Thursday, December 23, 2010

Seeing is Believing: Eyes to See

My mother was pure and simple as was her faith in God.  She passed away on September 29, 2008 at the age of 93.  In her wallet she kept pictures of the immediate family at different points in time, including a baby picture of me with my brothers, as well as a holy card of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception.  She often wore a large two sided bronze medal with Jesus on one side and the Blessed Mother on the other.  She would sometimes show me that she was wearing it and would refer to the image of Our Lady as "Mother Mary".

When my mother was in her eighties, she needed cataract surgery.  One of my brothers recommended a friend of his, one of the finest ophthalmologists in the country, to take care of her. None the less, I was still somewhat worried that something might go wrong. As is the usual procedure, each eye is done at a different time and one eye was scheduled to be done on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and the other on August 15th, the Feast of the Assumption.  These are the two traditional feasts of Mary that are holy days of obligation in America in the Catholic Church.  The cataract surgeries went exceedingly well, and my mother enjoyed keen vision without glasses for years to come.
Years later, my brother invited his friend, the ophthalmologist, to a party at his home where he introduced me to him.  His words about my mother were warm and kind, and he was trying to recall when he had seen her.  I immediately mentioned the dates of December 8th and August 15th, and he was amazed!  I did tell him how I remembered, and perhaps, he found that more amazing.

I think the "sign" of the scheduling of my mother's eye operations on the two feasts of Our Lady meant more to me than to her.  She wasn't at all surprised at the coincidental dates and said, "See, Mother Mary is with me."  She knew that all along.  She wasn't the least bit worried.  It was I who needed the sign.

Joan Virzera

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