follows the same discipline on behalf of the whole church).
I knew that about her, but I’d never really been around during the dayparts when G-G-G did her “serious” praying. It was a blessing to see, and to join her in evening prayer – even though I didn’t quite get the hang of things, wandering ineptly about the breviary.
But an even bigger treat unfolded on a recent morn when her neighbor, Sister Pat, stopped by to bring Holy Communion to my Mom. We said the Lord’s prayer…broke open the day’s scripture passage…and welcomed the Eucharistic Lord “under our roofs.”
Then, ever-so-quietly, G-G-G began reciting the words of the Anima Christi…a prayer she knows by heart:
Soul of Christ, sanctify me;
Body of Christ, save me;
Blood of Christ, inebriate me;
Water from the side of Christ, wash me;
Passion of Christ, strengthen me;
O Good Jesus, hear me;
Within Your wounds, hide me;
Separated from You, let me never be;
From the Evil One, protect me;
At the hour of my death, call me;
And close to You, bid me…
That with Your saints, I may be
Praising You, forever and ever. Amen.
Imagine that, I thought: Mom loves to say the very same prayer that I love to say after receiving Holy Communion. We’ve been saying it separately…individually…independently…for years. But now, we are one in this prayer – mother and son, with Jesus our Lord.
A beautiful thing, I thought then. And it was made all the more beautiful today, on the feast of Saints Timothy and Titus, when we hear this little nugget from Paul’s second letter to Timothy:
“I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your Grandmother Lois, and in your mother Eunice, and that I am confident lives also in you.”
G-G-G, we were told by her Doc earlier this week, now has the worst of her recuperation behind her – and for that, we are grateful indeed.
We are blessed, too, to see in her…and to share with her…the faith that bids us all to welcome grace, and to become like Lois and Eunice, present-day G-G-Gs: veritable channels of Grace for still more Generations of Great saints.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.