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  A Christian Faith Magazine August 2004, Volume 10, Issue 1  
Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci Summer Love
Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci
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During these summer months, my heart and soul were touched deeply by the love expressed to me by Barbara, Caitlin, and June. Chance brought us together. My brief encounter with each of them taught me how versatile is the power of love - God's love.


An ambient mood of sorrow greeted me as I entered the room. Barbara, semi-comatose, lay on the bed. Members of her family were gathered around her; each locked in the grim resolve of a deathwatch. We joined in the conferring of the Church's final sacrament. Although she had been receiving communion regularly, Viaticum seemed out of the question given her condition. For some time Barbara had made no conscious response to anyone. As I was leaving, I felt impelled to look back toward her. Doing so, I was startled by what I saw. Barbara had raised her head from the pillow and her index finger was pointing toward her open mouth. She would not be denied her Lord and her God.

Caitlin is a lovely middle-aged woman of irrepressible cheerfulness. After nearly three decades confined to a wheelchair, she now was able to stand and, with the help of a walker, ambulate across the room. You may conclude that this circumstance was the cause of her light-heartedness. You would be partly right. In truth, her joy was present well before she exited the wheelchair.


Married and the mother of two boys, Caitlin was pursuing a career in teaching. It was early in her professional life when the illness struck. She was diagnosed as having Multiple Sclerosis. The struggle to adapt to life in a wheelchair was daunting. Slowly, she came to discern her blessings: a good and faithful husband, great children, and the possibilities of serving God through her infirmity. Caitlin's relationship with God and her Catholic faith always were valuable to her, but now they were to provide a profound meaning and a deeper understanding of the role this disease would play in her life. With her husband, family, and friends supporting her, she overcame her fears and began pursuing a new career. Her courageous spirit became an inspiration for all who knew her. Caitlin perceived her illness as a gift from God that, by her perseverance, allowed her to become a source of motivation for others to strive for success in life in spite of all obstacles. Contentment and joy filled her heart in knowing that her disability was turned into the ability to teach and encourage those around her. Metaphorically, she had turned lemons into lemonade.

Caitlin's story is not over. You may be wondering how she now is able to walk. Tests performed on Caitlin by a new group of perceptive and inquiring doctors revealed that she had been misdiagnosed and that her problem was treatable. Even though she is thrilled to be able to walk again, Caitlin does not regret her experience. She is thankful for the lessons she learned and the lessons she was able to teach because of the wisdom of God's love.


If there could be a personification of total sorrow and complete desolation, it was June. Through eight and a half months of her pregnancy, June and her husband anxiously prepared for the birth of their child. Then, the day arrived when June knew that something was terribly wrong. She sensed that the baby in her womb was no longer moving. Her doctor confirmed her worst fears; her baby had died. June was faced with the unbearable prospect of having to deliver a stillborn child. An insuperable grief, guilt, and helplessness filled the hearts of June and her spouse. June despaired over her inability to muster the strength of mind and spirit to endure the carrying and birth of her dead baby. God is said to be close to the broken-hearted. If ever God's grace and healing was required, it was now. She prayed that God would receive her baby into his loving care and, somehow, give her the strength she needed to face the task ahead. A comforting grace entered her heart. A revelation occurred calling upon her love for her child. The final act of love was to bring her child's journey to its completeness. She must do this for her baby. Both she and her husband must hold their child, say goodbye, and give the little one to the love and presence of God.

A summer love usually is characterized as insouciant and variable. Certainly, this is not the case in the stories just related. They have spoken of a love that dwells at the very core of human faith and hope. Through their simplicity and their purity, these narrations give evidence of the potential of people who are seekers after the love of God. We must not think that we are meant to be free of troubles and pain, but, when these things occur, we are called to grasp the hand of the One who defeated all of these and more for our sake.

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